upselling is icing on the revenue management cake

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised to find your favorite dessert hiding in the refrigerator following a satisfying and wholesome meal?  You know that feeling of delight, even though you’re really not hungry? In the discipline of hotel revenue management, upselling is just like that unexpected dessert.  It’s icing on the cake of a solid, satisfying, profitable ADR.

Here are a few ways smart hoteliers can ensure a steady stream of sprinkles and cherries.

At time of reservation

  • Take the time to understand the potential guest and their reason for travel.
  • Use that information to focus the upsell on the guest’s needs and wants, such as a package, a better view or location.
  • Emphasize the added value to the customer.

For example:

A guest calls to make a reservation for two nights in a downtown hotel.  The heads-up reservationist learns that the guest is travelling on government business and is, therefore, eligible for government rates and per diems.  She offers the guest a bed and breakfast package that meets the traveler’s need to stay within per diem guidelines but earns the hotel a greater share of his spend.

Remember, if a guest is calling the hotel directly, they’ve more than likely done a fair amount of research on line. They’re looking for the lowest rate possible, so the opportunity for increased revenue through upselling is in creating value for this guest.

Prior to Arrival

Whether you have brand-supplied technology or just a booking engine, you have several opportunities to upsell that cost absolutely nothing to execute.

  • Beginning with the e-mailed confirmation, make a limited time offer, or a wait list opportunity for a better room type, better view or additional amenities.
  • Many systems are able to generate a direct email offering, where you can give guests the chance to book a restaurant reservation, spa treatment, or another amenity. This is a great time to work on capturing more of the guest’s spend.
  • Most of the brands provide an opportunity for travelers in their loyalty programs to check in prior to arrival.  This is an opportunity to upsell to that traveler. Those who pre-paid are particularly likely to pay an extra $20 for an upgrade because the trip feels like it’s free when the credit card bill was paid a month ago.

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