5 Effective Hotel Upselling Techniques to Skyrocket Revenue

Which takes more effort: The outreach and marketing required to attract a new guest, or selling a room upgrade or spa package to an existing guest? The answer is clear—upselling is a powerful strategy for increasing RevPAR that, when done right, can help you boost your profits without expending extra resources.  

But what’s the secret to upselling more without adding to your workload? Considering the fact that modern guests value the ability to customize their experience with self-service tools, specialized tech solutions are the key.

So, to make upsells more attractive to guests while reducing the pressure they put on your staff, you need to build processes based on software solutions that let guests design their stay on their own terms, while reducing the work upsells create for your team. 

In this article, we explain how you can increase upsells at your hotel with five proven techniques, as well as explore the long-term impact an upselling strategy can have for your business. Plus, we give you concrete ideas for in-demand upsells you can immediately put into practice.

Take the friction out of upsells, both for your staff and your guests, with a powerful guest engagement platform.

Your upselling strategy can have a powerful long-term impact

Upselling is about more than just boosting RevPAR—implementing an effective upselling strategy can actually help you build stronger relationships with guests and bring in more repeat bookings. 

There are a few reasons for this. First off, by using a guest engagement platform that provides a frictionless upselling experience, guests have more opportunity to interact with your hotel and services. Guests can engage with this tool from the moment they book until after they check out, curating their ideal stay and getting to know your brand better. 

Plus, when you implement an upselling strategy centered around personalization rather than maxing out on revenue, guests don’t feel they're constantly on the receiving end of a hard sell. Rather, your approach to upselling can actually make guests feel more accommodated and catered to, helping you build stronger relationships with them and incentivizing future stays.
Screenshot of the Operto Guest platform displaying a bike rental page

Use a guest engagement platform like Operto to make it easy for guests to browse and select relevant upsells, like bike rentals for exploring the city. 

How to upsell more at your hotel

If you want to generate more upsells, it’s not just about what you offer, but how you offer it. Implement the following techniques to boost upsells at your hotel. 

Built rapport with guests

Guests are more likely to purchase extra services and amenities if they feel you’ve made the effort to build a relationship with them, as they’ll trust that your recommendations are genuine rather than assuming you’re just trying to make a sale.

To connect with your guests, send pre-arrival messages with software like Operto Guest to provide essential information and get your guest’s stay off to a smooth start. And before they arrive, ask guests questions about the purpose of their stay to start building that relationship and better inform the personalized upsells you offer during their stay. 

Some examples include: 

  • Who are you traveling with?
  • What’s the purpose of your trip?
  • Are you celebrating a special occasion?
  • Have you ever been to the area before?

Anticipate needs and wants

You can exceed your guests’ expectations by anticipating their needs, but you first have to know what your guests want out of their stay. Use the questions we listed above to get to know your guests before they arrive so you can categorize travelers into customer profiles. 

For example, if you know your guests are celebrating an anniversary, you could offer a room upgrade to a suite with a jacuzzi and chilled champagne waiting for them upon arrival. Or if they’re traveling with children, advertise your kids day camps and special family events. 

By building customer profiles that help you categorize your guests based on the purpose of their stay, you and your team will be equipped to quickly identify which upsells may interest them, staying ahead of their requests as you provide a more personalized experience.

Design a frictionless buying experience

Finally, make it as easy as possible for guests to purchase upgrades or services at your hotel using a streamlined digital solution. When you centralize your guest interactions on a digital platform, guests can reach out to you, make special requests, and purchase extra services at the click of a button. 

For example, guests can use the Operto Guest mobile-optimized web app to answer those pre-arrival questions we mentioned above, as well as browse your upsell offering in a comprehensive, categorized digital guidebook. 

Then, when they find something that sparks their interest, they can book the service or amenity through the guest app via a smart button—there’s no need to call the front desk or search for a partner’s website when they want to make a purchase, removing unnecessary friction from the buying process.

5 hotel upselling techniques to increase revenue

Now you’ve seen a few general ideas about how to better connect with guests and make upselling smoother, discover five actionable recommendations to increase your RevPAR. 

Infographic showing five hotel upselling techniques

Use these strategies for increasing upsells without creating more work for your staff. 

1. Advertise upsells before your guests arrive

Pre-arrival communication isn’t just for asking your guests about the purpose of their trip and sharing arrival details. You can use this crucial time in the guest journey to share information and offer upsell opportunities that guests can take advantage of even before they arrive. 

For example, design message templates for a pre-stay drip campaign, sharing information about room upgrade options, early check-in, and other add-on services that guests can book pre-arrival. 

When you make guests aware of the upgrades, services, and add-ons your hotel offers before check-in, you give them the opportunity to start making purchases ahead of time. You also engage them from the moment they start the guest journey, which can help lower your cancellation rates.

2. Offer in-app purchases with hotel upsell software

As we mentioned, guests can easily purchase services and upgrades via their mobile device when you use a solution like Operto. This removes friction from the upselling process, making it easier for guests to book a dinner reservation or spa service right from their phone. 

But to make this process run smoothly (and ensure guests get exactly what they ask for when they ask for it), have a dedicated customer care team that can remotely manage your guests’ needs. 

With the right hotel management tool, you can build a streamlined internal communication infrastructure that ensures guest requests make it to the right team members. So if someone orders a drink by the pool via your guest app, your customer care team receives the request and relays it to the staff at your poolside bar, ensuring your guest gets what they ordered in a timely manner. 

3. Partner with local businesses 

While you may have a spa, restaurant, and gym, your hotel can’t have it all. That’s why you should partner with local businesses to offer guests unique services like guided tours and activities in the local area. 

For example, set up an agreement with a local guide service that brings you a commission every time a guest books a tour or experience via your guest app. This is possible via customizable smart buttons within your digital guidebooks that take guests directly to a partner’s website. 

