In the hospitality industry, upsell of hotel reservations has evolved from a business goal into a refined art form. Diners in restaurants allow themselves to be tempted by desserts. Guests book appointments in the spa because they’re enjoying the vacation. And your staff does everything in their power to make these upselling indulgences entirely worth the price.
But in the world of online booking and digital marketing, your upselling efforts have to go beyond the borders of your property. These days, travelers often plan their entire vacations out ahead of time with online bookings and an absolute budget. Even those who make impulse decisions in the hotel are less likely to splurge because they don’t know what to splurge on. Today, we’re here to talk about how to use your digital marketing tactics to encourage your guests to upsell themselves before and even during their stays.
Create an Upsell Bonus List
The first step is to hammer out a standardized list of booking upgrades for guests. In reality, there are thousands of unique things you would do for a guest (and charge them for) if asked. And at least a few dozen listed on a price sheet somewhere in the spa, restaurant, behind the front desk, or printed in each room’s hotel book.
The key here is to make a ‘menu’ that you can both use as a strategy guide and provide to guests who are looking to be upsold. Because in digital marketing, a list of services is more powerful than the suggestion that guests can have everything. Online, everyone looks at the menu first.
Offer Bonuses While Guests are Booking
The first way to use these upsell bonuses is through your online booking UI. This is something guests can’t get through third party booking partners like Hotels.com. The key is to make the interaction casual, simple, and transparent.
After a guest has selected the room they want, offer a drop-down of checkbox options. Do they want a few extra pillows stocked before they arrive? A chilled bottle of champagne waiting in the room? To pre-book a spa treatment on the first night to unwind from the flight?
Next to each option, neatly list the additional price. The more transparent, the better. This allows someone planning their vacation to make the decision with no hesitation. Either they want and can afford the bonus or they don’t. Underneath your first three or four options, include a dropdown that says ‘More…’
This can reveal a long list of upsells that guests might want, ideally separated by category. You might be surprised how effective this method is for pre-upselling guests who book online.
Market Full-Package Booking Deals
The next option is one hotels have been working on for decades: vacation packages. If you can make a package good enough, guests will spring for the all-in-one deal and pay for more than they normally would booking each activity and luxury one at a time. And as with any good hotel policy, the best packages are the ones that give guests every ounce of extra enjoyment from what the upsell included.
You know best what makes a great package experience at your hotel. Classic packages include multiple nights, complimentary room extras (like a bottle of wine), spa treatments, dining or room service, and shuttle tours.
Market these packages through all your digital marketing channels. Feature the potential experiences on social media. Spotlight the packages on your website and, if possible, through your booking platforms. Consider reaching out to travel services to bring your packages to the attention of their clients. And feature your package deals in PPC and banner ads if you use these channels.
Send ‘Upgrade Your Booking’ Email Offers
Another great digital way to upsell your guests is to target guests who have completed their booking but their trip has not started yet. During this time, they have likely been researching more things to do and getting excited (or possibly worried) about their trip. This is the perfect time to send an email offering a few key upgrades to their existing booking.
This essentially gives guests the chance to book more details about their trip after a few days to think about the time they’ll spend there. Guests may have a great deal of fun browsing your bonuses and adding little extras at their leisure, with pressure to choose at the moment of booking the room.
Upsell Guests During Their Stay
Finally, never forget that guests are often easiest to upsell when they’re in the throes of enjoying their holiday. Vacationers often love to splurge and get a little more joy from the vacation and will happily take opportunities for a fun or luxurious upsell. There are a couple of ways to do this that are more reliable than guests taking front-desk suggestions.
There are three places you should absolutely place your list of stay-bonuses and upsell options available to current guests: Your wifi landing page, the smart tv directory channel, and the guest book inside every hotel room. Right next to the room service menu. You may also include these delightful little upsell options on the pamphlets and table signs in other areas of the hotel.
First, you should absolutely print your upsell bonuses list in the guest-book included in each room. Right next to the room service menu. Second, you should include a section about upgrading their stay on the wifi login page, a page that every plugged-in guest will visit at least once during their stay.
Upselling to digital-age guests is only a challenge if you limit your methods to in-person interactions. Your modern professional and traveling students do everything online and through their phones. So the best way to upsell the wonderful hotel experiences you have to offer is to do it through digital marketing. Let us boost your bookings and guest satisfaction with expert hospitality software and the insights you need to succeed. Our team would be honored to upgrade your hotel management experience. Contact us today to find out more and consult on your hotel performance and popularity.