Industry Update
Supplier News18 December 2014

New Study Confirms Front Desk Upselling’s Role in Boosting Guest Satisfaction and Online Reputation for Hotels

Joint study conducted by TSA Solutions, Brand Karma and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts reveals definitive link between successful front desk upselling and increased positive online reviews.

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TSA Solutions

TSA Solutions, a leading global provider of measurable and sustainable revenue performance enhancing solutions for the hotel industry, has together with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Brand Karma, released the results of an in-depth study into upselling’s profound ability to affect the number and quality of positive guest reviews. The study results reveal that a successful upselling program is undeniably correlated to a simultaneous rise in guest satisfaction and online reputation. In light of research conducted by Cornell University that similarly demonstrated a significant increase in property revenue as a result of a boost in online reputation, the presence of an effective front desk upselling strategy has never been more crucial to business success.


TSA Solutions has been a global partner with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts for many years, having implemented its acclaimed front desk upselling (FDU) program across the group’s portfolio, and especially in the most recent years, has noticed the significant advantage that accompanied the resulting increase in the hotels’ front desk teams ability to upsell: a substantial rise in favorable online reviews. Of note was that many of these reviews specifically mentioned a provided upgrade and/or upsell as a positive factor in their stay. Previously, no data had been collected or analyzed to validate such a relationship, or that of upselling’s ability to influence long-term profits. Now as a result of the joint efforts of Brand Karma, TSA Solutions and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, evidence of the relationship can be observed as follows:

  • After analyzing over 11,000 online property reviews, Brand Karma’s findings concluded by using an overall satisfaction scale of 1 to 5, that reviews from guests who agreed to an offered paid upgrade culminated in an impressive 4.6 score regarding their hotel stay experience (compared to 4.7 attained by those offered complimentary upgrades).
  • When reporting on “value for money” feedback, those same guests scored a 4.2 on a 1 to 5 scale, almost as high a satisfaction score as those who received an upgrade for free!
  • Overall, Brand Karma’s analysis translates into paid upgrades obtaining a 25% higher satisfaction rate for guests with no upgrades, surpassed only by complimentary upgrades at 33% satisfaction, which represents a marginal gain in satisfaction considering the loss of revenue opportunity.
  • 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 experience came from reviews where a proposed upsell was rejected by the guests, demonstrating the critical need for front desk teams to understand how to tune into a guest to explore if an upsell should even be presented.

Utilizing software platforms such as Brand Karma iO, hotels are able to discover insights from the review and social media data about a brand and its competitors. From there, iO integrates a hotel brand’s external business data feeds, detecting correlations across performance data. (e.g., if my TripAdvisor ranking rises 2 places, what’s my expected change in RevPAR?) In this study, Brand Karma applied that formula to 20 Shangri-La properties around the world.

“Our research shows that hotels offering paid upgrades can have their cake and eat it, too: higher rate, satisfied customers, and good reviews, said Morris Sim, CEO and Co-founder of Circos Brand Karma. “A successful upgrade can happen if the hotel selects the right customer, communicates the offer honestly, and fulfills the customer's expectations at the higher rate.”

With operations spanning the globe, TSA’s universally proven upselling strategies powered by technology and people are tailored to accommodate cultural differences determined by a hotel’s regional location and customer base, ensuring maximum effectiveness of the program’s implementation.

For more information about our study, please click on the link below:
Effective Front Desk Upselling Increases Online Reputation by 25%

About TSA Solutions | TSA Solutions is the premier front desk upselling specialist, providing measurable and sustainable revenue performance enhancing solutions to over 800 hotel partners in more than 59 countries around the globe. Through a unique combination of training, technology and ongoing performance management tools, TSA helps many of the world’s most recognizable hotels capture more than $200 million USD in incremental revenue annually with an average 2% increase in RevPAR. In addition to front desk upselling, TSA also offers proven solutions for maximizing reservations, sales, restaurant/bar, and essential selling skills. Founded in 1987, TSA Solutions is headquartered in Singapore and maintains operations throughout Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and North America. For more information about TSA Solutions, please visit

About Brand Karma | Brand Karma helps hospitality and travel brands attract and retain customers via social and digital media. Founded in 2006 by three friends who are former Microsoft executives, today Brand Karma provides analytic tools marketers use to audit their brand, a social CRM to manage reputation, agency services to increase social commerce and brand awareness, and consultants to form winning competitive sales and marketing strategies. The company tracks the social media performance of over 350,000 hotels worldwide, working with the world’s most admired hospitality brands including Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Dorchester Collection, Frasers Hospitality, and many independent hotels. Brand Karma has offices in the US, Singapore, Greater China, Japan, and Europe.

To learn more about Brand Karma, email [email protected] or visit

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Effective Front Desk Upselling Increases Online Reputation by 25% | By Klaus Kohlmayr

16 December 2014 — Implementing effective upselling methodology into a hotel’s front desk protocol has long been demonstrated to have a substantially positive and immediate effect on property revenues. Also considered a subsequent result of successful upselling is an increase in guest satisfaction, due to each guest receiving a unique experience, tailored to match their own specific needs.
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