Hotel upselling and cross-selling are both great ways for you to boost incremental revenue on bookings, and although both strategies revolve around a similar goal, it’s important to understand their differences; Upselling involves getting a customer to spend more on their current product consideration, such as upgrading their choice of room, while cross-selling involves selling ancillary products or services, such as a spa treatment or a local tour, on top of their room.
So why does upselling work? Just put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. They’ve been researching online, found your hotel, browsed your site and learned about your offering. Now they’re in the booking process and they’re in buying mode. This is a critical juncture, because many customers are open to buying a more expensive product than they initially planned, as long as it represents good value. Also it’s convenient. They have their credit card out and, with a single click, the purchase is done.
Now you’re clear on why upselling can work for you let’s look at some ways you can implement it today.
It’s important to let customers know about the great value upgrade options you have available during the booking process. See here how this hotel shows that a Deluxe Double/Twin Room can be easily upgraded to a Superior Room for just €10 or to a Junior Suite for €40 a night.
Advising visitor’s when there’s a limited number of rooms left can also be a powerful tool to help boost conversions. Human behavior is such that we are likelier to purchase something if we’re informed that it’s the very last one. If people really believe that they’ll be missing out on something, they’ll be prompted to act more quickly to receive it.
Urgency is similar to scarcity in that it taps into our inner FOMO (fear of missing out). A limited time offer is a highly effective marketing strategy that can often turn a looker into a booker. People love limited sales, just look at the continued success of Black Friday. See this example where one of our hotels ran a 7 day sale and used a countdown clock to show the days and minutes left on the offer in real-time.
Adding an enhancement option to a room will allow a guest to add an extra like a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates before they complete their booking.
Enhancements should be relevant to your target audience. If you’re a city hotel with a transient business clientele, then perhaps it’s parking you should add as an enhancement. If the hotel is famous for food why not add an enhancement to your Tasting Menu or Afternoon Tea?
Year to date 8% of all hotel bookings at Net Affinity have included an enhancement. This figure is significantly higher for resort properties however, with one of our resort hotels reporting 58% of bookings with enhancements.
A well-timed email prior to the guest’s arrival can be very useful in developing a relationship with the guest. You can provide directions to your property, call attention to dining times and showcase the attractions in the area. It’s also the perfect time to highlight various products or services that may enhance a guest’s stay. In this email you can both upsell and cross-sell. You can use the email to highlight your room upgrade options again and also any offers you may have in your spa or restaurant.
It’s also the perfect time to be proactive and ask your guest if they have any special preferences for their visit. As not many hotels are nurturing their guests pre-stay experience this will make you stand out from the crowd and establish your brand as a hotel that really cares about their guest. By sending guests messages that are both personal and relevant you have a higher chance of establishing loyalty and recommendations.
If you have sister properties in a nearby location it’s worth setting up the cross-sell feature in your booking engine to promote these hotels when you have no availability for the user’s selected dates.
At the Hotel
Finally don’t forget that upselling and cross-selling continues when the guest arrives at the hotel. Your reception staff should be proactive in offering the guest the best experience by making them aware of upgrade options and rooms with special features such as sea views or large desk space for business visitors.
It’s also the time to make the guest aware of any exclusive dining or spa offers or additional hotel services deemed relevant to that particular visitor. Staff should be trained in the soft sell approach rather than aggressive sales techniques so the guest feels genuinely cared for when checking-in.
People hate to be ‘sold’ to but they love to buy. Help your guests enhance their stay by offering them relevant products or services that will add value to their hotel experience, both during the hotel booking process and afterwards.
What upselling and cross-selling initiatives does your hotel have in place?
Susan O'Driscoll is a graduate of DCU and a current Masters student in the Smurfit Business School. Susan has also worked in senior marketing positions with some of Dublin’s best known hotel brands. She has extensive experience in developing strategic online marketing plans and managing new website builds. As an Account Manager, she works with key hotels to build their brand with revenue management and digital marketing strategies. When she isn't being a whiz at digital marketing, she enjoys travelling, hikes and photography. In her role at Net Affinity, Susan works with a variety of hotels across Ireland to ensure optimum revenue growth and strategic brand development.