This technique not only helps you bring in more upsell revenue but also gives your guests an enhanced experience. That’s because you provide all the information they need about local activities and offerings  in a curated, in-depth digital guidebook, helping them make the most of their stay.  

Screenshot of the Operto Guest digital guidebook showing a local restaurant recommendation

Limited dining options at your hotel? Partner with local restaurants so you get a commission when a guest books a reservation via your digital guidebook.  

4. Leverage unique on-site amenities

Make the most of the amenities you already have at your hotel by integrating them with your mobile solution. So when guests access communal areas—like a gym, spa, or pool—via a mobile key using your guest app, make sure your related services are visible and accessible at the same time. 

That way, they’ll automatically see additional services and add-ons in their guest app, like personal training sessions at your gym or your spa’s offering of luxury facial treatments. 

Having this information at their fingertips makes them aware of everything your amenities have to offer without having to listen to your front desk staff go through a scripted sales pitch upon check-in (which they’re likely to forget minutes later).  

Pro tip: 

To facilitate contactless access via mobile keys at your hotel facilities, upgrade your locks with Operto Boost. The innovative technology allows you to enjoy the benefits of smart lock functionality without the time and investment of replacing your locks and doors.

5. Create loyalty programs to bring repeat business

You don’t have to be a chain hotel with locations around the world to enjoy the benefits of a loyalty program. By getting your guests involved in a loyalty program (and collecting their email address for remarketing), you can share rebooking incentives, as well as advertise special offers with built-in upsells. 

So send out email campaigns based on each guest’s profile to share experiences and packages that go beyond a bare-bones stay. For example, for business travelers, offer a package that includes transportation from the airport, in-room breakfast, and a fitness class at your gym. 

Or for a couple who visited on their honeymoon, send out an offer for a special “First Anniversary” package about eight months after their stay, complete with a couple’s massage, a discount on a dinner reservation at your restaurant, and a bottle of wine and bouquet of flowers in their room to welcome them upon arrival. 

With this tactic, you’re not only bringing in repeat guests (who will book direct via your website), but also offering them the chance to purchase personalized upsell offers the moment they make their reservation, bringing up both RevPAR and guest satisfaction.

Upselling examples to implement at your hotel

Need some upsell inspiration? Check out these innovative hotel ideas that can help you bring in more revenue per stay and better engage your guests. 

General crowd pleasers

Some upsells work well for just about anyone, including:

  • Room upgrades
  • Sports and leisure facilities like gyms, pools, steam rooms, saunas, and spas
  • Early check-in and late check-out
  • Airport shuttle service
  • On-site parking

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 upon arrival
  • Spa treatments like massages and thermal bath soaks
  • Room service for breakfast-in-bed or late-night dining
Image of a hotel room with wine and a tray of desserts

Put the finishing touch on a romantic anniversary trip with a bottle of wine and gourmet pastries awaiting your guests in their room upon arrival. 

Family vacations

Help parents make their trips more enjoyable with services like: 

  • Room upgrade to a larger suite with additional space and installations for small children
  • Childcare services 
  • Children-focused activities like craft nights, live performances, and playgroups
  • Family-friendly tours and excursions

Business trips

People traveling on business appreciate practical upsells that’ll help make their lives easier, such as:

  • A private car service they can hire and share with colleagues, partners, or clients
  • In-room dry cleaning pickup 
  • Premium WiFi access for video calls and large file downloads and uploads
  • Conference room reservation for meetings and networking functions

Unique packages

Get creative and offer your guests special packages they won’t find anywhere else, like: 

  • “R&R” package with a complimentary welcome drink, deluxe spa treatment, and late check-out time
  • “Out on the town” package with bike rentals, a walking tour, and dining discounts with your local restaurant partners
  • “Digital nomad” package with upgraded WiFi, unlimited free coffee, and access to your business center

Boost upsells and start generating more revenue for your hotel 

Upsells are a powerful tool for increasing the revenue you bring in with each reservation, as well as increasing your proportion of repeat bookings. But if you’ve always relied on front desk staff listing out extra services and amenities upon check-in to bring in upsells, there’s a better way. 

When you use a tool like Operto Guest, upsells don’t have to create more work for your staff or friction for your guests. By asking pre-stay questions and making personalized suggestions, you can increase upsell opportunities and build a lasting relationship with guests.  

Take the friction out of upsells, both for your staff and your guests, with a powerful guest engagement platform.

Frequently asked questions about hotel upsells

What are the benefits of hotel upselling?

Aside from the obvious benefit of increased revenue per stay, upselling can also help hotels provide guests an overall better experience.

That’s because when you use the right upselling techniques, you’re able to give guests a unique, personalized experience, helping you build rapport and turn first-time guests into repeat visitors. 

Can you upsell to someone twice?

You can definitely upsell to a guest more than once. When you use a guest engagement tool, you can show guests all the available upsells throughout the duration of their stay, giving them the opportunity to book services at your hotel from before they arrive till after they check out. 

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

While the terms upselling and cross-selling are often used interchangeably in the hotel industry, upselling refers to offering guests a better version of something they’ve already purchased, for example a room upgrade. 

On the other hand, cross-selling refers to offering a product or service related to the one they have already purchased. So, examples of cross-selling at hotels include a spa treatment, restaurant reservation, or room service. 

What hotel upselling best practices are most successful?

There are a few best practices you can implement at your hotel to increase upsells, including building rapport with your guests, anticipating their needs, and providing them with a frictionless buying experience. 

These best practices are successful because they help your guests feel like they’re receiving a personalized experience while making it easy for them to purchase upsells at their convenience. Plus, be sure to use hotel operations management software to help your team smoothly deliver the extra services your guests request.