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Front Desk Upsell Training Can Increase RevPAR
Of course one opportunity to upsell is when callers contact the reservations department or call center. Yet with so many guests booking online these days, the front desk registration experience might present the best opportunity of all.
Another great advantage of upselling at registration is that it's possible to be very specific about what is offered by particular rooms or suites, since the front desk knows exact inventory.
Front Desk Upselling Training Techniques
Structuring Rates So That An Upgrade Is A Reasonable Value
Most properties market a range of rates to various market segments. However, groups, high-volume accounts, or guests participating in special discount programs, are only offered their special rate for the least expensive room type. Upgraded accommodations, if offered at all, are at rack rates. The end result is that the additional cost to upgrade does not justify the value received.
For example, if the rack rates are $100 for a regular room and $135 for deluxe, a $35 difference seems reasonable. However, when a special corporate rate of $79 is offered for the regular room only, the upgrade fee, which is now $56, is effectively out of reach.
To work around this, many properties are implementing a "flat rate" for upgrading. In this scenario, the guest always has the option of upgrading for the same fee, regardless of what rate they qualify for. So whether it's a corporate, group, government, or promotional rate, the investment for the upgrade is reasonable. Best of all, additional revenue is created from rooms which might have been given away at lower rates anyway!
Recognition And Incentive Programs.
A key ingredient in any upsell program is to measure the results and to implement a recognition and/or incentive program. Front desk upsell incentives are especially easy to justify, as the upsell can be documented. (Associates simply do a print-out to document the change.)
Most incentives reward the individual associate for each upsell, with either a predetermined cash amount, with points that can be redeemed for prizes, or perhaps with days off with pay. (Cash incentives should be paid separately to help differentiate rewards from base salary.) Alternatives are team incentives where everyone who works during a given time period (i.e. shift, day, or week) is rewarded equally for upsells which occurred during that period.
Regardless of which incentive program is selected, it is important to post the results in a prominent area on a regular basis. This helps spark the competitive spirit, and reminds all associates of the potential to achieve the same rewards being earned by the top performers.
By focusing your front desk team's attention on upselling, by providing training tips for doing so, and by measuring and rewarding the results, your property can turn-on the faucet to this extra revenue stream. Along the way, your guests will enjoy utilizing the extra space, upgraded room features, and special services they might not have otherwise considered.
Doug Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Training Network, has been a fixture on the hospitality and tourism industry conference circuit since 1989, having presented over 1,000 conference keynote sessions, educational break-out seminars, or customized, on-premise training workshops for diverse audiences representing every segment of the lodging industry.
His articles have also appeared worldwide in more than 17 prominent international publications including the HSMAI Marketing Review, eHotelier, 4hoteliers, Hotel News Resource, Hotel Online, Human Assets - Dubai and Hong Kong, Hsyndicate worldwide, BAHA Times - U.K., Hospitality - Maldives, and the Hotel Expert Magazine Hong Kong. Since 1996 Doug has been a regular contributor to the lodging industry's number one rated publication, www.hotelmotel.com , where he has been a regular monthly columnist since 2001. Visit www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com for details or e-mail him at: email@example.com.
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