Upselling is a great way for any hotel to increase revenue, but when done correctly, it can also have a tremendous impact on customer satisfaction. Many hotels take to upselling guests once they have already arrived at their hotel, a tactic that can prove successful but which also ignores multiple upsell opportunities in the time between when a guest books a room and when they first set foot in your lobby.
Forward-thinking hotels from around the world have found innovative and intuitive ways to entice guests to upgrade their stays without appearing overtly self-serving. Here are some of the most successful strategies currently being employed by hotels, as well as suggestions for how any hotel manager can make use of these insights.
Enhance Your Booking Process
The first interaction hoteliers usually have with their guests is during the booking process, which is a great opportunity to encourage upsales. Properties like the Refinery Hotel in New York encourage room upgrades right at the beginning of the booking process by presenting side-by-side comparisons of available rooms. Guests can now easily see the variety of room types in the hotel’s inventory, and can take note of additional amenities they may like to take advantage of by upgrading rooms. The Refinery Hotel also uses incremental pricing to highlight these upgrades—saying a room will cost you $50 more sounds more enticing than advertising an upgraded room for $500 per night.
Hotels can employ similar tactics by rethinking how their booking engine works and being conscientious about the upselling opportunities that exist for each guest. For instance, having rich guest profiles enables a hotel to easily upsell to repeat customers, as a guest’s preference for a whirlpool tub and a balcony with a view can be addressed as upgrade suggestions during the booking process. Knowing what your guests like and targeting their specific needs and preferences during booking can almost guarantee an upsell.
Connect With Guests Before They Arrive
Since you want the booking process to be fast and easy for your guests, this might not always be the right time to upsell on additional features and perks. While booking, many guests will be focused on finding the best price possible—but after the commitment to travel is made, they may be more receptive to upselling strategies.
With this in mind, it’s important for hotel managers to utilize the days and weeks leading up to a guest’s arrival to their advantage. Townhouse Hotel in Amsterdam, for example, sends their guests a simple email before they arrive inquiring whether there is anything specific the guest requires during their stay. This provides a great opportunity to not only upsell to a more expensive room, but to add on extras like parking services, breakfast packages or museum vouchers. Hilton Worldwide offers their guests an innovative digital check in process that allows guests to not only upgrade their room, but to choose their exact room by accessing digital floor plans.
No matter what form the pre-arrival touchpoint takes, it should be automated as much as possible to prevent overburdening your staff. For instance, using software that integrates with guest management interfaces like Guestfolio allows you to easily communicate with guests before they arrive and take advantage of all possible upsell opportunities.
Add a Little Excitement
The Cameron House Hotel in London has taken a particularly unique approach to upselling. By partnering with UpsellGuru, Cameron House has made it possible for guests to bid for a room upgrade shortly before their scheduled arrival. Through this process, guests are able to submit an offer for a room upgrade or additional amenities (within the minimum and maximum price limits set by the hotel). The hotel retains the ability to accept or decline the bid as they see fit. When a bid is accepted, guests are left feeling happy that they could upgrade their stay at a discounted rate, while hotels are able to increase their revenue by selling upgrades rather than giving them away for free. Additionally, upgrading guests to higher-value rooms means that less expensive rooms are freed up and potentially resold, further increasing revenue and occupancy.
This is a particularly ambitious example of gamification, but hotels can achieve something similar through a simple loyalty program. After all, it is a lot easier to upsell guests when they feel like the upgrade is a reward or an achievement rather than a sneaky sales tactic.
Upselling can be much more effective when it is approached less as a way to extract additional revenue from guests, and more as a way to ensure guests have the most enjoyable and memorable stay possible. It’s also important for hotels to make the most of their guest’s pre-arrival stage, as this is a significant period in the guest life cycle. Ultimately, hotels that excel at upselling are likely to cultivate the best reputations and retain more guests as repeat customers.
RoomKeyPMS is an innovator in hotel management software, including tools that turn upselling into an ongoing opportunity. Contact our team to learn more about the features, functions, and ROI.
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