Great Wolf Resorts Sees Explosive Growth with Front Desk Upsell Tech

Resort partners with Nor1 to implement software that helps front desk agents see what upsell packages a guest qualifies for at a glance.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels
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Great Wolf Lodge Exterior

Great Wolf Resorts is a North American indoor water park resort that and owns and operates nearly 20 properties under the Great Wolf Lodge brand. In addition to its water park, each resort features family-friendly fun such as arcades, restaurants, spas and other children’s activities.

More than 10 years ago, the brand began working with Nor1 and utilizing its eStandby solution to present upsell offers to its guests via its booking engine and any email sent pre-arrival. Then in 2018, Great Wolf Lodge began using Nor1’s CheckIn Merchandising solution to help front desk agents upsell at the time of check-in.

Together, eStandby and CheckIn Merchandising have helped Great Wolf Lodge simplify upselling for staff, making it easier to merchandise, upsell and record revenue across a variety of attractions, packages and bundles. Great Wolf has merchandised a broad catalog of room options, attributes, and attractions to cater to every segment and every guest. Rather than manually tracking upgrades against availability and spending staff hours on data entry, Great Wolf leans on Nor1 to automate the upsell process and connect with OPERA PMS for a real-time view of inventory.

Additionally, Nor1’s solutions show offers from booking to check-in, engaging the guest at the right time with the right offer. eStandby offers optionality and allows Great Wolf to make an offer with a personalized price, reaching guests in a pre-arrival email when they might be more receptive. This prevents guests from hyper-focusing on the best deal and missing ancillary offers throughout booking. And during arrival, CheckIn Merchandising from Nor1 helps agents engage a guest with upsell offers one last time. With CheckIn Merchandising, desk agents can see what a guest qualifies for, what package or passes they have, and what’s available to enhance their experience. Agents can clearly see offers, description, and pricing, instead of trying to remember what should be offered to each guest.

Plus, Nor1 solutions allows all staff members to contribute to the overarching hotel revenue goal. The ability to gamify and customize incentives drives staff motivation and satisfaction so bellmen to supervisors are at the ready to answer guests’ questions, all while engaging in friendly competition. Each week, the front office team runs a report with total sales, and communicates which team won.

“Every contribution matters,” says Dave Van Saun, Director, Ancillary Revenue at Great Wolf Resorts. “For example, our bellmen talk to guests upon arrival about our passes. They’re already trying to sell and trying to develop guest interest, because they know that they're contributing to their team. Since 2018, we have seen explosive growth in revenue at the front desk.”

Additionally, Great Wolf Lodge really appreciates the simple user interface and the integration with Opera. Together, these two functionalities make it so much easier for front desk agents to successfully use the software and meet sales goals. Plus, it came with a very quick implementation turnaround time.

“We implemented CheckIn Merchandising within a few weeks,” Van Saun says. Then just a few weeks after implementation, “we saw immediate increases in agent engagement and began seeing increases in revenue. Within two months we began expanding from the pilot lodges to others with a full rollout in less than a year.”

Within the first full year of implementation, Great Wolf Lodge had 268 percent growth over prior year numbers. As the team became familiar with upsells, the company began to add more ancillary products – such as Paw Passes – which contributed to the revenue growth.

And while Great Wolf Lodge loves and appreciates the Nor1 technology stack, it appreciates the company’s customer service even more.

“Yes, the technology is great, but the recurring trainings and new online courses have ensured that revenue continues to grow to this day,” Van Saun adds. “We can’t say enough about how great of a training partner Nor1 has been.”