Hotel upselling: how to increase revenue per guest
Hotel upselling is a super effective strategy for increasing revenue. By offering additional products and services to guests in the right place and at the right time, you can not only enhance the guest experience but also boost profitability. In this article, we share a few of our best tips about hotel upselling. We’ll tell you a little about what hotel upselling is, what kind of offerings you can provide as a hotel and how to sell these offerings to guests in a seamless manner.
Boosting revenue with hotel upselling
Hotel owners and managers all over the world are constantly searching for creative ways to boost revenue. And amidst challenging or unpredictable conditions (such as the coronavirus or during rising costs and inflation pressures), the search for revenue improving tactics is particularly relatable.
It is for this reason that hotels very often turn to upselling. Not only improving the guest experience by allowing for personalisation and a touch of ‘luxury’, upselling products and services at your hotel can drive improve profitability.
So how can you upsell effectively? Upselling is like effective revenue management; it involves offering the right upsell options to the the right guests at the perfect time and of course, through the right channel.
So forget relying on the room upgrade options at the front desk, hotel upselling at your property should involve an in-depth process involving many steps. From website options to email marketing, it’s time to create the perfect upselling strategy for your hotel.
What is hotel upselling?
Upselling involves providing guests with the opportunity to enhance their stay by offering paid extras that can improve their overall experience. The objective is to encourage individuals to spend more than originally planned, in return for a superior and more enjoyable experience. Naturally, hotel upselling works in exactly the same way.
For instance, guests at a hotel might choose a higher-priced room category, which grants them a larger room with a better view. They could also opt for a bottle of champagne upon arrival for a birthday treat, or a breakfast add-on for a weekend escape.
With these add-ons often overlapping into other departments, hotel upselling is sometimes referred to as cross-selling. Specifically however, cross-selling doesn’t refer to upgrades or offering a more expensive option, but rather it refers to promoting add-ons from other departments. That could be a spa treatment, a breakfast or an experience.
How to upsell at your hotel
In order to create the perfect upselling strategy at your hotel, you will need to have an overview of the many ways in which it can be carried out. In the remainder of this article, we look at how to upsell your hotel. From upgrades and drinks offers to staff training and early check-in, take some of the following ideas on board at your hotel and watch your profits increase!
Send out pre-arrival emails with paid upgrades
Your email strategy is absolutely key to selling upgrades and add-ons. As a direct point of contact with guests before their stays, it makes for the perfect channel for communicating your offers. A pre-arrival email should therefore be one of the first places to start with your hotel upselling strategy.
Using your email marketing software, create a pre-arrival email which arrives in guest inboxes less than a week before they arrive at your property. In your email, you can provide helpful information about a guests’ upcoming stay, whilst also inserting a number of upsell options for them to choose from.
This sort of soft approach to selling will allow guests to pick and choose what they like, personalising their stay how they wish and giving them time to think about which options they desire.
Offer a wide range of paid extras
When it comes to paid extras, there really are a tonne of potential options you could offer. A list that isn’t too overwhelming but which offers enough options to allow for personalisation, is what you want to achieve. Try some of the following add-ons and upgrades at your hotel, and remember that if your region offers something unique, you can add anything desirable to the list.
- Wine, champagne or other drinks
- Snack or hampers from the local region
- Decoration packages for birthdays or anniversaries
- Breakfast or dinner
- Local experiences
- Late check-out or early check-in
- Spa or wellness services
- Room upgrades
Promote more expensive rooms during the booking process
So although until this point we have focused on what happens after booking, it might be worth considering how the upselling process looks at the time of booking. One way to tempt guests to upgrade when carrying out their online reservation is to offer last minute upgrades before they hit the pay button.
You may have experienced similar things when booking with airlines. On these sites, before you get to the final purchase, you are offered car rentals, seat upgrades, luggage upgrades, insurance and more. Although this might not be a particularly good example to follow when constructing a hotel website (often making booking processes confusing and time consuming), you could take some inspiration from airline sites.
