Travelers look for different products when they enter stores compared to their average retail experiences. Hotel and resort shops know this firsthand since customers run the gamut from large families on vacations to honeymooners leisurely shopping to out-of-town professionals traveling for business or conferences. The wide variety of customers that filter into hotel and resort shops calls for inventory sold at a variety of price-points – as well as a variety of product options. And while basic items such as toiletries and postcards are important for these stores to stock up on, it’s critical to think beyond these items to truly position your store to thrive in sales.
To help strengthen your hotel or resort shop, explore below some of the top-performing inventory categories that can boost your business.
#1. Custom Resort Apparel
Tourists that filter into hotel and resort stores are usually far from home. As a result, the weather might not be what they’re used to, and they are often in the market for a reasonably-priced product to fill the gaps in their outfits. The specific apparel you choose to source for your business will depend on the weather in your gift shop’s locale – but the catch is you need to have options for all types of weather. If you are in a cold-weather climate such as a ski resort, for instance, you’ll want to load up on scarves, hats, sweatshirts and jackets. On the other hand, if you’re on the beach or there is a pool nearby, selling swimsuits or monogrammed beach towels might be more your speed. In any case, however, resort and hotel shop customers love to find these items emblazoned with the name of the place they are visiting. Name drop items – such as those discovered at IGES – make the perfect complement to your store inventory to meet these consumer demands.
#2. Handmade Merchandise
Creating a store with a strong assortment of inventory means that you are more likely to capture attention from more customers. Keeping this in mind, consider how a selection of handmade products can help bring life to your inventory assortment. Handmade cosmetics, balms and lotions are always a hit with tourists, as are handmade socks, accessories and home goods – all making the perfect souvenirs. The story behind your handmade inventory will often be as much of a selling point as the products themselves, so look for items that come with a strong backstory. Information like where the product is made, the unique ingredients in each item and the brand’s mission statement should be prominently displayed in your store and taught to your employees, as well, to help communicate these messages to your customers. Combined with your other inventory, this is just one more way to add appeal to your overall store experience.
#3. Souvenirs & Collectables
Who says kitsch has to be a bad thing? Statisa estimates that gift, novelty and souvenir sales will reach $17,681 billion in 2019. To source souvenirs and collectibles that your customers won’t be able to live without, make sure that most of what you purchase is customizable – prominently highlighting your location or resort destination on your products. While some retailers will opt to stock souvenirs and collectibles that are completely unique, others look for licensed goods that their customers will recognize at first glance. Whatever category you fall into, make sure to offer customers tissue or bubble wrap with any glass or breakable items to ensure they can easily transport the item to their final destination. This proves you not only know how to offer the right inventory to your customers but also that you can support them in their transport of these items home.
#4. One-of-a-Kind Novelty Items
Some customers will always favor products that make them laugh while others prefer items that they can give as gifts to their favorite friends and family – especially if it brings them a chuckle or reminds them of some great memories. Novelty items are among the best way to increase your sales since they do just this – bring laughs, deliver nostalgia and provide great gift buying opportunities. When you’re looking for the right novelty items for your hotel or resort shop, keep your target audience in mind. Hotels that host a lot of families, for instance, probably should steer clear of any inventory items that might be deemed offensive and focus on unique items; while hotels that host lots of bachelor and bachelorette parties might choose to stock products that have slightly more risqué or drinking humor. In any case, look for products that are unique and eye-popping enough to capture your customers’ attention.
#5. Jewelry and Accessories
Jewelry is a popular purchase for customers to commemorate special occasions… and it is a popular margin-booster for retailers, as well. Customers of all ages and backgrounds gravitate towards jewelry purchases so it’s important to include a wide variety of styles at various price points within your store assortment. Customizable jewelry and accessories are a sophisticated way for customers to let people know where they’ve been – plus you can combine your jewelry assortment with designs and materials that pay tribute to your city’s unique culture. Finally, don’t forget about the men. Men’s jewelry such as rings, necklaces and watches are great ways to enhance your sales, as well.
Resort and hotel store customers frequently want to purchase items that will remind them of their vacation or trip – so keep this in mind as you create a dynamic inventory assortment for your store while also aiming for healthy margins. To help, IGES offers customizable apparel, souvenirs, novelty items, handmade goods, and so much more for hotel and resort stores. Find the perfect blend of inventory at IGES from November 3-6 in Sevierville, TN! Register for IGES here.
Author: Jasmine Glasheen, Retail Minded