Guest feedback has a profound impact on your hotel’s online reputation. In today’s digital age, all it takes are a couple of clicks, and travellers can read all about your previous guests’ experiences — the good, the bad, and the ugly. In fact, 93% of users say online reviews had an impact on their buying decisions.
Of course, refining the level of your service is key to improving your guest feedback. Another strategy that you can use is upselling. It can be an excellent way to get your guests raving about your hotel online and improve your online reputation, which will lead to more bookings
We sat together with Oaky, a hyper-personalised hotel upsell software, to find out how upselling can drive positive word-of-mouth advertising and enhance the overall guest experience.
How can upselling refine the guest experience and feedback?
1. Meet your guests' needs better
Upselling is not a sleazy sales tactic, as one might think. It’s rather a win-win strategy that’s beneficial to both parties — hoteliers and guests. Hoteliers can put their resources to good use and drive ancillary revenue, while guests get the opportunity to tailor their experiences to their actual needs.
The issue with selling comprehensive packages that include a wide variety of a hotel’s offerings is that if guests only want to use one or two of the services included, they’re left with no other option but to pay for services that they don’t need. With upselling, hoteliers can change that. They can let their guests customise their stay beforehand and let them select and pay for only those services that they’re interested in. Guests will appreciate this level of freedom and thank you by leaving positive feedback.
2. Personalise guest experiences
In the modern world, customers expect personalisation, irrespective of where they shop or what they buy. It’s especially true for the hospitality industry.
Upselling is a way to introduce and highlight special offers and unique experiences. This means that you can tailor your offering to deliver a more personalised experience for your hotel guests.
Renowned hotels like Hard Rock Hotels use upselling as a way to deliver remarkable experiences. Alexis Remy, the VP of Revenue Management & Distribution at Hard Rock International, explains:
“It all comes down to creating a memorable, enjoyable customer experience. That’s what people truly want from us. This starts with getting to know our guests and communicating highly relevant content and deals pre-arrival. It’s also important for them to have a chance to explore our offering so they can perfectly customise their stay.”
3. Boost customer loyalty and retention
It’s not only new guests that can benefit from upselling but also your loyal ones. Upselling lets you set up loyalty programs and provide special services to your highly engaged guests, allowing them to enjoy customised and unique experiences. This, in return, helps to strengthen your word-of-mouth advertising even more.
With the right app, you might even be able to advertise your loyalty programme along with your upselling promos. Creating more awareness about your membership and loyalty programme is sometimes all that’s needed to increase the rate of sign-ups.
4. Communicate your brand values
While upselling is a great strategy for creating a steady stream of extra revenue, it can also be used to generate more brand awareness. By curating exclusive offers, you can communicate your brand values and build your brand according to the desired image of your hotel that you have in mind.
For instance, do you strive to be more sustainable? In this case, you can communicate your values through eco-friendly upsell deals, such as giving guests the option to skip housekeeping or plant a tree in exchange for a free drink.
5. Get a competitive edge
Similar to using upselling to communicate your brand values, you can also turn your upselling deals into your unique selling points. If you provide unique amenities or creative services, prospective guests might choose your hotel over competitors purely because you can offer an outstanding experience.
For inspiration, you can look at what the Oaky Awards 2022 winners did. These hotels certainly know how to delight their guests by offering out-of-the-box stays.
6. Set the right expectations
A huge part of running a successful hotel is managing guest expectations. Usually, bad reviews are a result of not meeting guests’ expectations.
By presenting your upselling deals and services pre-arrival, you can make it clear to your guests what’s available and what’s not. This way, they can also take a look at the pictures of hotel rooms and experiences they might get in advance and create a complete and accurate image in their minds about what their experience will be like.
How to use upselling to improve guest feedback and online reviews?
1. Gather information about your guests
To be able to use upselling to create a more personalised experience, you’ll need data. Use this data to identify:
- Your most frequent guests
- Their needs and buying patterns
- Their expectations.
It’s only when you know their needs and booking behaviour that you’ll be able to use upselling to its full potential. Without this type of data, your deals will be generic and most likely irrelevant.
2. Create guest segments
As mentioned, the goal of collecting data is to personalise the experience. You can only do this effectively if you break your guests into smaller groups based on traits that they have in common. In marketing terms, this process is referred to as segmentation.
The following are some common examples of guest segments that hotels will find useful:
- Families travelling with children
- Business guests
- Solo travellers
- Guests travelling in groups.
Use these segments as guidelines and create upselling deals that will resonate with guests within these different segments. For example, solo travellers will find babysitting services irrelevant. On the other hand, for families travelling with kids, this will be a lifesaver. In fact, without such an upselling service, it will be nearly impossible for them to enjoy other exclusive deals.
