In these tough economic times, if the number of guests is in decline, you need to sell more product per guest, and that means mastering the upsell.
Traditionally, upselling has meant simply marketing more profitable services or products. But another way to look at it is to expose your customers to other options they may never have considered. Here are some hints on how and what to upsell that apply to hospitality:
Promoting High Profits with Care. Keep in mind that these items must be perceived as high value by your customers. If they are not, you risk losing customer loyalty and trust. Specialty food items, wines and other "exclusive" packages must appeal to your customer and they must be able to appreciate the added value of these upgrades.
Knowing the Product. You and your staff must understand the product you're upselling. Services and products must be clearly delineated. And make sure your staff experiences the upsell products and services first hand. It's easier to sell something if you have intimate knowledge of its benefits. Your staff will be more enthused and passionate, and that's what it takes to take a sale over the edge.
Zeroing in on Opportunities. Identify the circumstances where an upsell would be ideal. Know when room upgrades and special packages would be best received by guests. In the restaurant, seize the opportunity to suggest starters, accompaniments, side orders, deserts, desert wine, specialist coffees, after dinner drinks, etc. Here, timing can be a critical factor. Know when it's the right time to suggest an upsell in food, drinks or desserts.
Overcoming Objections. Teach your staff to know the difference between a guest opting out and a body language signal that suggests they may want more information. Here, staff must be able to anticipate needs based on friendly conversation. Customers often "telegraph" what they want before they ask for it. Initial objections may simply be ways for customers to seek more information or be sold on the benefits of an upsell.
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.