The interactive proposal: Your key to upselling event guests
February 24, 2021
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When you hear ‘upselling’, paid room upgrades are probably the first thing that comes to mind. But have you ever thought about upselling your event guests?
While upselling may be most common at the reception, there are many (often untapped) opportunities for the events department as well.
Now you might be thinking: won't that be too salesy and annoy my guests?
Not if you do it right.
You don't have to nickel and dime your guests with pushy pitches. Instead, you can use upselling to take their event experience to the next level with extra services and customization options they never even thought of asking for.
Let's look at how you can easily do that at your hotel.
What is upselling and how can your hotel benefit from it?
Let's get this out of the way first, so we're all talking about the same thing here.
Upselling means offering your guest an additional or upgraded service.
Usually, this happens at the front desk during check-in when a receptionist proposes a paid room upgrade, a breakfast add-on or an airport transfer for the departure date.
Recently, new apps have revolutionized this practice. Oaky, an automated upselling platform, lets hotels offer guests special pre-arrival deals. Other messaging systems let you send promotions to in-house guests.
How about applying a similar idea to your event sales process? For example, can you propose an upgraded F&B package, a fancier venue or an additional service?
One obvious benefit is that this gives you the chance to boost your revenue. But there's more to upselling than increasing your income. Another extremely important factor is that it allows your guests to personalize their experience by adding services they value.
So, if it works for rooms and hotel services, why not give it a go for your events?
Personalizing your guest's event experience
Today, customization is key in all areas of service. Revinate's data echoes this. They recently found that personalization plays a role for 86% of consumers. This means that to wow your guests and make the sale, more than a run-of-the-mill event experience will be necessary. This should start during the RFP process.
Traditional proposals demand lots of manual work from events teams. That leads to a lot of copying and pasting, simply so staff can stay on top of their workload. Unfortunately, that also means many proposals look alike and read like generic, boring pitches.
If you want to engage and wow your guest from the start, make each proposal unique. A simple way to do that is to include everything guests requested and propose relevant add-ons they may like.
For example, if someone is planning a big family gathering, suggest extra entertainment options for the kids. For a corporate VIP lunch, you can offer a paid upgrade to a fancier venue like your presidential suite or a privatized restaurant.
See how this property is offering their top-floor venue as a premium option
When you personalize the offer like this, your guest is in the driver's seat. They can pick and choose to create exactly the event they want with extras they may not have asked for, but love, nonetheless.
Increasing event revenue through upselling
Increased event revenue is another advantage of upselling during the RFP process. Each add-on service makes a difference to your top-line. Especially once post-Covid recovery kicks in, this will be a great way to help your property get back on its feet.
But always keep in mind that your guest's experience is what counts. Suggest only a few relevant options you genuinely think they'll like and don't be pushy about it. If you make this your priority and send creative suggestions, extra revenue will follow.
The right timing for your event upsell
You've probably been in this situation yourself: you arrive at a hotel and want to get to your room ASAP. However, instead of just giving you your key, the business-minded receptionist tries to upsell you and the check-in drags on.
Instead of making guests go through this unpleasant interaction, why not offer upsells pre-arrival, while they're preparing for their trip?
It's the same with events. You wouldn't upsell guests on the day of their function. That would cause unnecessary last-minute confusion. The planning phase is a much better time. That's when people are open to new ideas. They still have a budget for certain extras, and they want to create a great event.
Our tip here is to hint at upgrades during a call or in emails. Briefly describe them and see what your guest is most interested in. Include the ideas they're most tempted by as optional extras in your proposal.
Getting event upselling right
Upselling is a sensitive topic since you don't want your guests to feel like you're pushing them to spend.
Avoid that by putting their experience front and center. After all, your goal is to help guests organize the best event possible. If they like your upsell ideas, they'll be happy to book and pay for them.
Of course, presentation matters, too. The more appealing you can make your offers look, the better your chances at selling them.
Include all the basics and add-ons in a few clicks. Highlight the possible additions for transparency and to help your guest keep an overview.
Give guests time to review and think. A responsive proposal lets guests easily check the final event price with or without various upsells. This also avoids putting people on the spot and making them uncomfortable.
Present your upsells in an appealing way. Add beautiful photos or a video and engaging copy to make your deal attractive.
Save time on communication. Cut back on emails and calls by letting guests accept or reject your upsell right in the proposal.
Track your success. Record which offers you used as upsells and how well they did. This shows you which ones to push more and which ones you may need to tweak.
That doesn't sound too hard right? And you probably also see how upselling can be great for both your hotel and your guests.
So what are you waiting for? It's time to come up with your first few event upsell ideas. And if you'd like a hand with promoting in a fun, modern and time-saving way, you can give us a shout.