A foundational element to exceptional hotel service is the ability to surprise and delight. In the last few years “surprise and delight” has eclipsed the value of mere guest satisfaction and in guest reviews may be seen as the anecdotal differentiator between you and your compset. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, surprise is the most powerful marketing tool of all.

Surprise is good for business

Whether it’s a free coffee at your regular store, a freebie when you buy a product, a birthday gift from your favorite brand, a surprise can make someone’s day. If a brand can successfully realize such moments, not only will they have happy customers but increased customer retention, brand affinity and ultimately additional revenue.

Surprise and delight have long been a key differentiator for hotels. We’ve all heard a story or two where hotels have gone above and beyond to surprise and personalize a guest stay. We’re not talking about chocolates on the pillow at night. It is the stuff that requires real effort: getting tickets to sold-out shows, tracking down a copy of your local newspaper from home, booking a table at your favorite restaurant before arrival, even having breakfast at Tiffany’s. Nothing says "I value you" better than when a hotel takes the time to look for ways to personally surprise their guests."

However, standardizing surprise and delight is somewhat controversial amongst hoteliers as they are not always easily (or cheaply) done. For maximum impact they require manual strategic planning, extra resources and expenditure that may or may not deliver a direct revenue return. But the wonders of technology have produced a new way to incorporate delight into your offering in a consistent way. And the best news is that your guests will happily pay extra for it.

Automated delight

When booking a room, rate tends to drive purchase decisions. Most guests are price sensitive and as a natural consequence, lower room categories get booked up first. When it comes to room upgrades, guests normally associate them with being expensive, and for the majority of customers they are perceived as something beyond their reach. Even the idea of being offered a complimentary upgrade seems highly unlikely. But what if we surprised the guest with the offer of a room upgrade for a nominal fee? What would happen? Would they be surprised? Would they accept a paid upgrade? Would they tell their friends, family or millions on the internet? If current guest reviews are anything to go by, then the answer is yes. 

Example 1— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.Example 1— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.
Example 1— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.
Example 3— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.Example 3— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.
Example 3— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.
Example 2— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.Example 2— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.
Example 2— Photo by ROOMDEX, Inc.

Guest sentiment is not always easy to prove but the reviews above speak volumes.

They reveal that surprise and delight campaigns do not have to be elaborate, all time-consuming endeavors. Utilizing the best automation has to offer, upselling, such as an upgrade offer can deliver a customer experience that surprises and delights. And in do fact translate into happy guests, repeat business and great hotel reviews.

While some traditional hoteliers are concerned that discounted upgrades undermine the brand value of premium rooms, the truth is that guests are thrilled to be offered an upgrade that is specifically catered to the room type and attributes they find most appealing. The surprise of receiving an upsell offer adds an element of newness to the same consumption experience and in turn creates delight.

Hoteliers already know that when utilized properly, surprise and delight is extremely good for business. May be its time to consider including automated upselling in your marketing arsenal. Surprise your guests with something of value, something they didn’t expect and experience the results first hand.


ROOMDEX's hotel upsell software, "Upgrade Optimizer," automates, monetizes, and ultimately simplifies the hotel room upgrade process by putting the power of choice in the hotel guest's hands. Automation is the cornerstone of our pioneering hotel optimization platform. ROOMDEX uses hotel reservation, guest data and its proprietary persona and price algorithms to deliver personalized digital offers, greatly enhancing the guest experience. The hotel upsell tool relieves hoteliers of the labor time required by other upselling solutions while delivering high margin revenue and a substantial ROI.

The company was founded by Jos Schaap, Pierre Boettner and Denis Bajet, three industry veterans (Ex. MICROS-OPERA (now Oracle Hospitality), StayNTouch, Shiji and Nor1) who together bring over 90 years of hotel software innovation experience in PMS, integrations, revenue management, BI, mobile, self-service and upgrade optimization software. Since founding in spring of 2020, ROOMDEX has signed on more than 90 hotels with 8,500 rooms across the U.S., U.K. and Europe.

Website https://www.roomdex.io
Twitter: @ROOMDEX
Facebook: facebook.com/roomdexinc
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/roomdex
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Jos Schaap