If I were a hotel, I'd put two reusable travel water bottles in the room for free. I think it's a better decision than charging me $7.00 for water (as one place wanted to do), and more cost effective and environmentally friendly than free. But this is just a start.
To me, one of the most important mistakes that businesses make is in figuring out the right amenities to roll into their offering, and/or missing opportunities to add service offerings to the mix.
The Lobster Story
When I was on vacation recently, I wanted to buy everyone staying with me a lobster dinner. I drove to the lobster pound (which was closed, so I drove back when it was more convenient for them), and I bought enough lobsters and clams to feed five families. I then carted it all home, had to find the stuff in my rental kitchen to cook everything, and had to deal with all the mess of creating a lobster dinner.
I'd have paid 40 percent or more on top of what i paid, if I'd been offered a "lobster dinner" option, where the store sent two people with all the food, did all the work, and carted off all the shells and stuff. Think about how much that would cost the store: labor only, basically. Everything else would show up on the bill, and even the labor would be offset by the tipping factor.
Find Opportunities for Amenity
Ultimately, there's what you sell, and then there's what you could add to the story if you looked for it. I'm enthralled by seeking out the latter. How could I add something free in some cases, and how could I add something that costs more but adds to the experience in others. If you're a coffee place, how much would it really cost to offer a little free cookie with each cup of coffee. Even though I wasn't eating cookies at the time, I was pleasantly surprised.
Some number of you started thinking about all the drawbacks, expenses, and potential for waste. But maybe you are different. Maybe you see what I'm saying. Maybe you think there's something to providing a little "something extra" to a buyer's experience. If so, how could you adapt my thinking above to your business? What else would really add to the experience, and how would that help your sales?
Image credit: Dave or Atox