What is one of your main challenges in today’s post-pandemic climate? Like many of your fellow hoteliers and revenue managers, you might be wondering how to increase hotel sales and revenue with a tight budget and resources.
Especially today, creativity and adaptability are the keys to succeeding and improving your business results. Upselling is one of the foolproof ways to boost your hotel sales and increase your revenue. The reasons are simple. It’s easy and cost-effective to implement an upselling program.
Guests enjoy the chance to personalise their stay, and it generates a steady revenue stream. Oaky’s clients are living proof; some of them generated over €400,000 in 2021.
The good news is that achieving such fantastic results isn’t rocket science. Read on to discover eleven straightforward ways to boost your average spend per guest and overall revenue with upselling.
1. Stop giving away free upgrades
Upgrading loyal guests or offering a higher room category to make up for an error are legitimate ways to show your guests you care. This can lead to an improved experience and positive reviews. However, be mindful of how often you bump up travellers for free.
A single room category supplement may not look like a lot of money. But if you overbook your standard room category without a plan, you may be forced to give countless free upgrades every month. Those foregone supplements can add up to a lot of lost potential revenue.
On the other hand, if you overbook strategically, you can minimise free upgrades and even drive incremental revenue. Upselling is the easiest and most efficient way of doing that, especially if you automate the process with a specialised upselling platform. Keep in mind that upselling should happen at the right time if you want to maximise your gains. This brings us to the next point…
2. Offer paid room upgrades pre-arrival
If you’re inspired to start promoting paid upgrades, your first thought might be to motivate your front desk team to upsell guests. While that’s not a bad approach, you may be surprised that the best time for upselling is actually pre-arrival. That’s when guests are finalising trip details and are keen to add perks that make their stay more memorable.
This makes it the ideal moment to offer travellers a room upgrade at a discounted rate. If they decide to pay a little extra and opt for the paid upgrade, everyone wins. Your guests get a good deal, you generate extra revenue and you can resell the standard room.
Sending guests your best offers before check-in also primes them for more cross-selling when they arrive. They already have an idea of your offerings. A gentle suggestion from your staff can be the final prompt they need to make spa, restaurant or entertainment bookings.
3. Streamline your upselling efforts with a smart hotel technology
As hinted in the first point, smart hotel technology can make upselling and cross-selling much more efficient.
For example, a platform like Oaky pulls PMS data to segment your guests and determine the most suitable offers for your target audience. It then automatically sends them a message at the optimal time pre-arrival, encouraging them to browse and book. This works both with direct bookers as well as with guests coming from online travel agencies to maximise your reach and results. Once someone takes a deal, the system adds it to the guest profile and their invoice.
All your team needs to do is ensure everything is perfectly prepared for your guests on arrival.
Get in touch with an upselling expert to see what Oaky can do for you
4. Offer personalised deals and packages
Personalisation is just as crucial for upselling as it is for in-person service. It allows you to create the tailored stay your guests desire. Especially after the pandemic, people value a unique and perfectly customised travel experience more than ever. It makes their time with you more meaningful and lets them catch up on what they missed most throughout 2020.
As a result, they tend to spend more at your hotel, share positive reviews on OTAs and social media, and return. Guest segmentation, our following point, will help you create this curated and irresistible list of offers for your guests.
5. Benefit from guest segmentation
Your upselling results will improve by leaps and bounds if you get the right offers in front of the right guests at the right time. Leveraging guest segmentation is the best way to do that.
Leverage guest data in your PMS to determine which offers could be most interesting to certain groups of travellers. This lets you cherry-pick the deals you share with them and avoid sending them irrelevant suggestions.
For example, solo business travellers won’t get offers for a couple’s massage. Instead, they'll see options to book an early express check-in or a VIP airport round trip. Again, an automated upselling platform will pull, analyse and act on PMS data to increase hotel sales without your team having to put in extra hours.
6. Capitalise on food and beverage deals
Apart from rooms, the F&B department can be a property’s most powerful revenue driver. With the right upselling offers, you can drive significant extra sales and increase your hotel guests’ in-house spend.
