After two years of the pandemic, the hospitality market was projected to get back on track in the summer of 2022. But the economic downturn and shifting guest interests have made it harder for hotel owners to stay top of mind and increase revenue. Brands that have managed to post record profits, used a simple trick to differentiate themselves—upselling to increase revenue per guest.
Upsells include longer stays, better discounts, more flexibility, and amenities that push guests to opt for higher-end products and services. Upselling works in hotels because existing customers are 31% more likely to buy ancillary offers from you. You will also have an easier time selling to them rather than acquiring new ones.
Upselling vs cross-selling: what's the difference?
Before deciding on upselling techniques for hotel guests, you must understand where it differs from cross-selling. Upsells move vertically. If a guest has booked two rooms with kids, encourage them to upgrade to the family suite, if one party has ordered a couple of dishes, suggest the buffet, etc. Cross-sells focus on complimentary services. For instance, if a couple has booked a room for romantic holidays, consider cross-selling a spa appointment.
Successful upsells increase brand loyalty, customer retention and help you sell high-value products while opening up the basic packages to other customers.
Things to do before upselling to guests
Upsells work best when they're highly targeted to relevant guests.
- Understand customer segmentations and what drives them. The types you should target separately are families, digital nomads, couples, millennials/Gen Z, and bleisure travelers.
- Track past data in CRM to understand the trends and preferences of each group
- Avoid silos when creating an upsell strategy. Bring sales, marketing, cleaning staff, the front desk, and everyone else together to engineer a cohesive strategy.
5 upselling techniques you need to use today
Here are 5 simple and effective upselling techniques you can use in your hotel business :
1. Integrate upsells in websites and email marketing
Upsells should start from the website. Use dynamic pricing to offer upsell packages to potential customers. For example, if a guest is booking two rooms for two adults and a child, offer a family package, including a bigger room and discounted rates for the child. Payment pages are ideal to recommend upsells as you have more data to work with from high-intent customers.
Emails marketing is another way to upsell new guests. Send emails with value-added services and room upgrades a few days before the trip to close high-value customers. It's important to try upselling multiple times but not to the extent of annoying guests.
2. Upsell flexibility
Post-pandemic guests are prioritizing flexibility and you can turn it into an upselling opportunity. Flexibilities can include early check-in and late check-out times than usual, wider payment options, local tour packages, and so on. Focus on areas guests love to exercise their freedom in and offer packages at a higher rate.
3. Use events to contextualize upsells
Successful upsells feel more helpful and less like a hard-sell tactic. To contextualize upsells, focus on events. If your booking interface has forms to capture data, use that information to target large groups. For instance, if a group of guests is arriving for a wedding, offer catering and music nights. Offers based on events don't have to be your staple services, but if you can quickly build a package and live up to expectations, your revenue from group tourists will skyrocket.
4. Optimize the right time for upsells
A lot of upsells fail because of wrong timing. If guests feel they're being sold different services too fast and too soon, it will drive them away. Instead, focus on finding the optimal time. Email newsletters a week before the tour often yield great results and so do desk upsells during check-in. Feed recommendations slowly to educate guests about the services and offer the right one at the right moment.
5. Beyond hotel: use a contactless app
One of the easiest ways to upsell services to improve per-guest revenue is by using a mobile guest app. Contactless guest apps improve engagements, make the guest stays seamless and allow hoteliers to sell more products easily. Apps also come with advanced analytics to help you build customer profiles and curate upsell offers in the future.
To learn how mobile guest apps can digitalize your hotel services, check out MyCONECT’s suite of products.