Best Practices: Room Service and Upselling

From airlines to fast food restaurants, all kinds of businesses use upselling and cross-selling to increase their business’ growth and profitability. However, these are not just tools to boost profits, but also a way of increasing customer satisfaction as you are enhancing their experience. There are several techniques and best practices that can be implemented very simply and are profitable—in every step of the guest cycle.

Before the booking process:
Before you start selling your products to your customers, identify your upsell and cross selling opportunities and make sure they are presented in an attractive fashion.

Structure your rates so that upgrades have a reasonable value. The first step is to identify what a reasonable upgrade value for your higher room categories are. Are you offering your guests a good value for the extra amount you are asking them to pay? If your customers are generally just booking your lowest room types, it is an indication that the upgrade amount is too high. Try adding some extra value (for example, late checkout or free mini-bar) or lower the upgrade amount to see the difference. Another option is to ask your customers what an upgrade would be worth to them. Also implement a flat fee for upgrading where the option for upgrading is always for the same additional price, regardless of what rate was booked (group, corporate, promo rates).


Keep your room details and descriptions up-to-date. One reason why many guests tend to book the lowest room category is caused by the lack of effective room descriptions and outdated, unattractive photos. Make sure to adequately differentiate each room category pointing out their benefits. Don’t just list down facts about the room, but try to sell it using words that are appealing and alluring. Use sentence structures that make your guest picture themselves in the room (“You will be amazed by the views of …”) and add as many high-quality room pictures as possible.

During the booking process:
This can be tricky: on the one hand, you want to give the buyer as many choices as possible
to find the right offer, room, and amenities, but again, you don’t want to overwhelm and confuse them with too many offers.

Do you want fries with that? Have a booking process (online and offline) where different room/rate combinations are offered to the guest in a clear and well-structured way alongside with reservation add-ons such as meal plans, transportation, amenities, etc. Differentiate which add-ons shall be
added to the booking process and which can be offered at a later point (pre-arrival and check-in). Think about that with every extra click you may potentially lose clients during the booking process, but you also should not deny them extra services and amenities which may need to be communicated before checking-in (hotel transportation, extra room amenities, etc.) Adding some of these add-ons to the pre-arrival stage can be a good idea.

Pre-arrival stage:
Now that the customer is already yours, it is the most opportune time to upsell. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.

Use the right technology. Having an automated online upsell system in place is here the key. Systems such as UpsellGuru, allows hotels to offer their guests upgrade opportunities to higher room categories through a bidding process, plus lets’ hotel sell add-ons in a pre-arrival stage.

It works quite simply: The guest submits an offer based on the amount they are willing to spend to upgrade (within a minimum and maximum value offer). If the guest’s bid is successful, they will receive a notification prior to their arrival date. If it is not awarded, they retain their original reservation.

By letting your guests name their own price for a room upgrade it’s a great way to find out how much it is worth to them – and to increase upselling revenue. Upselling through a bidding process is already a successful standard practice for the airline industry.