Up-selling can be applied at four main moments in the guest journey: when the guest books, pre-stay, at the front desk during check-in and while the guest is in-house.
Many hoteliers offer extras at the time of booking even though this slows down the booking process and reduces conversion rates. This is the case because hoteliers are often unsure about how pre-stay up-selling works and why it should be applied systematically to increase revenue.
Front-desk and pre-arrival up-selling – two complementary practices
A common worry, hoteliers express, is that pre-arrival up-selling cannibalizes front-desk up-selling, thus reducing the receptionists’ chances to up-sell guests.
But does that actually happen?
Picture a busy city hotel on a Friday afternoon. Many guests are arriving at the same time and a long line has formed at reception. The hotel team is overloaded. Will the front desk succeed at selling their quota of upper category rooms in this situation? And is check-in really the best time to up-sell?
Another point to consider is that not all receptionists have the same willingness and skills to successfully pitch paid upgrades and services. This means a hotel’s revenue from up-selling strongly depends on their staff’s level of training and who is on duty during check-in hours.
Pre-stay up-selling can help your front desk staff in both situations and ensure better up-selling results!
The benefits of automatic pre-stay up-selling at your hotel
Today, a technology that automates and personalizes the sale of upgrades and ancillary services represents the next generation of up-selling solutions. With this, you can boost sales on all existing reservations, regardless of your team’s skills, and get better results than ever.
Despite these advantages, some hotel staff are still skeptical and worry that pre-arrival upselling will reduce opportunities at the front desk. Especially if staff receive a commission on their upsells, these doubts are understandable. However, you can easily dispel them by helping your staff understand that a pre-arrival upselling program provides important information they can use to generate additional sales.
An example of how the pre-stay up-selling process could look
Let’s go over an example: a guest who booked a standard room and buys an upgrade to the superior room will hardly pay for a deluxe room or a suite. However, this guest might appreciate other up-sell offers like a bottle of wine in the room on arrival.
In your opinion: Has the hotel completed its up-sell mission? Not yet! Now it’s your front desk team’s job to up-sell and cross-sell more to this guest. Maybe they can tempt him with a room with a better view. Or, since the guest seems to enjoy the occasional drink, how about suggesting a drink card for the whole stay or a wine pairing for dinner?
Today, you can take advantage of up-selling apps to make this process even easier. To help you know which guests converted in pre-stay up-selling and what they were interested in, the app sends you a daily pre-arrival report at 11 pm. Now your front desk staff can use this data to make meaningful pitches upon arrival based on what they know a guest likes or needs.
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One thing hotel staff is frequently concerned about when automating pre-arrival upselling is losing their upselling commissions. A successful way to address this concern is for management to give incentives based on both the upselling program’s performance and the staff’s sales. This approach encourages front office teams to handle incoming requests more quickly, better manage their inventory and take full advantage of their tool’s capabilities.
To conclude, pre-arrival up-selling does not cannibalize front office up-selling, the two can coexist. As with any other new policy or program, you want to launch at your hotel, pre-arrival up-selling needs to be a team effort. That way, everyone will feel responsible and take ownership when an up-sell request comes in or you are brainstorming new offers to experiment with.