A recent report has found a direct link between front desk upselling and both positive reviews and guest satisfaction.
The research was completed by TSA Solutions, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, and Brand Karma, and found the following results after analyzing 11,000 online property reviews for the resorts.
- Guest who selected an offered paid upgrade left reviews with a 4.6 score - compared with 4.7 for those guests who received complimentary upgrades.
- When asked about "value for money," the paid upgrades gave a 4.2 score, which is a 25% higher satisfaction rate than guests with no upgrades, while complimentary upgrades had a 33% higher satisfaction rate than no upgrade.
The report stated that frontdesk recommendations were important to this equation - and that the staff must be trained to intuitively offer the correct upgrade to the right guests:
In comparing its influence on guests providing recommendations, those that accepted an upsell scored a 1.3 out of Brand Karma’s 3 point scale, even higher than the 1.2 assigned to those with complimentary upgrades and more than double guests with no indication of an upsell. Alternatively, those who reported the lowest satisfaction came from reviews where a proposed upsell was rejected by the guests; demonstrating the consistent need to reinforce staff upselling intuition and ability.
This sort of finding is a virtuous circle, as front desk upselling increases revenue, while also leading to more positive reviews; positive reviews then lead to more revenue. The ultimate bottom line impact can therefore be significant to hotels of all sizes.
The research is important for hotel chains trying to increase revenue from room upgrades, among other revenue streams, says Siv Folie, Vice President of Revenue Management for Shangri-La International:
Upselling represents a huge revenue opportunity for us, as most of our hotels have a large number of different room types.
As we are trying to shift away from the 'culture of free upgrades', the selling skills of front office staff and the revenue management team's ability to better identify and prioritize who should be offered an upgrade, is becoming increasingly important. The ability to track success (and failure) is also important, so we constantly know we are doing the right things, learning and adjusting as we progress.
The following graphic breaks down the key components of the analysis.
NB: Digging for gold image courtesy Shutterstock.