Upselling: how to earn extra revenue (and how apps can help you)

For many people around the world, love will soon be in the air. Not only will they shower loved ones with affection on Valentine’s Day, they’ll spend big too – the average American spent 144 dollars in 2018.

We look at how you can boost your income around key calendar dates by offering guests upgrades and extras at just the right time.

What is upselling?

Upselling simply means encouraging customers to pay more for a comparable (but superior) product to the one they’re considering buying. The term is also used more widely to include selling any additional services.

3 benefits of upselling

1. Create new revenue streams

Upselling is all about persuading guests to spend more by offering additional value. If you can show guests why spending an extra EUR 30 is worth it (nicer view, in-room hot tub, etc.), upselling becomes a new stream of income in itself.

Upselling also helps to increase your RevPAR – how much revenue you’re making on each available room – which is a good barometer for your property’s overall performance.

2. Reach new guests organically

Effective upselling is also a smart way to market your property without spending more money. If guests appreciate the added value of the experience you’ve created, they’re more likely to recommend your place to friends and family – this effect can be further amplified by the power of social media.

3. Get better guest reviews

In the same way that word of mouth helps to grow your brand identity offline, guest reviews can boost your online reputation considerably. If guests have enjoyed their stay and feel they’ve got good value for money at your property, they’re more likely to share a positive review. With 96% of consumers considering reviews important when planning and booking hotels, a good review has the power to turn potential guests into confirmed bookers.

4 upsell ideas for your property

Taking Valentine’s Day as an example, here are some simple upsell ideas you can use for your property:

1. Offer a room upgrade

If a guest has booked a standard room for EUR 60, you could offer them the chance to upgrade to a superior room for an extra EUR 20. As long as the selling points are clearly stated and shown in your hotel photos, the extra cost will seem small compared to what they’re getting overall – making the upgrade very appealing.

2. Create a special experience

By upselling special treats such as a bottle of wine, flowers, chocolates or breakfast in bed, you can create a more memorable experience that’s affordable for guests – and cost-effective for you.

3. Promote activities for couples

Activities are another great opportunity to upsell. Whether you cooperate with a local business or offer on-site amenities, experiences like cooking classes or romantic spa days can grab guests’ attention and persuade them to spend a little extra.

4. Host a theme night or event

Given the special occasion, you could arrange a themed evening in your bar or restaurant (or collaborate with a nearby establishment) and upsell pre-dinner cocktails and a romantic meal.

How and when to upsell

When it comes to upselling effectively, one of the most important factors is your timing. Get it wrong and you’ll seem pushy and scare guests off. Get it right and you can win them over.

In the overall ‘customer journey’, these are the best moments to upsell:

Booking or post-booking phase

Your first point of contact with potential guests is during the booking process, when a subtle touch is required – having attractive content and clear incremental pricing should be enough to catch the eye.

Alternatively, you could wait until just after they’ve booked and offer your upsell on the confirmation screen, or via email or text message. If you need help with that, there are apps that specialise in upselling immediately after booking.

Before arrival

If you want to pitch an upgrade to guests via email, the ideal window is 10-12 days before check-in. There are apps on the market that can send guests the offer at a time they’re most likely to read it (based on data).

Other available tech options let you customise your email design and audience segment, while some even let guests bid on a room upgrade.

On arrival

Arrival/check-in presents yet another chance to upsell. For instance, guests may have missed your emails, or you might just prefer face-to-face communication. Indeed, the human touch can be more persuasive for certain guests.

But if, say, guests check themselves in at your property, there are also apps that can stand in for you and offer guests extra services during their stay.

It’s clear that upselling creates new opportunities for you to earn more revenue, build your online reputation and provide great guest experiences – and there are many technology solutions that can help you do it effectively.

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