Hotel Upselling: What It Is and 5 Ways To Generate More Revenue For Hotels

By March 30, 2022August 11th, 2022hotels

Most hoteliers know that hotel upselling is essential to keep their business thriving and increase guest satisfaction but worry about it irritating guests, coming off as unauthentic, or even harming their reputation.

Fortunately, getting your upselling strategy right isn’t as intimidating as it seems. This article will take you through what hotel upselling is, why it’s important, and how you can do more of it. We’ll conclude with several hotel upselling examples as well as five specific ways you can increase your hotel revenue with upselling.

Keep reading to discover how to upsell while putting your guests first.

Use Operto Guest to connect with guests and offer them timely upsells. 

What is upselling for hotels?

Hotel upselling is all about pre-empting guest wants and needs. It’s a technique where hoteliers offer guests products, services, experiences, and add-ons they weren’t initially aware of or interested in. Some of the most common examples include early check-ins, late check-outs, spa and wellness treatments, and room upgrades.

Done correctly, hotel upselling leads to extra revenue for hotels and optimal customer satisfaction for guests.

Why is hotel upselling important?

Done correctly, upselling is great for both hoteliers and guests.

When a guest visits a hotel, their objective is simple⁠—they want to enjoy their stay. Hotel upselling is a fantastic way to maximize customer satisfaction because you’re able to personalize their experience and gear your services towards their wants, needs, and interests.

Some hotels are wary of upsell offers because they don’t want to bother guests. However, effective upselling centers on guest experience and doesn’t interrupt or frustrate their leisure time. It provides them with information about additional services and experiences that would make their stay more enjoyable.

Hoteliers can also generate more revenue, foster guest loyalty, and maximize the potential of their facilities with upselling.

Tellingly, a CBRE Hotels report found that American resort hotels increased their ancillary revenue by 26% in 2020 with upsells like golf despite the issues faced by the hospitality industry during the pandemic.


How to upsell more at your hotel

These are several simple best practices that can help your hotel make more upsells. Here’s a hint— they all involve connecting with your guests and prioritizing their needs. Let’s dive into them below.

Build rapport

Developing a relationship with your guests and showing them that you care about their guest experience is essential to upselling. They’ll trust that your recommendations are genuine rather than assuming you’re just trying to make a sale.

A few things you can do to build rapport with your hotel guests include:

  • Send scheduled pre-arrival messages with software like Operto Guest to provide essential information and get your guest’s stay started on the right foot.
  • Keep communications friendly and relaxed. If your hotel comes off as too sales-focused right off the bat, it’ll be hard to build trust with customers and they may get turned off any upsells.
  • Create comprehensive digital guides so that all your hotel’s added-value offerings are at your guest’s fingertips upon arrival (especially if you’re using an online hotel check-in process).

Anticipate guest wants and needs

The best way to increase your upsells is by masterfully anticipating what your guests want.

For instance, a person on a business trip and a family with young children require very different things from hotel stays. The business person might be interested in renting a conference room and the family might want to take a day trip to a local amusement park.

Guests also have different needs throughout their hotel stays. Using a tool like Operto Guest is a great way to provide guests with the right offers at the right moments. For instance, you can use check-in notifications to send guests timely messages and offer them a complimentary service like a free welcome drink at the bar.

Provide a frictionless experience

Hotel upselling should be a seamless experience for your guest. If the process feels too forced, confusing, or awkward, you likely won’t have much success.

Guest experience apps are fantastic tools for hotel upselling because they put the guest in control. Rather than having a hotel employee make a hard sale or asking your guest to do the groundwork, the process is much more straightforward.

If you present guests with an app that contains all the information they need, all they’ll have to do is click through the options and select whatever catches their attention.

Use Operto Guest to connect with guests and offer them timely upsells 

Hotel upselling examples

The perfect upselling opportunities for your hotel depend on what you’ve got to work with. 

Whatever the case may be, the most effective hotel upsells take advantage of the best on-site guest experiences you can provide. 

Check out a few examples of some excellent hotel upsells below.

General crowd pleasers

Some upsells work well for just about anyone, including:

  • Having an option for hotel check-in automation is convenient for guests who want increased privacy or are arriving at unusual hours
  • In-room hampers are a great way to welcome guests and offer them a selection of local produce
  • Sports and leisure facilities like gyms, pools, steam rooms, and saunas are always a win. Take things a step further by offering extras like personal training sessions and fitness classes
  • Guests who arrive earlier than expected appreciate being able to check in early and store their bags
  • Offer guests pickup transportation from the airport or train station. This is especially important if your hotel is difficult to reach

Romantic getaways

A couple staying at your hotel for a special weekend getaway might be interested in:

  • An in-room bottle of wine or champagne or a cocktail upon arrival
  • Spa treatments like massages, thermal bath soaks, and jacuzzi time
  • Late check-outs for extra-luxurious sleep-ins
  • Room service for breakfast-in-bed or late-night dining

Family vacations

Families with children appreciate hotel activities that keep their kids cared for and entertained, like:

  • Babysitting services so the parents can enjoy some alone time
  • Children-focused activities like crafts, playgroups, and sports
  • Family-friendly tours and excursions
  • Large suites with additional room and furniture for children

Business trips

People traveling for business can benefit from practical upsells that’ll help make their lives easier, such as:

  • Concierge services that can help organize work-related essentials, like dry cleaning, restaurant reservations, porter services, and transportation
  • The ability to reserve specialized rooms for meetings, conferences, and networking functions
  • A private car service they can hire and share with colleagues, partners, or clients

5 ways your hotel can make more revenue through upselling

Upselling is an important source of revenue for the hotel industry. Let’s dive into the things you can do to maximize it.

