In sales, upselling is one of the most suitable means of increasing turnover. In our lexicon article, we explain what is behind it and what is the difference to cross-selling.

Definition – in general and in the hotel industry

In sales, upselling refers to the effort of a supplier to offer the customer a higher-quality product or service instead of a low-priced variant in the next step.

An upselling example for our industry is to sell a deluxe room/suite to a guest who is already interested in or has already booked a standard room (room upgrade).

Upselling vs. cross-selling

Cross-selling and upselling are often used as synonyms or mentioned in one term. However, this is not entirely correct. What they have in common: We use them to generate more sales and earnings with the existing number of customers. In cross-selling, however, the existing customer is sold another additional product to the one he is interested in or wants to buy. A classic example: the customer buys a barbecue and the salesperson sells him a barbecue glove and barbecue utensils to go with it.

In terms of the hotel, cross-selling means that we sell, for example, a table in the restaurant or a spa treatment to the arriving guest.

However, the two sales strategies are not mutually exclusive. We shoud instead use them in a complementary way.

happyhotel upselling explained

Upselling – reasons for it

There is no sales guide or training book without a chapter on upselling.

There are many reasons for this:

  • It is easier to convince a customer who has already opted for “our” product to buy a higher-quality (and thus higher-priced) product from us than to win a new customer.
  • Likewise, it is cheaper to sell a product to a prospective or existing customer than to a completely new customer. This is because you first have to acquire this customer for your own hotel/product with suitable, often expensive measures.
  • It is often the case that higher-priced products (in our case rooms) have a higher margin. With this, we can increase turnover and profit by selling to this particular customer.
  • In most cases, upselling brings higher customer satisfaction and thus loyalty to our company. This is because the enjoyment of a higher-quality product such as a deluxe room is usually greater than that of a “normal” room.

In summary, we can say that with up- (and cross-) selling we can achieve more turnover without additional costs for acquisition. Often this goes hand in hand with the fact that our guests are also more satisfied.

upselling adds value happyhotel

Is there also criticism?

As with most sales strategies and sales opportunities, upselling is subject to criticism. On a general level, this says that the seller is trying to “push sell” something on the buyer and that the customer feels pressured. And possibly goes to the competition.

To counteract this, it is important that the customer’s needs are in the focus of upselling. And the the salesperson needs to show a lot of intuition.

Only then can upselling become an added value for both parties.