Some say sales (upselling and cross-selling) is a form of art, however, I think it’s rather a communication done smartly. Upselling and cross-selling mean that in the hospitality industry you basically just offer complementary services to those whose journey would be enhanced by experiencing these little extras. The people you can sell to, are coming to your hotel or are already on your premises, so no need to connect with strangers. They have a motivation to buy because they are on vacation; trying to enjoy their well-deserved time. This all sounds easy, but we still see a lot of hotels struggling to make more income. Let us guide you through some common mistakes and help you improve your hotel’s revenue.
Your focus points when selling should be:
1. Know your customer – who are they, what are they looking for?
2. Present them with an experience that suits their needs and complements their vacation.
3. Make the price attractive and the purchase easy.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Yet there are multiple common mistakes hoteliers make that I see daily during my time spent advising them. What are these?
1. Your sales methods are outdated:
Most people like to plan ahead when on vacation, so it’s important that they learn about your offers and services in advance. The two things that sell the most are room upgrades and taxi services. Both are very unlikely to be purchased at the reception when the guest is already at your hotel, getting their key. Additionally, there are a lot of people who prefer to plan these little extra services quickly, a couple of days before their arrival, preferably on their phone. We are living in the era of online shopping, so maybe it’s time to stop wasting your receptionist’s time and energy on sales. Using an automated system will free up your receptionist and salesperson. Nevertheless, saves you a lot of time from printing flyers and putting up posters which will also keep your hotel looking more classy.
2. There is something wrong with your sales text:
When advertising your services you should always be clear on what exactly are you selling. You can’t say: champagne and roses and deliver gerberas, otherwise you are going to end up with angry customers claiming they did not get what they paid for. Explain exactly what the customer will get, but do not list items as if it was an inventory. You should try to have an emotional impact on the guests with your text, make them feel like purchasing this offer will enhance their guest experience tremendously. We already wrote about this here, but I will highlight Room Upgrades now, as an example: What a lot of hotels do: List room upgrade as: Upgrade your room! With our junior suite comes an LCD screen, coffee machine, double bed, walk-in shower, etc… What is wrong with this: you are most probably listing things that are found in other rooms as well, they do not come with the upgrade. Additionally, this type of offer does not speak to the guest. By this, I mean that if a guest reads this, they will have no idea how will a room upgrade enhance their stay. What you should do is hint at how much extra space and comfort your guest will get, and truly upgrade their guest experience. Possibly add complimentary in-room breakfast, a free bottle of prosecco, or whatever you have for these occasions.
3. You don’t target the right audience:
With the old-school sell-at reception method, you’ll definitely not offer a romantic dinner to a solo business traveler, or childcare to an elderly couple. But if you are using technology for communication then you need to filter who sees your offers and when. Make sure whatever you have on offer is targeted at potential buyers. With the right filters in your sales process, you can reach only those who are likely to be interested. Guest Joy’s automated system already has this type of segmentation, all you need to do is select which offer should be available to which type of customer.
Pictures, pictures, pictures!
As we pointed out in this article pictures are key, they should reflect what the customer will get. When advertising a dinner in your restaurant you should have a picture of food instead of a picture of your restaurant. Show the guests what they will get. Same with offers like prosecco and sweets: get a real picture of how your treats will look once delivered into the room. This will always be better than something you pulled off the internet. Make sure the pictures are light in color and realistic, refrain from using stock images, try to use your own. I know it seems like a bit of an investment, but you’ll sell a lot more in the long run. Read about how to pick the perfect imagery here.
image is light in colors, instagrammable and more inviting than a stock photo of a bottle of champagne with a golden background
You don’t know what to sell or you are selling the wrong thing:
Every hotel has something to sell, let that be a room upgrade, early check-in or late check-out. Other easy things to add to your list are parking spaces, room service (bottles of alcohol, sweets), taxi service (get a company that you are affiliated with). These will all help you increase your hotel revenue. However, there are also things that do not work anymore. Flowers or minibars are a thing of the past. The traveler of 2019 would like to have a drink at your bar instead (so much more instagrammable than a minibar!) and have a more romantic experience than giving a bunch of dying plants to their s.o.