Over the last 12 months, many hotels have discovered the innovation of Automated Upselling. But, if we are honest, a lot of those same hotels were quite skeptical about any kind of upselling solution. So why is that? Historically upselling software solutions haven’t been great. Among a long list of issues, configuration was complex, pricing required daily manual updates, and upsells couldn’t be 100% guaranteed.
But at ROOMDEX we created a solution to all of those problems. When we go back and speak to those same skeptical hoteliers, we heard some very surprising things:
1. Hotels are surprised by the amount of revenue made from early check-ins and late check outs.
For a long time, hotels’ have provided early check-ins and late check out but (stay extensions), manually, at the request of the guest and – more often than not – for free. Most hotels are resistant to upselling early check-ins and late check out, and even when they try it, they have underwhelming expectations of what it can deliver. It has never been seen as serious source of revenue.
However, the great thing about stay extensions is, if you don’t have a variety of room types, you can always sell early check-ins and late check. And to many of our clients’ surprise, as much as 40% of their upsell revenue is from stay extensions.
“What I didn’t anticipate was the early arrivals and late departures to do very well. Room upgrades are great, but the forgotten piece is the early arrivals and late departures. I think other hotels and management companies will be surprised with the results themselves.” Arnold Linares, Group Revenue Distribution Manager, Zetter Hotels & Co.
- “I was surprised that stay extensions formed a big part of the upsell revenue– and the fact that you could earn up to €700 a week on it, with pretty much no additional cost.” Jens Egemalm, Distribution Director, Pandox Operations Hotel
- "Stay extensions are something that have always been in demand, but we didn’t really have a good vehicle to be able to capture that revenue or even be able to monitor the demand we had for it. We knew many guests would request it, we get emails from OTA guests requesting to check-in early and check out late. Now we have a good process to manage the requests." Tim Kayser, Area Director of Revenue Management, Grand Geneva Resort and Spa.
2. Housekeeping is surprised by the absence of operational problems.
To deliver stay extensions successfully requires synchronization between a number of departments – but it is particularly heavily reliant on housekeeping. Due to the operational logistics, complexity and perceived backlash from staff most, hotels have been reluctant to offer stay extensions…until now.
- “When ROOMDEX was presented, the Executive Housekeeper was completely against turning on early check-ins and late checkouts. They were really scared that we weren't going to be able to honour or meet those type of requests. We quickly realized there were no issues where we couldn't accommodate an early check-in and late check-out. Now the housekeeping side of the house is very comfortable with it.” SeaCrest Oceanfront Hotel.
- “At first everyone was freaked out thinking it was going to cause overbooking or that it was going to mess things up in the system (…) The system is just so smart that we haven’t had any issues with it at all. Everybody loves it!” Jens Engmalm, Distribution Director, Pandox Operations Hotel.
- “From a hotel operating perspective, I always want to under-promise and over-deliver, right? So, I want to make sure that if I’m selling that early check-in, I’m going to be able to deliver on that promise. There are always things that are going to be out of my control. If somebody decides not to leave their room on time early in the morning, no matter if I have housekeeping ready to go, I may be setting myself up for failure if I sell an early check-in. But with ROOMDEX, we really haven’t had any operational conflicts like that. Everything just works.” Justin Ellison, General Manager, Mint House 70 Pine
3. Self-service upselling keeps hoteliers from having to say “no.”
While upgrades and upselling have been around as long as hotels have been open, many hotels are still concerned that discounted upgrades or “selling” stay extension undermine the brand. The truth is that guests are thrilled to be offered automated upsells. Not only does it personalise the guest experience and increase revenue, but it also avoids any unnecessary or uncomfortable in-person conversions.
- "When you are a small hotel like us, you have to be flexible for your guests. When a guest asks you, face-to-face, for early check-in or late check-out, 90% of the time, if I have availability, I would certainly say yes, and give it for free. I really don't want to have to say, "No" in those cases. So, for 10 years we made no money on early check-ins and late checkouts because we were just too nice.