Upselling is an important source of revenue for the hotel industry. Let’s dive into the things you can do to maximize it.

1. Use hotel upsell software

An all-in-one software solution like Operto Guest gives you the chance to increase your revenue through upselling by allowing you to keep track of what stage your guests are at in their stay. You’ll be perfectly positioned to make relevant recommendations, from contactless hotel check-in to check-out.

In addition, Operto Guest makes the whole upsell process seamless. Rather than offering ad hoc suggestions or generic sales pitches, present guests with valuable, customized information through your own branded guest app. They can then browse through your services and experiences at their leisure, from extra cleans to special activities like deep-sea fishing.

2. Offer pre-arrival upsells

Many guests feel overwhelmed when making upsell decisions at the front desk. Instead, connect with them before they arrive by sending out pre-stay recommendations and suggestions. They’ll have the time and space to digest all the different possibilities without feeling pressured or put on the spot. They’ll also have more time to ask questions or bring up concerns they might have.

Some common examples of pre-arrival upsells include:

  • Transportation like airport pick-up or shuttles, taxi services, and car rentals
  • Early hotel check-in or bag storage
  • An in-room meal or bottle of wine upon arrival
  • Guided tours
  • A larger room or a room with better amenities

3. Team up with local businesses

When considering your upsell strategy, you might want to deliver a service or experience that your hotel can’t provide. For example:

  • Visits to large installations and theme parks like aquariums, zoos, and amusement parks
  • Specialized, technical sports like scuba diving, rock climbing, surfing, and skiing
  • Equipment rentals like bicycles, ice skates, ski-doos, jet skis, and boats

There’s an easy solution to this problem⁠—turn to your community!

Teaming up with local businesses to expand your reach and deliver even more value to your guests is a real win-win-win situation:

  • Your guests will enjoy the convenience of their hotel organizing so many different aspects of their vacation
  • Local businesses will enjoy the new customers you bring their way
  • You’ll enjoy the commission you get from each upsell

Operto Guest makes it easy to partner with local businesses—simply include their information in a digital guide. Best of all, you can provide partner links so that guests can purchase their external services and experiences directly.

4. Leverage unique on-site amenities

Hotel upsells often depend on the kinds of services and experiences you can provide on-site. If you have one of the following unique amenities on your hotel grounds, the upsell opportunities are limitless:

  • Pools
  • Gyms or fitness centers
  • Spas, wellness centers, or yoga studios
  • Jacuzzis (both community and in-room)
  • Water circuits
  • Saunas or steam rooms

For instance, you can offer guests special memberships to gyms or pools for unlimited use. Instead of having to book a single session, they’ll be able to enjoy the amenity whenever they want for the duration of their stay.

5. Identify guest types and special occasions

Remember, effective hotel upselling is all about anticipating your guests’ wants and needs. One way to do this is by identifying the kinds of guests that are staying at your hotel. Then, determine whether they’re attending any kind of special occasion. 

Guests stay at hotels for all kinds of reasons and some are dead giveaways for the kinds of needs they might have, for example:

  • Wedding parties might be open to special catering services, in-room decorations, and even hairdressers and makeup artists
  • Large group celebrations like birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, proms, reunions, and retirements might be open to limo reservations and nightlife recommendations
  • Couples on a romantic getaway might be open to exclusive dining experiences or romantic activities like sunset boat rides


Start generating more revenue for your hotel with upsells

Don’t view hotel upselling as an awkward conversation or a daunting task— view it as an opportunity. It gives you the chance to enrich both your guests’ overall experience and your hotel’s reputation. Best of all, it’ll also bring in additional revenue.

By using software like Operto Guest to deliver valuable, personalized information to your guests, you’ll give them the autonomy to curate their own best-possible hotel stay. You’ll save yourself time and ensure your guests find the services and experiences that are most relevant and memorable to them.

Use Operto Guest to connect with guests and offer them timely upsells 

Frequently asked questions about hotel upsells

What are the benefits of hotel upselling?

Done right, hotel upselling is advantageous to both hoteliers and guests. 

It’s great for hoteliers because it helps them generate more revenue, foster guest loyalty, and use their facilities to their fullest potential. It’s also fantastic for guests because they get personalized experiences, satisfied wants and needs, and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Can you upsell someone twice?

In short, yes! There’s no limit to how many times upselling can “happen.” If you’ve got multiple products, services, or experiences you think would appeal to your hotel guests, upsell away. 

The most important thing is that you’re not blindly upselling. Put time and consideration into the kinds of recommendations you’re making. In addition, it’s important to communicate multiple upsells gently. Too many offers at once can easily come off as overkill.

What’s the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are similar, but they’re not the same. When you’re upselling, you’re suggesting that your customer buys something more expensive, more luxurious, more complete, or better-quality than their original choice. When you’re cross-selling, you’re suggesting that your customer purchases something complementary to their original choice.

A classic example of this is purchasing a meal at a fast-food restaurant. An upsell is suggesting a larger-sized burger, whereas a cross-sell is suggesting a burger-fries combo rather than a burger by itself.

What hotel upselling best practices are most successful?

There are several straightforward best practices your hotel can adopt to increase your upsells. Most importantly, they all come down to connecting with your guests and tapping into their unique wants and needs. For example:

  • Build rapport: Develop a relationship with your guests and show them that you care about their hotel experience. Do this by sending relevant pre-arrival messages, keeping your communications friendly and relaxed, and creating comprehensive digital guides.
  • Anticipate guest wants and needs: Identify different types of hotel guests and offer them personalized recommendations. Remember, a couple on a weekend getaway and a businessperson have very different needs during a hotel stay.
  • Provide a frictionless experience: Make the upsell process easy by using a guest experience app like Operto Guest.