Start with simple add-ons like in-room breakfast, a romantic dinner for two or a quick business lunch. These are standard options that do well at many hotels. But you can take things a lot further with a bit of creativity.
Think about unique F&B offers or activities you could promote. Would your pastry chef be willing to host a chocolate making class once a week? Or how about a signature dining experience in one of your suites? The options here are endless…
For more ideas, browse our list of top-selling F&B offers to spark your inspiration.
7. Increase hotel sales with the most common upselling ideas
Some of the top-performing upselling deals we’ve seen at Oaky are the simplest and most straightforward ones.
Early check-in and late check-out
This one is popular because it offers travellers extra convenience, usually at a reasonable rate. It’s an excellent chance for you to boost average guest spend and drive revenue on slow departure or arrival dates.
With more guests travelling within a day’s drive, safe and guaranteed parking spots are in high demand. React to this need and let people book their parking pre-arrival.
This one has always been a favourite among travellers. It removes the stress of having to figure out public transport or hassling with a taxi. At a time when many travellers are still uneasy around large groups, it’s also a way to guarantee health and safety.
Spa and wellness packages
Health and well-being have moved to the forefront of many people’s minds over the past years. Spa treatments and wellness packages that offer a relaxing experience and good value for money are the best way to cater to the growing interest in a healthy lifestyle.
8. Take advantage of two-way integrations
The better your systems connect and share data, the better the results they bring. Oaky’s customers who have a two-way integration between their PMS and Oaky make 3,50 EUR per room per month on average. Compared to that, hotels with only a one-way integration in place top out at 2,50 EUR.
This is because the two-way integration allows for real-time updates of deal availability and lets guests book offers without having to wait for team members to approve them. A two-way integration combined with dynamic pricing is the recipe for further increasing hotel sales.
9. Adopt an attribute-based selling approach
Attribute-based selling (ABS) means breaking down a product or service into specific components to sell them separately. For hotels, this can include letting guests pick rooms with certain qualities (e.g. a hotel room on a high floor, a room with a view or near the elevator) for an extra fee.
At a time when personalisation is more important than ever, ABS is a great tool to let travellers customise their stay. As you can guess, pre-arrival upselling and cross-selling are ways to leverage the power of ABS when it comes to boosting the guest experience and hotel sales.
10. Use upselling to cut back on housekeeping expenses
It’s no secret that staff shortages and more elaborate hygiene requirements have increased housekeeping costs for hotel businesses. Use upselling to reverse this trend and even generate extra income from this department that’s not commonly seen as a revenue driver.
There are two ways you can do this:
Allow guests to opt out of daily cleaning in exchange for a perk, e.g. a free drink at the bar. This reduces your housekeeping team’s workload, cuts costs for supplies and laundry and reduces resource consumption.
Offer daily housekeeping at a surcharge. This approach drastically cuts down the hours your team needs to put in and the costs incurred. It’s also a chance to offset higher cleaning costs through the extra revenue.
11. Optimise your earnings with dynamic pricing
If you’ve already implemented upselling and want to take things to the next level, it’s time to optimise your sales with dynamic room upgrade pricing. How?
The same principle you use to sell rooms also works with room upgrades. At times of high demand, you can increase the fee for your paid upgrades. When things slow down, you can lower it again.
This permits you to maximise results during high demand times without hurting conversions in the off-season. A data-driven upselling platform like Oaky can automate this profit to ensure you seize every opportunity.
Start your upselling journey on the right foot
Now that we’ve gone over the eleven ways to use upselling to increase hotel sales, you’ve probably noticed a few trends.
Creating a personalised guest experience is more important than ever.
Using data is the key to offering the right deal to the right guest at the right time.
An automated upselling solution like Oaky lets you do both without putting extra strain on your staff.
That leaves us with only one question: how much money are you leaving on the table with free upgrades, and what are you going to do about it?
Determine your potential lost revenue with our free calculator sheet and get inspiration for how to tackle this challenge.