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Upselling 101

Have you already heard the term Upselling but are unsure where to start? This article will be your guide, explaining the very basics of upselling. It’s a part of a series on upselling by GuestJoy.

What is exactly upselling? 

Upselling is a sales technique where the seller invites the customer to buy more expensive items, upgrades or any other type of add-ons to generate more revenue. 

In hotel terms this would mean encouraging your guests to buy something ‘extra. For example room upgrades, taxi transfer, room service, spa packages. 

These are all things that can help you earn more and you are probably already doing it in some form. 

How does this benefit you? 

Besides the obvious – extra income, guests benefit from the variety you offer. They can choose to have a more luxurious vacation or enhance their stay with small things. This all creates an overall better guest experience, and happier guests mean higher ratings online, more returning customers, and better word of mouth. 

And if we want to get sciency, there will be a lot of guest data to analyze later on. For example: what sells best at which time of the year. 

Upsell some snacks

Where to start? 

No matter what size your property is, whether you are an apartment or a 500-room hotel, look first for the obvious. 

  • What are your guests always inquiring about? 
  • What are the attractions/specialties of your area? 
  • Why do guests visit your hotel, is it a spa, or a family getaway? 
  • What do they purchase the most? 

These are going to be the things you can easily sell (or possibly you are already doing it in one form or another). Let’s take a concrete example, you are a boutique hotel in a capital city and your guests are always asking about taxi transportation from the airport and how they can get tickets to the local hop-on-hop-off bus. These two things can be your best-selling extras, now you just need to ‘advertise’ this to all of your guests, not just the ones that ask about it. 

How to ‘advertise’? In other words how to do the actual upselling part? 

The most old-school way is probably asking at the reception, during check-in whether the guests would like to upgrade their room (depending on availability). 

Other ways can be: 

  • On your website (putting a link to your offers or to your taxi company’s web)
  • On a paper leaflet in the room, at the reception desk, and in the common areas
  • In your restaurant
  • In a marketing email (pre-arrival)
  • On your OTA  and social media platforms 
Who wouldn’t want to get a cab to their hotel instead of public transport?

Think about who you’d like to reach? 

Surely not only those who are asking about taxi transfer would be interested in comfy travel, but excessive advertising can also be too pushy. Also different types of travelers like to see different types of advertisements. This is a more nuanced part of upselling, so for now let’s just say don’t overdo it!

So you already have a couple of things: taxi offer, hop on hop off, and let’s throw in a bottle of wine in the room, or a room upgrade. These are already enough to start! Now you can select how to advertise – let’s say you are going to send out emails to your guests and you are also putting some (not too many) leaflets in the common areas – elevator for example. 

What to do now? 

Sit with your team, talk about upselling and brainstorm all the possibilities.
Think about the following groups: in-room services (beverage, birthday cake. You can also save this image below for later to think about what are you going to promote at your property.

Feel free to save this cheat sheet

In our next articles you can learn about:

  • All the different ways to upsell & how to design an upselling leaflet or email. 
  • Identifying travel personas and what to upsell to them
  • Upselling packages
  • Segmenting your guests
  • Upselling in numbers

And much more.

Other articles we have written on this topic: 
7 Upselling tips that make hotel guests happier
10 tips on how to increase hotel revenue
Upselling ideas for small properties
Are you making these common mistakes with upselling?
3 Upsell techniques you must know
Our ultimate guide for revolutionary upselling

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