When you think of upselling, the first thing that comes to mind may be offering a paid upgrade. Other options like a breakfast add-on or an airport transfer might be your next ideas.
That’s a great place to start with upselling, and you’ll definitely see results.
But how about making it more fun, memorable and engaging for your guests?
If you like the idea but aren’t sure how to get more creative with upselling, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can come up with more creative deals. You’ll also get a peek at the most creative upsells we’ve seen at Oaky, to give you some extra inspiration.
Why you need creative upselling deals
If you’re upselling on arrival, a paid upgrade or an F&B add-on is the most common offer you’ll make. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with suggesting a higher room category or a breakfast.
But if you’re working with an automated upselling platform, you have the chance to offer your guests several interesting deals to choose from. In our experience, eight to 12 deals across various categories are optimal. This gives guests a wide enough selection without overwhelming them.
A few of these deals can be traditional offers for travellers who want to add simple extra comforts to their stay. But what about the rest? Here it’s time to get creative and wow your guests.
Use upselling as a chance to offer unique experiences that will enrich their stay and make it unforgettable. Especially once restrictions ease and revenge travel picks up, guests will want to treat themselves and your creative deals will be the perfect way to do that.
How to get creative with your upselling deals
The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get started. Instead, use what you already have at your hotel. Maybe all you need to do is combine and present it differently.
Not sure where to start? We’ve gone through our data and outlined five best practices and upselling examples of creative deals to help you make your special offers a success.
- Start with unbundling existing services and attributes
Look at all the services and amenities you offer. How could you break those down and offer them separately?
Think of your rooms for example. Do guests often ask for a specific view? Or do they prefer a higher floor? Maybe some of your suites have a special feature (e.g. a jacuzzi in the bathroom) that you could offer at a premium.
Brainstorm everything that’s special or desirable about your rooms. Soon you’ll have a long list of interesting attributes you can promote. This approach allows guests to pick the features they value and pay a little extra for what they really want.
The Shrigley Hall Hotel promotes its Fabulous Feature Room in a way that creates curiosity among its guests. Although it’s a “simple” room upsell, this one does great because of the way it’s presented. What are the fabulous features? Book it to find out!
- Get support from all teams
Upselling can go way beyond rooms. Bring your team from all departments on board to come up with ideas that span your entire property.
Upselling food and beverage offers is one of the most obvious choices. But even here you have countless options for putting together interesting deals. How about taking the standard dinner reservation and turning it into a candlelight dinner on the beach? Or why not offer an afternoon in the pastry kitchen where guests can learn how to make macaroons?
Now, look at your other departments. What spa service could you offer that’s more interesting than an in-room treatment? Perhaps a combo with a healthy dinner or one-day smoothie detox.
And what about recreation? Maybe there’s an option to rent gym equipment in the room or to get a sunbed brought to the balcony. Even better – maybe your concierge always wanted to be a tour guide! Look how Pulitzer Amsterdam is pulling this off:
At the Pulitzer Amsterdam, they take their guests’ well-being very seriously. They offer a morning run with their concierge who guides runners on a seven-kilometre round in Amsterdam. This is guaranteed to stick in a traveller’s memory because it’s unique and gives them a memorable local experience.
The Hotel de la Source – Spa-Francorchamps offers a romantic package so guests can add a special experience to their stay. As you can see in the description, the hotel gives important details about the inclusions (romantic decoration and cocktails) and hints at a mystery gift. This creates curiosity since guests will only find out what this is if they book.
- Create an experience
Here’s another good upselling tip to make your guests happy and boost their satisfaction: use your deals to create an experience. Travellers want to enjoy their time with you and have memorable moments. You can create opportunities for that with your offers without having to go to extraordinary lengths. Sometimes a simple service, game or add-on can be enough to delight your guests.
The key here is to know your audience and what they would enjoy most. This depends on your target market, their demographic and reason for travelling. Families might enjoy the offer of providing a stuffed animal for their toddler while couples may like romantic turndown service.
Here’s how that could look…
Have you ever played real-life Clue? Neither had most of the guests at Lumley Castle. But that changed once the team created their murder mystery afternoon tea. Now guests can sip on bubbly and nibble on snacks while they crack an exciting case.
The Van der Valk Arlon-Luxembourg offers something a bit crazy but unique. Guests who feel lonely can rent Vinny the goldfish. He’ll keep them company during their stay and the proceeds from the deal go to a local charity. This deal does well because guests love both the quirky idea and that they can support a non-profit.
- Collaborate with local partners
Many guests love a truly local experience, so help them plan their trip accordingly. You or your concierge probably already know the best guides or the ideal day trips. Use upselling to make them more accessible to your guests.
Reach out to local tour operators, guides or event organisers to see how you could work together. Maybe they can offer a special experience or outing while you provide the picnic basket to go with it.
The Carlton George Hotel has found the best way to combine an F&B offer with a local experience. Their Spirit of Scotland package includes a welcome basket full of Scottish treats guests must try during a trip to the region. And let’s be honest, which curious food could say ‘no’ to haggis crisps?
- Make your offers timely and relevant
Look at what’s going on around you. Can you create a deal around a local event or trend? Think of a special offer for soccer fans when there’s a big game happening in town. Greener travel is also on many people’s minds right now. Can you create a deal around that? Even the current regulations and restrictions around Covid-19 could inspire interesting ideas.
Again, it’s important to know your guests and what they’re interested in. You may need to try a few different options before you find what works best for your target audience. Check out the examples of clever upselling techniques below for some inspiration.
In Sweden, bars have to close at 9 PM these days. But which party ends so early? The [hotel name] offers guests an after-party drinks package for their room, so they don’t have to cut their fun short. As you can imagine, this is popular among pandemic-weary travellers.
The Citiez Hotel in Amsterdam has found a clever way to cut its housekeeping costs and water use. They offer their guests a choice between the traditional daily room cleaning service and a welcome package full of yummy treats. It’s a popular deal because it gives guests more control over their stay and it offers extra value.
Want even more ideas? Check out our Deal Library for even more creative and easy-to-implement upsells. We keep updating it with seasonal or holiday-related ideas, so you never run out of inspiration. Just now we added a selection of Easter offers… have a look!
So, what do you think? Are you ready to get creative with your upselling deals? Once you have some ideas, drop us a note. We’d love to hear what you come up with.