One of things that I found interesting about my latest trip to New York was that nearly all of the VIP type upgrades I made actually added something to the experience, whether it was less time spent queuing, a slightly different area to stand-in which afforded a better view, or more access to tour guides or staff to give you more information, or provide anything you wanted.
Those ‘extras’ I would consider to be worth the additional cost, and should I go to New York again when it is quite busy, I would certainly make the same investment as they seem to know what VIP means … which that is in stark contrast to this example of what happened to me a couple of years ago in the UK…
Well, the good news was that ‘She Who Must…’ had spotted that one of the favourite bands from her single days had reformed and was on tour. The bad news was the way you could actually see them was to stay at the holiday camp they were playing at.
So I promised to be on my best behavior and off we went…
On arrival, we were asked if we wanted to upgrade … ‘She Who Must…’ had booked ‘Silver’ level accommodation, which was, to be fair, pretty grim (I think if you opted for ‘Bronze’ you probably had to dig your own hole to sleep in) so I parted with an extra £180 for us to upgrade to ‘Gold’.
‘Gold’ still consisted of the same Prisoner of War type accommodation except we now had a slightly bigger room, with slightly bigger sofas, a bigger TV and we were actually provided with towels, which was handy as it never occurred to either of us that we might have to bring our own.
It was the same story in the ‘restaurant’ area, which looked very much like a school dining hall with 1970’s era motorway service type tables and chairs. Again I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to the ‘Yacht Club’ VIP type area … and of course I said yes, and parted with, I think, another £40.
The ‘Yacht Club’ turned out to be merely a roped off area in the same hall, with the plastic tables disguised only partly with our ‘VIP’ paper tablecloth (which had to last all weekend) and the food was stacked on some slightly less decrepit serving trollies … and, as you can imagine, if I hadn’t promised ‘She Who Must…’ I would be on my absolute best behaviour, heads would have rolled…
So again, two lessons here, firstly that a percentage of people will always want to feel more exclusive and want to upgrade to some kind of VIP package, so you can add extra value to your business by making sure, whenever possible, that you offer one.
The second lesson is, now that you know those people will upgrade, is not to exploit that negatively and make the ordinary version so awful that people have to upgrade to the VIP package … but instead to use it as an opportunity to make sure any VIP package you offer is worth the money – and then some.
In fact, over-deliver on what you promised … and make sure you evoke the same thoughts as a visit to New York, a trip to Disneyland or an evening in a fine restaurant, and not the same ones as a weekend in a slightly grubby holiday camp….