Master Hotel Upselling: 9 Proven Upselling Techniques

September 10, 2023 Nicky. M
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Hotel managers who omit upselling in their sales strategy leave money on the table. In August 2023, RoomRaccoon generated €31,000 in additional revenue for hoteliers using RaccoonUpsell. With our upsell feature, it’s easy to offer upgrades and add-ons your guests will love while maximising revenue. 

A boutique Eco Game Farm in South Africa increased its ROI on RaccoonUpsell by 781%! How was this incredible ROI result achieved? Read Buff & Fellow’s case study to learn more. This is only one successful case out of thousands of hotels worldwide that are actively using this technology to upsell amenities at their property. 

According to Social Tables, the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. But surprisingly, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. By leveraging this knowledge and the following upselling techniques for hotels, you can increase your revenue, build deeper customer relationships, and put your property’s amenities to good use. 

What Is Upselling in the Hotel Industry?

Luxury- private-car-service-airport-shuttle

Upselling in the hotel industry is the process of offering add-ons to guests who have booked a stay at your property. Add-ons are extra amenities that your guests can purchase to enhance their stay. You can offer these add-ons during online check-in, via pre-stay emails, or hotel front desk upselling. A popular add-on provided to guests is an airport shuttle or private pre-arranged transport.

We recommend offering your add-ons before the guests arrive at your hotel. You can increase your RevPAR (revenue per available room) before your guests even enter the hotel. Guests are also more likely to purchase add-ons that are offered before they begin to travel due to the convenience and travel excitement. Setting up pre-stay add-on capabilities with hotel (management) upselling software is easy.

Why Use Upselling in Your Hotel’s Strategy?

Group-of-girlfriends-popping-champagne-on-holiday

Upselling increases your revenue per available room (RevPAR) by getting customers to spend more than they originally had planned. Examples of this are guests upgrading their choice of room or splurging on ancillary products or services. Add-ons can be a spa treatment, a bottle of champagne, or a local tour on top of their room rate.

Increased revenue is one of many things you can look forward to. Upselling offers a number of benefits for guests, including:

  • Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty through added value;
  • More positive reviews;
  • Stored guest preferences for future personalisation;
  • Higher RevPAR through increased spending and
  • Greater utilisation of property amenities.

Good to know: To get a guest to increase their spending at your hotel, your upsell product or service should be three things: 

  • Of good value;
  • Convenient; and
  • Relevant & unique.

How to Implement Upselling in Your Hotel

woman-learning-how-to-implement-hotel-upselling

Are you wondering just how to do upselling in your hotel? You’ll need an HMS or hotel reservation software to enable automated upselling. Automated upselling helps hoteliers turn the manual process of upselling into a quick and painless automated task. You can also learn more about how hotel reservation software works if you’re new to hotel management software!

You can start with our article on 5 effective hotel packages for guests. We recommend starting with a handful of add-ons to improve the guest’s core experience with your hotel. Remember, add-ons are meant to enhance the guest’s booking journey and stay, not distract from it. We have an informative brochure featuring hotel upselling ideas and hotel upselling techniques if you need inspiration.

Would you like to know more about our upselling solution? Explore the exciting world of automated upselling and gain valuable insights on boosting your sales while creating a memorable experience for your guests in our new RaccoonUpsell brochure. We cover the most popular add-ons, benefits of upselling, and common questions.

9 Proven Hotel Upselling Strategies

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1. Include targeted upsells and cross-sells

Newlyweds won’t be interested in buying the same amenities as a corporate booker. Including relevant offers and add-ons throughout your website, social media channels, and booking engine increases customers’ chances of finding something they like. Typically, upselling offers are placed near products that are geared towards upgrades and similar value-added features. On a hotel website, offers can be placed on the experiences or activities pages and amenities pages for the restaurant or spa. 

For example: “Get a couples spa package at half price when you book a stay for 2 nights. Check availability.”

In your booking engine, you can include add-ons for specific room types. A popular example is the honeymoon suite, where you can upsell champagne, flowers, chocolates, and a 3-course dinner. 

Take a look at the example below:

RR booking engine mock up

 Source: RoomRaccoon Booking Engine

The key to success is proposing relevant products or services that offer personalised value to your guests during their stay. Some examples of products and services that can be upsold include:

 What can you upsell in hotels?

  • Room upgrades – because who can resist a more spacious room with better views?
  • Packages – create different packages of amenities for different audience segments to cater to all types of guests. 
  • Food and beverages  – everyone needs to eat, so dinners, breakfasts, desserts, and a bottle of wine are some of the easiest things hotels can upsell. 
  • In-room extras – what else could a guest find useful? This does depend on the type of travellers, but movie rentals, a premium minibar, and a baby bed are all great options. 
  • Activities –  additional activities can be offered and run by your property or third parties through partnerships. (more on this in point 2)

Make sure to test all of your add-ons and offers to see which ones result in the best conversion rates and which audience segment favours certain types of products and services more than others.  

2. Partner with local businesses to expand your reach

Package deals are convenient for guests who are travelling to your area to explore and partake in local experiences. Offering popular activities outside of your hotel is a great way to boost your reach with partnerships with local businesses. 