This is another process for which you’ll want to enlist the services of a software solution. It’s a time-consuming task and without a touch of automation, you run the risk of introducing human error.
3. Communicate your offers effectively
Guests might be well informed about your hotel and its offering, but upselling deals will most likely be new to them, especially if your hotel likes to introduce new offers on a regular basis. Just like you would include a description of your hotel rooms on your website, you also need to provide engaging, meaningful, and to-the-point descriptions of your different deals.
In addition to using text, you should also add visuals. To complete your deal descriptions with visuals, follow these guidelines:
- Include at least three pictures for room upgrades, including a photo of the bathroom
- Use pictures that communicate a feeling such as relaxation, laid-back, etc.
- Showcase an experience when selling a service.
Also, when curating your visuals, make sure that you alternate your deal pictures based on your segment. In other words, if it’s targeted at a young couple, use a pic featuring young people. If it’s for older guests, replace your picture to showcase an older couple.
While choice is good, too many upselling deals will overwhelm your guests. So much so that they end up buying no deal whatsoever. The last thing you want is for your guests to experience decision fatigue while they’re on holiday.
For this reason, it’s best to limit your offers to between 10 and 15 per segment. Also, make sure to include deals at different price points.
4. Use hotel upsell software
Upselling takes time and marketing prowess. Just like with other aspects of your hotel operations, using automation can help you to master upselling faster and more efficiently. In addition to saving time, automation can also help to:
- Gather data
- Segment audiences
- Send deals at the right time of the guest journey
- Integrate upselling in your operations across the full guest journey (and even before their stay too)
- Promote upselling at the front desk.
You can, for example, check out a tool like Oaky that’s building a solution to enable front desk agents to upsell smarter by giving them access to the dashboard and equipping them with upsell suggestions based on the guest segment.
5. Educate your staff on the value of upselling and equip them with how-tos
As upselling can be used across all stages of the guest journey, your front desk employees won’t be the only ones to push it. To help get everyone on board and on the same page, it’s key that you organise meetings about upselling specifically.
Once all the staff are up to speed with what it entails, don’t stop there. Just like you would offer continuous training to grow and improve their skill set in other areas, be sure to follow up these meetings with training opportunities that will teach them how to excel in this area. Also, be sure to give them resources, like checklists, to get them up to speed and upselling faster.
6. Measure your success and adjust your upselling deals
Upselling is essentially a marketing channel. For it to work, you need to assess if it works. You can, for example, track the performance of your upselling efforts by analysing the following:
- The open and conversion rates of your pre-arrival upsell emails
- The revenue generated
- Best-performing deals
- Most profitable guest segments.
This exercise will make it easier to identify what delivered the best results. Armed with these insights, your next step is to put your findings into action and adjust current deals or create new ones altogether.
For example, if you find that business travellers made the most use of upselling, zoom in on this segment and create new, exciting deals. The reverse is also true.
If you find that couples, for example, were the least likely to buy a service, try to get to the real reason behind that. Are you offering enough relevant deals? Perhaps they’re all aimed at big spenders? Just like you need to cater to all types of travellers, your deals also need to keep in mind different budgets.
7. Seek feedback
One of the reasons why you’re implementing upselling is to improve the overall guest feedback. Why not turn to your guests for feedback regarding your current offering of upselling deals? By asking guests about what they enjoyed about their stay and what they would suggest you improve upon, you’re not only gathering valuable first-party data but also showing your guests that their experiences matter to you. In short, it shows that you care.
You can automate this process by using hotel tech tools, such as GuestRevu. Created for the hospitality industry specifically, GuestRevu allows you to get insight into your guest experience and expectations through customisable and dynamic surveys.
Previous guests’ feedback can be a deal-breaker. One bad review can cost you multiple bookings.
This means that hotels will want to do everything in their power to keep existing guests happy. When guests are offered additional services and upgrades by means of upselling, they may feel more valued and better taken care of. Not only can this translate to positive feedback, but even repeat business.
Sure, you need to focus on generating new bookings. However, if that’s your only strategy, your hotel will suffer financially. It’s much more cost-effective to nurture current guests than to attract new ones. In addition to helping you land more repeat guests, upselling can also help you to maximise the ROI of each booking.
Considering that it can be beneficial for your hotel’s bottom line in more ways than one, what’s stopping you from making upselling a bigger priority? Your guests will enjoy an enhanced experience, while your hotel will have a second source of income when there’s a drop in room reservations.
Oaky is an upselling software that helps hotels boost their revenue by offering relevant upgrades & services to their guests throughout the whole guest journey. With automation, segmentation & dynamic pricing, it maximises the average spend per guest and removes manual work. Oaky has been recognised as the Best Upselling Software by Hotel Tech Report for 6 years in a row and is trusted by hotels, groups and chains across the globe, including the ONYX Hospitality & Radisson Hotel Group.