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Creating the best upsell offer, step-by-step

Oaky upsell tool for hotels 1940 101
Looking for an easy way to improve your guests’ experience and boost ancillary revenue? Upselling and cross-selling are two great ways to do both … if you do it well.

Are you wondering why nobody is opting in to your offers?

Our guide to creating high-converting upselling and cross-selling offers will help you get the most out of your efforts – more revenue, happier guests and glowing reviews.

So you always have these points handy, we’ve even put them all into a checklist for you.

Let’s dive right in!

1. Create a tailored, relevant offer

More than ever before, guests are looking for personalised experiences. And that’s what your upselling offers should provide.

Start with an e-mail personalised with their name, stay dates and any other relevant information. After all, nothing is more boring than receiving what feels like a generic, corporate mass mailing.

Your offers should be tailored to your guests and their needs. To have something interesting for everyone, it’s best to come up with a few ideas you can pitch to different groups of people.

Here are some examples:

  • A paid upgrade to a larger room with more space for an extra bed to families travelling with children.
  • A romantic package with champagne and flowers for guests on a weekend getaway with their partner.
  • Express check-in and check-out options for business guests.
  • Late check-out for leisure travellers wanting to splurge.
  • Limousine airport transfer for suite bookers and regular transfer for standard room bookers

2. Solve a problem or address a need

What are common problems or needs your guests have? What are requests your reservations and front desk team get over and over again? List them all and see which ones you could address in your upsell and cross-sell offers.

Here are some examples:

  • Is it hard to get from the airport to your hotel? Propose a pick-up service (maybe even in a Tesla!) a few days before arrival.
  • Do you frequently get inquiries about city tours? Offer an easy option to book one in a pre-arrival e-mail.
  • Are there many requests for laundry? Create and promote a hassle-free laundry package.
  • Do guests often ask for romantic in-room welcomes? Set up an offer around this and suggest it before guests even have to ask for it.

3. Provide multiple options… but not too many

Since you can never be 100% sure of what a guest might want, it’s best to always suggest several offers. By giving guests something to choose from, chances are bigger they’ll find something they like. Don’t overdo it though because too many choices will overwhelm people and keep them from booking. A good range is between ten to fifteen offers per pitch.

4. Be flexible - Provide bundles and individual offers

Bundles can be great for guests who want a quick and easy solution. By opting in once, they get access to several extra services. For example, you could create an executive bundle for business guests including laundry for suits and shirts, newspaper delivery and in-room breakfast. A family bundle might include airport pickup in a van, a child-friendly welcome package in the room and a night of babysitting so the parents can enjoy an evening by themselves.

However, if someone doesn’t want it all, you can break the bundle down and let the guest pick only what they need. To make the full package more attractive, it can offer a discount over booking all items separately.

5. Stay consistent with your brand

It’s important to follow your brand standards wherever you promote your upselling offers. Keep e-mails, website pages and your upselling platform in line with brand colours, your usual tone of voice and your overall style. If you can use your own images, that’s great. Otherwise, take your time to find stock images which blend in well with your other visuals. By creating consistency for your guests, you build brand recognition and trust with bookers which makes it more likely that they’ll go for an add-on.

6. Use the right language

The greatest offer won’t sell if you don’t describe it right. To ensure your awesome upsells convert the way they should, focus on promoting their values and benefits, not only the features.

In a short description, show guests how the upsell can be useful for them or how much they’ll enjoy it.

Here’s an example:

  • Which one sounds more appealing - ‘Have room service breakfast’ or ‘Enjoy a perfectly relaxed morning with a sumptuous breakfast in the quiet privacy of your room’?

Here’s another one:

  • ‘Book airport pick-up’ or ‘Skip the line at the taxi stand and make it to your meeting in time with our personal airport pick-up service’?

All options tell guests about the offer, but by painting a picture and speaking to your guests’ wants and needs, you can boost demand significantly.

7. Apply urgency and scarcity

Urgency and scarcity are two of the most widely used sales techniques because they work so well. When you offer a deal in a pre-arrival e-mail, make it clear that it’s only available to a limited number of guests or for a certain period of time. For example, reduced rates for upgrades could be available only before check-in. Once the guest arrives at the front desk, the normal rate applies. Or emphasise that the city tour or spa treatment you are promoting is very popular and sells out well in advance on a first-come-first-served basis. To not miss out, guests will take action and your upsell conversion will rise.

8. Make it simple and easy

The e-mails introducing your offers should be simple and clear with a single purpose – to get the recipient to click through to the offers page.

To increase chances of that happening, make your call to action clearly visible and put it above the fold so readers don’t have to scroll.

Keep the booking process as short and straightforward as possible, with the fewest number of clicks. That way you won’t lose people’s attention, frustrate them with a drawn-out process or give them time to go back on their decision.

9. Upsell and cross-sell at the right time

Knowing when to approach a guest for an upsell or cross-sell is just as important as using the right language and images.

When to best offer your extras depends on several variables. Is your property a hostel, a city hotel or a resort? Do your guests book last-minute or well in advance? Which offers do your guests like best?

Depending on how you answered those questions, the best time to promote offers can be throughout the whole guest cycle, including pre-arrival, on arrival, during the stay or even the day before departure.

To save you long months of testing lead times and losing out on potential conversions and revenue, opt for a fully integrated upselling tool which picks sending times based on solid data rather than assumptions.

10. Use tools to become more efficient

The approaches mentioned above are highly effective but some of them take a lot of time if you handle your pre-arrival upselling manually. To help you save time and reach more of your guests, start using an upselling tool like Oaky.

Instead of having to write e-mails individually, an upselling solution can send out customized messages to all guests. Another benefit is that your messages go out at the best possible time so your open and click-through rates are maximised.

If your tool is integrated with your PMS, even better! Bookings will automatically be added to a guest profile and sold out offers will no longer be advertised. This saves your staff a lot of time and ensures your guests have a perfectly smooth experience.

If you follow these tips, your upsell and cross-sell offers will take off in no time.

Guests will have a great experience at your hotel thanks to the cool extras they booked from you and your ancillary revenue will reach all new heights.

Any questions about Oaky? Feel free to reach out!

MKT Olga Vasylieva email
Olga Vasylieva

Senior Marketing Manager 

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