Five Ways to Digitally Upsell at Your Hotel

Don’t rest on your online marketing laurels once travel shoppers reach your site and book rooms at your hotel.  Build incremental revenue by upselling guests prior to and during their stays via numerous online avenues.

In today’s competitive and complex world of hospitality digital marketing, bookings often seem like the best end result.  You’ve successfully created visibility, engaged travel shoppers and enticed them to book a room.  However, along guests’ journeys to your hotel, and even during their stays, there are plenty of opportunities to nurture your relationship with them and add to your revenue by upselling.  Let’s take a look at five ways your property can capitalize.

1) Sell your property’s unique amenities and opportunities on your website.

Technically, this step starts before shoppers are guests.  This step may also seem obvious, but there are countless hotel websites that fail to emphasize amenities, packages and other add-ons that go beyond the rooms.  From room service, to restaurants, to bars, to spas, to packages and more, all properties with anything to offer beyond the rooms should highlight these offerings on their independent websites.  Professional copy and images, including dedicated pages and even photo galleries (with calls to actions directing visitors to them), should be the norm.  Upselling can account for 10%, 20% or even more of guests’ total charges, depending on the type of property.  Don’t miss out – tell shoppers and guests what you have to offer.

2) Booking Engine

Once a travel shopper has researched your hotel’s website, social presence and reviews—and often times your competitors’ website, social presence and reviews—they’re often ready to book.  Assuming they select your property and are close to becoming an official guest, your website’s booking engine should guide them (err… upsell them) during the booking process.  Once a visitor selects dates, your booking engine should utilize dynamic packaging to offer bookers tempting room packages at the click of the mouse.  For instance, a bottle of chilled wine with chocolate covered strawberries waiting in your room or two discounted spa treatments would add to the guest experience and contribute to your bottom line.

3) Email Marketing

Email marketing, which seems to have become a forgotten art, can potentially be the most effective digital upsell tool.  While a 15% open rate would be considered successful for mass/promotional emails, a future guest is more likely to open an email from your property, especially when personalized.  There are a couple of options here.  Your booking engine should be able to send automatic confirmation or thank you emails when reservations are made.  Besides simply acting as a receipt and saying thank you, this email can reinforce amenities and offerings.  You can also send separate, HTML email blasts that upsell future guests by using links to appropriate landing pages, imagery and more.  It’s worth noting that all emails should be mobile friendly – that is designed in a manner to be easily viewable on all mobile devices.

4) Social Media

Although social media hasn’t quite lived up to expectations as a booking channel, it can still produce revenue.  Social sites like Facebook and Twitter act as an open forum, where consumers have control and hotels must manage the conversation as best as possible. And there’s no better place to utilize exclusive promotional messaging than social media.  Posts and tweets like “Current guests of hotel – receive a buy one get one drink at our pool tonight” or “Guest special – half off spa treatments booked today” triggers action from guests.  A properly managed social presence will spark shopper and guest communication; proactive promotional messaging will spark actions that lead to additional revenue.

5) Mobile

According to PhoCusWright, mobile travel bookings are projected to account for roughly 7% of the total U.S. travel market in 2013 (up from nearly 3% in 2011), so hotels should already be on board with a mobile strategy – a strategy that includes upselling.

  • First and foremost, hotels can take advantage of both mobile websites and mobile apps.  Considering the proliferation of mobile devices (Google reports that around 20% of all hotel related searches are on mobile devices), reaching on-the-go travel shoppers and guests is more important than ever.  Consumers are often booking rooms or making upgrades at the last minute, which provides you an opportunity to upsell in the fastest growing channel.
  • SMS messaging is another mobile avenue where hotels can reach guests and upsell.  Harvesting guest and even shopper information, including phone numbers, allows properties to send exclusive and timely messages to targeted groups.

Hotels can upsell guests via mobile websites, SMS text messaging and mobile friendly emails (covered above) just as they can with traditional Internet.

Digital marketing offers an array of avenues to upsell future guests and even build lasting relationships.  Integrating all of the aforementioned channels eventually entices guests to take action and enhance their stay with add-ons.  And in today’s mobile age, last minute bookers can also turn into last minute upgraders.  With your comp set scrambling to get every dollar they can, upselling needs to be a permanent fixture at your property.  Get in touch with your in-house marketing team or your hotel Internet marketing vendor, map out a plan, and start upselling today.

Joe Hyman

Founder, President and CEO of Vizergy® - Digital Travel Marketing, is an experienced entrepreneur with an extensive background in sales, marketing and management. Joe is a business builder that started Vizergy®, formerly SECURE-RES, in 1998 which now touts over two billion dollars in direct bookings for his hospitality clients.

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