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How to Get the Upsell

By Cloudbeds, February 26, 2016

Introduction

Upselling is one of the best ways to make guests happy and increase revenue. An upsell strategy can truly be a win-win situation for your property and your guests. The only sacrifice is time and energy put forth by the property’s staff. Upselling has the potential for you to meet and exceed your sales goals and positively influence your guests’ experience. Here we’ll give you ideas for what you can upsell, when to do it, and on creating momentum with your team.

The Case for Upsells

Consider all of the different places a guest can book a room. Online travel agencies and other third-party vendors usually present the lowest price option. Guests choose what they feel is the best option without knowing all their choices. This leaves room for upgrades on the table. If a guest books through a third party or as part of group, they’re usually unaware that other options exist. An upsell strategy can help present all your property’s options, which leads to more revenue.

What You Should Upsell

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Your Rooms: Remind your front desk staff, as well as your phone agents, to quote all of your room rates, not just your lowest rate. If a guest automatically goes for the lowest room rate, make them aware of all their options. Guests likely don’t know all your different room types and will appreciate you informing them.

Food and Beverage: If your property has a bar or restaurant, consider offering packages or discounts. Guests love deals and a special offer is a great way to entice them to try it out.

Special Packages: Packages are a great way to add value to a guest’s trip and bring in more revenue. Packages can include drinks, meals, certificates to the onsite extras like the spa, or even deals for local businesses.

Special Adventures or Excursions: Many properties out there offer adventures and excursions. If a property offers something like wine tours, bike tours, parachuting, skydiving, etc. it makes perfect sense to present an upsell. Recommendations from the property are powerful and if they can offer a discount,  then it’s even better.

When You Should Upsell

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There are many opportunities for your staff to upsell a guest. Before, during, and even after a stay, there is likely an opportunity to gain more revenue and bring more value to your guests.

Before booking: Your online advertising, including your website, OTA listings, and other third-party listings should clearly list all room types, packages and offers. But, often OTAs and third-party listings only show the cheapest option. That’s great to pique people’s interest, but prepare your staff to upsell in the other stages and you’ll win just as big.

During the booking: If a guest is booking direct, your booking engine should show all your room types and offers. If the guest books through your call center, the phone reservation staff should use upsell techniques to present all the available options.

At Check-In: Your front desk knows how much the guest paid for their reservation and sees potential for room upgrades. Your front desk staff should use upsell techniques to get your guests in upgraded rooms and push more value.

If a guest books as part of a room block, they often don’t know that they can reserve outside of the group rate. Many of these guests are interested in an upgraded room, but simply didn’t know it was available.

Make sure your staff also presents other upsell options including food, drinks, excursions, and other deals.

During the guest’s stay: The easiest way to upsell during a guest’s stay is to leave marketing materials in the rooms. You can leave a directory of food and beverage options and even leave discount cards for the on-site restaurant. Not only will this make guests aware that you have a restaurant or bar, but it also entices them to eat with you, not elsewhere.

Post-stay: There are even ways to upsell a guest after their stay. At check-out, consider offering a referral program. For every person they get to book a stay, offer a percentage or fixed discount. You can also offer incentives for filling out post-stay surveys. We’ve discussed the value in surveys in a previous post that you should check out when you’re done here.

Tips for Selling

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Don’t be too pushy: Offer an upgrade or an added service as a value add. Don’t pressure the guest into making a decision they don’t want to. The upsell should be presented as a “nice-to-have”, not a “you’re going to suffer if you don’t do this”.

Make sure you’re actually making a profit: In every instance, it doesn’t make sense to upgrade a guest at a flat rate. You don’t want to offer an upgrade at a loss, but if you can give an extra room at a net positive revenue, then do it.

Keep the guest’s best interests in mind: You should only offer an upgrade if it’s going to enhance a guest’s stay. For example, don’t offer a young family a great deal to your formal restaurant that doesn’t welcome children, or coupons to a late-night rave. Think of the audience and go from there.

Motivate Your Staff

The best way to successfully implement an upsell program is to properly motivate your staff. And the best way to motivation is incentivization. There are many ways to structure an incentive program and hotelmarketing.com offered some great options. You can offer cash incentives per upgrade, points to be redeemed for prizes, or paid time off. Make the rewards program something the entire team can watch and track.

Creating a team mentality will help your staff work together to sell more while achieving personal goals.

Conclusion

A good upsell strategy presents a win-win situation for guests and your property. Consider all the different stages you can present new opportunities for guests. Then, figure out what the best offers are deals are that will work for your guests. Finally, analyze how they’re doing. An upsell strategy should enhance a guest’s stay and their response should reflect that.

About Cloudbeds

Cloudbeds creates cloud-based hospitality management software that simplifies the working lives of professional property owners, operators, and employees. Tens of thousands of hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, and groups in over 135 countries trust Cloudbeds’ award-winning software. Founded in 2012, Cloudbeds has expanded to hundreds of team members in 31 countries who altogether speak 17 languages.

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