 Take a look at the great example below:

mount-nelson-packages

Source: Mount Nelson Hotel

In this example, the hotel partnered with local wine farms to offer guests a complete wine experience package for a minimum stay of two nights. 

Think about what’s popular in your area for potential partnerships. Walking food tours? Tickets to the museum? Seasonal festivals? Travellers are attracted to the convenience of booking all of their entertainment from a single place. 

A package deal gives clients the perception of a bargain while earning your hotel more revenue in the process — essentially, the ultimate upsell. On top of that, you encourage guests to come back and stay again by providing memorable experiences.

3. Enhance the experience during online check-in

Online check-in is the most opportune time to offer products to enhance your guest’s experience. That’s because your guests have already purchased from you and are more likely to spend a bit more for an experience that offers them more perceived value. 

Typically, a customer is in no mood to be upsold when waiting to get into their room after a long flight too. Online check-in removes the pressure from making a snap decision at the front desk and allows guests’ to decide in their own time. The perfect solution to assist this is using hotel front desk software!

Contactless check-in tools have become increasingly popular during the pandemic, and property managers benefit from upsell opportunities. It’s important that the enhancements you choose are relevant to your target audience and location and personalized with any information you have gathered about your guest ahead of time. 

For example, if your property is located in a city where business travellers tend to rent a car, consider offering parking as an add-on to their stay. If a wedding group is staying at your property, offer more rooms. 

4. Get more group business with event upsells

group business wedding example

One of the most lucrative upselling techniques in a hotel is catering to group bookings and events. This means speaking to event planners and group organisers to host events at your property. You’ll need to frame upsells in the context of the event. For example, you can offer a floral arch for the ceremony or a set menu at your restaurant for weddings. 

Think: What makes my property special? Emphasize the value in an easily understood plan so that organisers can quickly see where their money will be spent and how the upgrade will contribute to the event’s overall success.

You can get creative with your offer based on what organizers seek. Hotels that are serious about group business usually invest in event management tools like Event Temple that connect to their Property Management System (PMS). This makes staying on top of event bookings easy and enables room allotment for group bookings.

5. Only include relevant upsell options

It might seem like the more variety you can offer customers, the more likely they are to find something they like. The reality? It’s overwhelming. It’s like showing up at a restaurant with a menu the size of a novel. Guests need a limited, manageable set of choices. So, keep your products and add-ons limited and targeted to specific audience segments. 

6. Communicate the unique value of your add-ons

A proven upselling technique that hotels use is to convince the customer of the product value through their marketing content. For example; 

Don’t just say – “Buy a bottle of champagne.” Instead, talk about the origin story of the champagne and describe the delicious flavour notes. 

Rich and enticing product descriptions that ‘show’ rather than tell customers why they need to purchase something is a surefire way to upsell more amenities at your hotel. You can highlight details, use emotive language, and “set the scene” for potential guests.  

Take a look at examples of good product descriptions for upsells during online check-in below:

bicycle & breakfast options

7. Highlight upsells on your social media

A study revealed that 73% of millennials check a hotel’s social media feed before booking. In that case, highlighting amenities on your hotel’s social media channels is an important upselling strategy to consider. 

However, when you post, avoid coming off as overly self-promotional. Instead, try telling a story that your audience wants to hear and promoting a lifestyle that’s associated with your brand.

Instagram is the ideal visual platform to appeal to your followers and potential guests with high-quality, engaging photography and emotional content. For example, you can post a picture of guests enjoying your Sunday breakfast buffet or post an aesthetic picture of the products used at your spa to create intrigue around your upsells. 

the ritz instagram

Source: The Ritz Hotel

8. Use your PMS to identify trends and keep testing

Take advantage of the data stored in your Property Management System (PMS). Your PMS can aid your upselling and cross-selling efforts by providing rich data like stored guest preferences. 

You can use these insights to focus on offers that provide the most value and the best guest experience. Naturally, these will also be the offers that generate the most revenue for your property. You can also see which distribution channels have the best return on upsell if your PMS supports a channel manager

9. Improve guest loyalty post-stay with enticing offers

Many upselling starts at the prospect stage, especially when guests have already booked with your hotel. But how about after the guest checks out? You can entice guests to stay with you again by offering them a discount or a free breakfast for their next stay during check-out or via a post-stay email. 

 Building customer loyalty is extremely important because it takes 7 times more effort to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Returning customers are likelier to upgrade their stays for a different experience, making them the ideal upselling candidates.  

Master Hotel Upselling With RoomRaccoon

There can be many upselling meanings in hotels, but the bottom line is that it can help boost your bottom line! Upselling is one of the best ways to generate more revenue for your hotel, and it’s easy to set up and manage with RoomRaccoon. 

Ultimately, it’s about knowing your guests and their needs. You also want to offer relevant products at the right time, to the right guests, and in the right places. Armed with these 9 proven upselling techniques, you’ll see an increase in customer satisfaction and business performance in no time!

If you’d like to increase your revenue and amplify existing revenue streams, please contact us for a free demo.

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Nicky. M

Nicky is RoomRaccoon's Senior Content Manager, combining a love for travel with a practical approach to improving hotel performance through tech and insightful tips. Join her journey where travel, hospitality, and technology meet.

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