Upselling and Cross-selling for Hotels
Guests don’t stop spending money after they book a hotel room. Creating selling opportunities post-booking can bring in a great deal of additional revenue, and can go a long way towards improving the guest experience. Upselling and cross-selling have an enormous benefit to a hotel’s bottom line, and we want to share our favorite tips on how to do it right. As always, if you have any additional tips or questions send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Upselling and Cross-Selling are Important to Your Bottom Line
Upselling and cross-selling are two different tactics, but each method has the same goal: to generate revenue for your hotel. Upselling is the practice of offering customers elevated services for an additional cost, most commonly seen in the form of room upgrades. Cross-selling is the process of selling extra services, such as spa packages or a city tour. Both are incredibly useful. A guest won’t always think to ask for extras on his own, even if they will improve his visit. Providing the option for additional or upgraded services increases guest satisfaction, and the more positive the guest experience, the better your reviews. And guests are receptive to these selling techniques as well. A study by CTI found that 59% of hotel guests were sometimes or always interested in additional services, and only 13% reported that they were never interested. That being said, selling to guests is an art, and it’s essential that it be done properly.
Deciding What to Upsell and Cross-Sell
Creativity is paramount when deciding which services to highlight. Put yourself in guests’ shoes, and think about what they might want the most. A good rule of thumb is to come up with ideas that will make their stays more comfortable or more memorable. For upselling, room upgrades and late check-out are the most popular options among guests, as they increase comfort and can add an element of luxury. With cross-selling, your hotel can get more creative with options such as massages, meals at the hotel restaurant, or extras such as a bottle of champagne upon arrival. Personalization is key here, so the more information you have about guests, the better. For instance, a business traveler might be interested in booking additional space at the hotel for meetings. Those traveling with children may appreciate an upgrade to a larger room, or even a special family-oriented offering. Anticipating your guests’ needs before they do is the key to successful sales.
Selling to Guests Throughout the Stay Cycle
You can upsell or cross-sell at any point throughout the stay cycle. During booking, offer additional options before a guest submits her final room selection. If this guest sees that she is able to get a nicer room for only $40 more, she might do so on the spot. This is the easiest, most passive form of upselling. From there, pre-arrival and confirmation emails give your hotel the opportunity to highlight services that can improve guests’ stays. Providing links to book additional services or make upgrades in these emails creates a no-pressure selling opportunity, and email is an excellent personalization tool. You can also pre-arrival emails to call attention to new or seasonal services and activities. After arrival, you can tap into your staff talent for a more personal touch, or harness technology to optimize upgrades and upsells.
Train Staff to Upsell and Cross-Sell
Once guests are on-property, your staff is your most powerful upselling tool. However, this is only true if they have the right training. First of all, staff need to know how to demonstrate value, and how to treat upgrades as unique opportunities. They should be experts on all types of rooms offered, which ones have a balcony or a city view, for example. Staff should also be able to tout the hotel’s best features. For example, if the hotel restaurant offers specialty omelets made to order, they should use this information to convince guests to add breakfast to their package. Making on-the-spot, personalized recommendations is another important skill. If a guest complains about travel difficulties upon arrival, a staff member might offer a spa package to help him relax.
Incentive programs are a common tool for encouraging upgrades, with commision available to staff who sell a guest on an upgraded room. These programs are a great way to motivate employees, but it’s important to have a defined structure for the upgrade process in order to avoid conflicts. Above all, staff should be courteous and not push too hard if a guest isn’t interested. Here are some tips to share with staff to encourage good upselling practices.
Hotels today have more upselling and cross-selling options than ever before. And we’re not just talking about emails. Guests are increasingly accessible and more receptive to personalized suggestions for improving their stay. SMS and push notifications, for example, allow hotels to contact guests at specific times with services or promotions they might be interested in. A well-timed push notification can inform guests of a specialty cocktail at the hotel bar during happy hour or the option for a late checkout on the morning of their departure. Technology allows for a personalization that makes guests more likely to take advantage of these offers, and makes booking additional services and upgrades easier than ever. We know firsthand that the best way to sell to guests is to make things as simple and personalized as possible. That’s why our A.I. Chatbot allows guests to arrange a late checkout and other services right from their mobile devices. Technology is truly one of the best tools for increasing revenue, and it’s up to your hotel to take advantage of all of the available options.