Consider offering more expensive rooms on the final page of booking, clearly presenting how these rooms differ to the one in the guest’s ‘basket’. Emphasise the difference in experience. In doing so, you might be able to persuade some guests to choose more costly options which are more aligned with their preferences.
Use a digital in-room hotel compendium
Another very handy place to share your add-ons is in a hotel compendium. Placed somewhere in a guest room, hotel compendiums typically share information about a hotel, its check-out times, its reception hours, local advice and much more.
A digital hotel compendium is therefore a great resource for sharing your available extras. Why not create a section of your compendium where guests can browse prices for your snacks, wines, room service, late check-outs and more? In doing so, you’ll be softly encouraging them to spend more at your property, allowing them to do so in their own time.
Offer upgrades during check-in
Offering upgrades at check-in is a more traditional hotel upselling technique, but one which doesn’t necessarily have to be forgotten. As your guests arrive at the counter and you’re sorting out their keys, explain the cost of certain room upgrades and late check-out options which might come in handy to them. Train your reception staff to find out more about guests when they arrive and their reason for stay, therefore ensuring that your offers and upgrades are well-suited and customised.
Make appealing food and drink offers
Your onsite restaurant is a wonderful place to enhance a guests’ stay and to increase their spend at your property. So in order to get hotel guests filling up your bar and restaurant, there are a few things you can do.
First and foremost, ensure that your menu offers a diverse range of options to cater to different tastes and dietary preferences. This doesn’t mean losing your niche or softening your brand, but rather making sure that a vegetarian is also able to eat in your steak restaurant, or that a gluten intolerant person has a breakfast option to pick from.
Utilise attractive food photography and enticing descriptions to pique guests’ interest. These can be placed outside of your restaurant, in your hotel compendium, at reception, in elevators, or anywhere else you find appropriate at your property. Then, you’ll want to also promote special offers, such as happy hours or meal deals, to incentivise guests to dine on-site. Collaborate with the marketing team to leverage digital platforms, social media, and targeted campaigns to showcase the culinary offerings.
Create package deals
There’s no getting around it; a package deal can seem more appealing to a guest than a simple hotel room. Put simply, when extra value or convenience is added into an accommodation offer, customers feel as though they are getting a great deal or an improved or upgraded experience.
So when you’re putting together your hotel upselling strategy, consider putting together packages for your hotel. You might like to consider a bed and breakfast offer to start with, perhaps a spa package with an included treatment, a golf package (if you’re near a golf course) or a luxury stay featuring champagne and an evening dinner in your best available room.
Naturally, in providing these extras, you will be increasing guest spend at your property; encouraging people to spend on site, rather than merely sleeping at your property and heading out for dinners and other entertainment or experiences.
Create room service options
As a food and beverage service, your room service is a great way to increase guest spend. Begin by designing a diverse and appealing menu that caters to various tastes and dietary preferences, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then, ensure that the menu features both classic favourites as well as innovative options to cater to different guest preferences.
Of course, the final touch of room service is the service itself. Implement efficient ordering systems, such as phone or online ordering, along with clear delivery timelines to enhance the guest experience. Making it easy and hassle-free for guests to order will help you to remove any hurdles to extra spending.
Train staff to upsell
Whilst guests are on your property, there’s one surefire way to encourage their spending. Training hotel staff to upsell effectively is crucial for maximising revenue and guest satisfaction. So ensure that your staff has comprehensive product knowledge and familiarity with all the hotel’s offerings.
Train your staff to effectively communicate with guess, allow them to engage and listen attentively. In doing so, your team will identify upsell opportunities and sell to guests in a relaxed and friendly manner. You could also consider incentives and rewards to further motivate staff to excel in upselling.
However you choose to train your staff, remember that with a well-trained and motivated team, hotels can enhance their revenue while delivering exceptional guest experiences!
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