Upselling add-ons at your accommodation
Providing guests with personalised value for money add-ons as part of your cross-selling actions is a complex task that needs planning if your goal is to succeed.
Whether you are a hotel or a host, If your add-on offer isn’t driven by a deep base of planning and strategy it’s most probably you won't succeed. Hospitality professionals need to stay up to date when it comes to completing the travel experience. Using your sales & marketing skills, along with conversion driven emails is key to create and deliver add-ons to help you complete the travel experience.
This quick (we try to keep straight to the point) guide will explain what you need to take into account when creating your first add-ons offer.
Establishing your add-ons offer
Crafting and executing your add-ons offer requires you to do more than establish a list of what you would like to sell. You’ll want to go beyond that – there are a number of questions that should surround your offer:
- What do your guests want?
- What’s the most common complaint?
- What unique selling points does your hotel have?
- What add-ons can you include to differentiate?
- What add-ons can you offer using 3rd party suppliers?
Let’s take the first question as an example. Put yourself in the guest’s shoes: What do you wish you could guarantee before the arrival day? and what add-ons would really make a difference in your stay? For instance, some may like to secure a parking spot, while others are happy with ordering a massage at 3pm.
With all that in mind, we suggest to list at least 18 potential add-ons, after completing your list of potential add-ons the first priority should be understanding how to price and deliver your offer in a way that it will help you to achieve your goals.
List your top converting add-ons
Taking a deeper look at our previous questions, see here some good practices when creating your list of add-ons.
Number of add-ons, try to have a total of 18. Having said that, we currently advise to start slow with a minimum of 6 add-ons per each segment and grow as you start having some performance metrics. If you are not using PMS connection to segment your reservations we encourage you to offer from 8 to 12 add-ons.
Combine some add-ons, complete the experience at a better deal combining high demanded service with less popular ones. E.g Spa access + late check-out. You can also mix popular ones such as Airport pick-up + Early check-in.
Instant confirmation, try to offer add-ons that can be confirmed right the way and are not subject to availability. E.g Breakfast or Spa access.
Pricing your add-ons
The method you use to price your add-ons can be extremely diverse depending on what you focus on. Each property must consider the pricing strategy, this is why Cohosting lets you configure your supplements per night, per number of guests, per stay or per night per guest.
In order to decide how much to charge, you should fully understand your target guest, your local market and offer and what they're willing to pay. To increase your sales we encourage you to offer a 10 to 15% discount or an added value such as giving Welcome Amenities for free when booking any of the add-ons. We know that everyone loves free stuff.
Payment methods, once your prices are ready, we advise you to offer a payment method for every culture and age, letting your guests add it to the final room bill as well as providing a cashless experience in multiple currencies and languages will increase your sales.
Show value and create demand
Moving into the delivery part, It’s important to let your guests see the value of adding services to their stay, If you simply offer a Breakfast with a simple picture and no description at all, that offers them nothing. Use the power of images, content and emails to highlight what makes your add-ons unique.
- Focus on picture composition, colour, and figure-ground relationship. Share visual characteristics such as colour and texture.
- Edit your pictures to highlight warmer tones, emphasising cool colours elicits more excitement and generates interest.
- Do not use the same pictures for multiples add-on, pictures should show your unique selling point and state what you are offering.
- UI & UX design, use pictures that will improve the overall design and presentation of your offer page.
Content is a design practice that plays an integral role in shaping your guests upselling experience. Please keep in mind the following aspect when generating your add-ons content.
- Crafting your voice, as we are offering service at stages of trip-planning, we suggest delivering thrills and excitement.
- Make it look compulsory, nowadays you wont get into the plane unless you choose your seat, do the same, make it look as part of the check-in process, but don't be pushy.
- Titles, stay short and straightforward generating curiosity while showing value.
- Description, be clear and avoid surprises, your guests need to understand what they are buying, it is important to point out all main aspects and benefits of the products.
As we mentioned before this strategy revolves around selling value. Having that in mind and the different requirements, we can then create emails to deliver your offer.
- Subject lines, keep short, no more than 40 characters.
- Length, we suggest to stay under 150 characters max.
- Keywords, make it look like a deal, use words like your advantages or benefits.
- Time, we have learnt that the most effective time to let your guests personalize their star is 72 to 24 hours before arrival, you could also offer a second time 14 or 7 days before. At this stage guests are getting excited about their trip wanting to make sure they have a pleasant stay and trip.
If you are using a CRM connected to your PMS or using your OTAs automatic templates try to build trust including personal details such as the check-in day, guest name or reservation ID.
Revenue management never stops
My final advice is to start with an easy to manage offer with no more than 6 items, making minor tweaks, testing season add-ons and keeping a close eye on your conversion. Cohosting will let you download valuable reports to track your results, so you can look back on what worked, and what didn’t.
Over time, along with your dedicated Customer success manager from Cohosting you’ll be able to optimize your offer and pricing, and become a more successful cross selling guru. Good luck!
About the author
This post was by Alejandro soria, Founder and CEO of Cohosting, written with Alejandro Cuevas, head of Customer success at Cohosting.
Cohosting is an Intelligent Cross Selling software used by more than 5000 properties aiming to increase their ancillary pre-arrival revenue by cross selling add-ons and service through segmented pre arrival emails.
Founded in 2016 our mission is to empower any Hospitality professionals (Hotels & hosts) to be at the center of the guests travel journey. To that end, we offer a frictionless sign up process and an easy to implement scalable technology with no PMS integration needed, all under a Win-Win revenue model with no fixed costs.