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Strategy | Tourism | Hospitality

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Upselling techniques for boutique hotels

Written by: Miriam Tessier

One of the biggest concerns of a boutique hotel is to create a strong relationship with guests. Unlike the big hotel chains, you already know that a boutique hotel has a greater approach to the client, a great possibility of knowing them in greater depth. Therefore, there are more options to improve their satisfaction. But also to improve the sale of the hotel service, and consequently, greater benefits for the hotel. This is precisely what the upselling technique is allowing.

1. Why apply upselling in your boutique hotel?

Upselling is not an unknown technique in the hotel market. For years, the hotel chains have used it to increase the average value of sales to the customer by offering improvements during their stay at the hotel. In other words, offering to the customer the service they have hired, but with an added value: a higher quality, a longer duration, or other additional features that differentiate it from the basic service.

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Being an optional upgrade, customers take it as a proposal to improve the service, since the hotel wants to meet their needs. It helps to create deeper relationships with the client, since guests consider that they are offered to give a better treatment of the hotel. Although the guest takes time to request the upselling, he does not even request it, it is a practice that generates a positive feeling in the guest: the hotel seeks to provide greater value to their stay through customisation.

Obviously, this requires persuading the client in an appropriate manner. Finding the right time to offer your guests the hotel upgrade, the best service, that it fits their interests ... The upselling, then, requires an important knowledge of the guest. Offering an upselling to a client improperly, although it does not pose a significant risk to the main booking, it can have an impact on the client's impressions of the hotel. An inadequate upselling not only supposes a forceful proposal for the client, but it can also result in you feeling “cheated” if the upselling does not meet their expectations.

Applying upselling in your boutique hotel is a useful way to surprise your guests, retain them, and obviously to get more profit on your sale. Innovating through advanced and sophisticated upselling, but, in many cases requires time, something that your staff does not have. That is why, thanks to technological advances in the hotel sector, you can count on processes for sending upselling proposals in an automated way.

upselling cross selling hotel

2. How is it different from cross seling?

Both are important techniques within the hotel industry, but they involve two different proposals to acquire an increase in sales. The upselling focuses on choosing a higher quality service or product related to the booked service - for example, a suite room - while cross seling focuses on the acquisition of extra or auxiliary products during the hotel stay - as itmight be, for example, hiring a wellness service.

It is very important that hotels know which is the best moment, and which is the best technique, to introduce the upselling, increase the benefits and thus influence the client. Although, until a few years ago, guests considered in depth to acquire other products for economic reasons, nowadays more guests are betting on improving and extending their stay at the hotel. As long as the guest feels that the hotel has been successful with the proposal of upselling or cross selling.

3. Upselling advantages

First, providing added value to the service for the guest means an improvement in their satisfaction with their experience at the hotel. A boutique hotel allows more customised service for the guest, and if an adequate upselling is offered, the feeling of satisfaction in the guest will be better. Your guests will undoubtedly feel that your team tries their best to offer them a personalised stay.

Obviously, a greater guest satisfaction is another step in the loyalty building. Offering upselling to a new customer, at first, should not be very complex if it fits your type of customers - what today is called buyer personas. That is why the profile of your target audience must be well defined. Success in an upselling with a new client is an opportunity to transform them into a repeating customer. Of course, offering upselling to your already loyal guests will further improve their relationship with your brand.

The additional earnings that upselling provides are a very important plus for your hotel. Using your same services and resources, it is possible to plan your upselling strategy taking into account the preferences of your guests without having to invest in unnecessary resources.

However, if you consider opting to invest in new resources, therefore, in new products, it is very important that these conform to the main objective: to provide greater value to your guest.

Finally, applying upselling in your hotel allows you to continue knowing more about your guests. Beyond feeling satisfaction when they share their satisfaction with the upselling with you, it is always a good opportunity to know more about their preferences. These preferences are added to your previous knowledge of your buyer personas, which will allow you in the future to develop new upselling tactics, with greater value.

upselling hotel boutique

4. How to apply upselling in your hotel

It may be easier for a boutique hotel to offer a face-to-face upselling with the guest. But for this, it is essential to make a natural, friendly contact with the client. If this proposal is not done properly, the opportunity to receive a "yes" from the guest might be lost.

One way to make this process easier, with better chances of success, is to work on upselling automation. In the last years, hospitality and technology industries have influenced each other, especially because hotels are increasingly committed to implement technology not only in their services, but also internally. Because it makes it possible to schedule tasks in an automated way, and save time of your staff to dedicate it to other important tasks.

How can you automate the upselling process? Through the automation of email marketing. Today guests are constantly connected to their mobile devices, so they are aware of the emails they receive before, during and after their stay.

Knowing your guests will allow you to define when it is appropriate to send an email with the upselling proposal, and this can be automated so this sending occurs after the customer does specific actions. These actions can be configured through a CRM tool.

For this automation to be carried out successfully, it is advisable to have the help of a team specialized in online marketing techniques, since they will know how to define automation as well as help you study in depth the best opportunities to offer upselling to your guests.

Images: Franck V. | Jared Rice | Taylor Simpson

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