How would your guests like the chance to keep the room a little longer on the day of departure?
Or what would they think about surprising their loved one with a spontaneous switch from a standard room to a junior suite?
Both are classic examples of upselling — a practice that can benefit both your property and your guests.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at how to upsell hotel rooms, along with other services, and examine what your business can gain from it.
What Is Upselling?
In short, upselling means offering your guests a chance to book paid extras that make their stay better, easier, and/or more fun. The goal is to get travelers to spend more at your hotel than they may have intended. In return, they get an even better experience. For example, guests may opt for your higher-priced room category and get a more spacious room with a nicer view.
Cross-selling is similar but instead of offering a more expensive option, it’s about promoting add-ons from all your departments. That could be breakfast, a spa treatment, or an outing organized by your recreation team.
In the end, both disciplines aim to drive more revenue through extra sales. Apart from that obvious financial benefit, they have several other advantages. When done right, upselling and cross-selling can increase guest satisfaction, strengthen guest loyalty, and better differentiate you from your competitors.
Who Is Responsible for Upselling Hotel Rooms to Guests?
Reservation agents and receptionists are in a prime position to upsell hotel rooms. That’s because they have contact with guests while they’re booking and before they check into their rooms. That gives them the chance to offer a higher category of room or add-ons such as late checkout, F&B deals, or extra in-room amenities.
How To Upsell Hotel Rooms: 8 Easy Methods
There are many ways to convince your guests that the higher room category is worth it. Let’s look at eight straightforward approaches you can start using to upsell at your hotel.
1. Promote Higher Room Categories During the Booking Process
The first chance you have to upsell is when guests book on the phone or via website chat. Offer them the next higher category and make it clear what they can gain from booking the more expensive option. Consider offering a better price than on the OTAs to sweeten the deal and create some FOMO.
Also, set up your booking engine to offer add-ons in the final stages of the booking process for guests reserving a room via your website.
2. Pitch Paid Upgrades Pre-Arrival
The phase between booking and checking in is another suitable time to offer an upsell. Here, guests plan their trip’s details and are open to offers that could make their stay more special.
All you need to do is reach out to travelers via email or text to ask if they want an upgrade. This allows you to promote other services such as parking, your spa, or dining experiences as well. It also avoids putting guests on the spot because it leaves them plenty of time to decide whether to splurge a little on this trip.
3. Offer a Fancier Room During Check-In
Check-in is a great moment for upselling since guests haven’t settled into their rooms yet. At this point, moving them only requires updating their reservation.
Of course, not every guest will be interested. That’s why receptionists need to gauge the situation and try to identify the travelers who are most likely to opt for the upgrade. Making the offer also requires tact and intuition. If approached in the wrong way, the guest may feel like they’re being pushed or taken advantage of. Avoid this by providing comprehensive training if you’re going to encourage your team to upsell to guests on arrival.
4. Consider Room Tours
If guests show interest in a paid upgrade but they’re not sure what they’re getting, offer them a quick room tour. That way, they can decide if the higher category is worth it for them. This can work well for both walk-ins and travelers with a booking.
It’s also a great way to spend time with your guests, learn about their preferences and offer more personalized service, regardless of whether they go for the upgrade.
5. Create Package Deals
Another way to upsell hotel rooms is to make them part of a larger package and offer guests even better value for money. For that to be most effective, create relevant bundles for different audiences.
For example, offer a business package which comes with an upgrade, early check-in, laundry, and breakfast to go. A family package could include the upgrade, airport pick-up, late checkout, and meal vouchers for the kids. Of course, you can customize this based on your services and guest segments.
6. Offer Discounts Through Loyalty Programs
Giving good deals on upgrades is a solid way of rewarding your regulars. For example, you could offer loyalty program members a lower rate on paid upgrades than on your website or OTAs. Another option could be to give every fifth upgrade for free.
7. Actively Market Your Hotel Room Upgrades
Your team members aren’t the only ones who can upsell your hotel rooms. You can promote higher categories on your website, social media, and in your email newsletter as well. Highlight why guests should book the fancier room, present its benefits and show that it offers excellent value for money. While that’s not upselling in its purest form, it creates awareness of your higher-priced rooms. That can lead to guests booking them directly or being more open to an upsell on arrival.
8. Use Upsell Software To Sell Throughout the Guest Journey
Scale your upselling and take it to the next level with automated upselling software. It can do all the heavy-lifting for you and dramatically increase your results. For example, it can automatically message travelers about your upsells throughout the guest journey. If someone opts in, the system handles the booking and billing and notifies your team about new requests. And the best tools can even personalize your offers for different guest segments, so people only see relevant deals.
Automating upselling is the best way to get the most out of this practice. Let’s take a closer look at how your team and even your guests could benefit from this tech-driven approach.
Deep PMS Integration
An upselling system can integrate with your PMS and save your team many manual steps. For example, it can pull availability data from your PMS. This ensures it promotes only room categories that are actually available. Upselling tools can also automatically update the guest profile, their reservation as well as your inventory if someone books an upgrade. And of course, this integration creates opportunities for personalized upselling offers which your guests are more likely to accept.
Modern systems like Canary Technologies’ Dynamic Upsells make set-up quick and simple. They have an open API that can connect easily to your PMS and ensure real-time data exchange. Setting up your offers is also quite straightforward, especially since many upselling tools come with pre-set deals you can use. Of course, you can also get creative and put together your own offers.
Flexible Presentation Options To Increase Conversions
An upselling solution provides a design framework that ensures both an attractive presentation and great usability. This allows you to promote your deals in a visually appealing way without having to code or spend hours on graphics. With a few simple clicks, you can create a beautiful, branded offer that entices guests to book it immediately. Upload photos, insert convincing sales copy and you’re good to go.
Working with upselling solutions can open the door to fully automating the entire process. That includes pitching offers via email or SMS, sending confirmations for booked extras, and updating reservations in your PMS. All that’s left to do for the team is to welcome guests and show them to their rooms. And at the same time, you can enjoy watching extra revenue trickling in with minimal extra effort.
Unless you run a small hotel, it’s impossible to message every guest manually to offer a paid upgrade or other add-ons. And even during check-in you probably don’t have the time to pitch an upsell to every traveler, even if they’re an ideal candidate.
Automated upselling solutions on the other hand can reach the vast majority of your guests. For that, they pull contact information from your PMS and send messages to all upcoming arrivals. That increases the number of eyeballs you get on your offers and consequently boosts your chances of generating extra revenue.
Ability To Approve & Deny Upsells
Ideally, you’d avoid offering rooms or services via your upsell software if they’re not available. However, sometimes this situation occurs, and a traveler may request something you can’t deliver. In this case, upselling tools allow you to reject the request before the guest arrives, so they aren’t disappointed by this bad news during check-in.
Skeptics may say that upselling means nickel and diming your guests. They see it as trying to get extra money out of travelers without offering anything in return.
But it’s quite the contrary. When done right, upselling can enhance your guest’s stay and allow you to provide exactly the service and the experience they want.
And now that you know how to upsell hotel rooms with the help of technology, you can enjoy its many benefits without weighing down your team with lots of extra work.
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