Similarly, for a guest who is arriving early, instead of asking, "What shall I do? Do I send an email?," the guest can receive and confirm their early arrival. And the guest is happier because they know, in advance, if there is availability. Many times, the guest doesn't even know that they can ask for stay extensions. They think it's a fact that you need to be out of room at 12 sharp and do not want to ask for a late check-out. It is a burden on the guest to have to ask.
Now, the experience is actually better for the guest. The guest gets an email, finds a great deal on something they really want, and then they can purchase it immediately. The guest doesn't have to go through the embarrassing situation of going down to the reception to find me to ask. Instead, the guest can just click if he wants late check-out and receive his confirmation. And instantly, he is no longer thinking of tomorrow and worrying about when he has to leave. It has been working great. Not only is it making us extra money, but it's also making us look good - we don't have to say no as availability is done for us." Georgios Rouvelas, General Manager Hotel Juliani
4. Management companies use Automated Upselling and its ROI as a differentiator.
Hoteliers already know that when utilized and implemented properly, upselling is extremely good for business. So, when it comes to hotel management companies, they recognise that a solution that can standardize an ROI from their tech stack is greatly valued by prospective ownership clients.
“As a management company, we wanted to build a curated [tech stack] based on a per room, per key cost. So, we can say to our current owners and potential new owners, “We can offer you all this technology, a tech stack, at this per key, per month cost - and it will deliver specific ROI…The ROOMDEX concept fit with our new tech goals.” Brandon Standerfer, Corporate Director of Distribution, Springboard Hospitality Management Company.
- “The Modus Group is continuously looking for the most forward-thinking technologies that can both improve efficiency and help us deliver the best guest experience. The ROOMDEX activation has been very exciting. Our guests are not only getting the chance to improve their stay, they also are being given choice and control over the process. It is a touchless experience that provides actual, new value to the guest.” Marco Burlimann, Senior Vice President of Operations and Assets, Modus Hotels.
5. Hoteliers are surprised at how quickly and well automated upselling performs.
Most digital upsell solutions still require the hotel staff to perform time consuming, manual administrative tasks. With ROOMDEX however, hoteliers are relieved of the labour time required by other upselling solutions while delivering high margin revenue and a substantial ROI – as our clients have experienced.
- “In terms of performance, we had high expectations because it was sold to us that it would perform well. And it did. Within just a few days of one of the properties going live, we had more than €5000 worth of upsells. And it’s been consistent – we haven't gone any day without any upsells. Plus, our ROI is higher than what was promised or expected. We are very happy with that.” Jens Engmalm, Distribution Director, Pandox Operations Hotel.
- “We got ROOMDEX up and live within the space of, literally, a few hours. We are getting more than I thought we were going to be getting. We weren’t quite so sure if our guests would be open to upgrade offers, but we have seen major results. It’s pretty much double what I was expecting. The return on investment is perfect. The cost and the effort for you to set up or maintain, it is minimum, absolutely minimum. It’s purely added revenue for us.” Arnold Linares, Group Revenue Distribution Manager, Zetter Hotels & Co.
6. Automated upselling is on-brand for luxury hotels
Many hoteliers in luxury properties are reluctant to introduce digital upselling as they feel it reduces the service "touch" that they feel guests come to expect. But hoteliers using automated upselling have come to realize that a service experience should not be a transactional experience with a "hidden agenda." Pushing an upsell at the front desk can appear "off-brand" for a luxury hotel. Automated upselling adds a layer of guest convenience and keeps the staff/guest relationship purely cordial and service focused.
“If you are a consumer standing at reception to check in, if you have bought your upgrade in advance, you don't feel like you've been kind of “attacked” by the front desk. “Would you like an upgrade? Would you like this? Would you like that?” And it's before you even start a conversation you are being sold something. Automated upselling technology takes that away. We want the interaction to be just that human rather than the commercial/transactional, you know, a conversation rather than a hidden agenda.” Liutauras Vaitkevicius MIH, Managing Director at The Zetter Group
Many hoteliers make assumptions about upselling because, historically, it has always been an inconsistent performer. However, new hotel automation technologies are surprising even the most jaded general manager. It’s time to check out Automated Upselling and learn something new about your hotel.
About ROOMDEX, INC
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). ROOMDEX leverages 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 100 hotels with 9,500 rooms across the U.S., U.K. and Europe.