July 8, 2022

Attribute-based selling in your hotel’s upsell strategy

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It's more than likely a fact that you already know or have experienced attribute-based selling (ABS), or attribute-based upselling (ABU) at some stage, considering the airline industry has been doing this for years. Allowing guests to personalize their travel experience by selecting add-ons such as seats with extra legroom, meal options, priority boarding and lounge access passes.

In this article we will outline what attribute-based upselling really is, why you should consider adopting this approach - highlighting key benefits, and how it can be implemented in your hotel upsell strategy.

What is attribute-based selling?

ABS in theory gives customers a way to purchase products in a way that better matches their individual desires, with the benefit of driving more revenue for the seller. A simple example would be ordering a pizza with the toppings you like. 

When it comes to hotels and their array of assets, the definition of ABS can become blurred. In its purest form, ABS is about room features that are directly attached to the room. So, elements such as size (square footage), layout and bedding configuration, specific views, features such as a balcony, high ceilings, a fireplace, or even the position of the room relative to the distance of the elevator, restaurant or gym facilities – these are attributes that are completely fixed and attached to a hotel room.

On the other hand, items such as a late check-out, early check-in, meals: breakfasts or dinners, champagne, a massage or spa treatments are products and services that can be pre-sold and added to the reservation, they are not a direct attribute of the room. In the same notion, room amenities that are “moveable”, such as the minibar, tv with cable, and even the espresso machines, can also be included as part of an overall attribute-based shopping experience.

Hotel Attribution Based Shopping
Some recommended upsell ABS items from our upsell gallery

According to hospitality leaders ABS is the future of hotel distribution and its attached benefits are becoming more of a reality for many travelers with the growing adoption by many hoteliers. However others are still a bit reluctant to embrace it, citing that implementing ABS isn’t all that easy. There are several commercial and operational challenges that create barriers to getting started with attribute-based selling. The good news is, that you can easily transfer the principles of ABS to upselling

Hotel Attribution Based Shopping
Special Report | June, 2022 - U.S. Traveler Sentiments On Attribute-Based Shopping by stayntouch

The why: benefits of attribute-based selling in upselling:

One of the most outstanding benefits to attribute-based selling in upselling, is the possibility to upsell each room attribute separately or bundle them in specific formats to create completely unique and personalized experiences for guests. By contrast to the traditional method of offering rooms by room type, a hotelier now has the ability to decouple their inventory and allow guests to pick only the features they value, completely skirting the false-choice enigma and significantly increasing customer satisfaction.

Aside from better accommodating and aligning with customer needs and expectations, attribute-based selling is also about optimizing the management of inventory in a hotel to maximize value. Any revenue manager worth their salt will attest to price yielding and stand by the notion that a hotel that does not incorporate yielding of room prices leaves money on the table.

Special Report | June, 2022 - U.S. Traveler Sentiments On Attribute-Based Shopping by stayntouch

The same rings true for amenities and the importance of capturing the advantages of changing demands by leveraging the value of amenities within your rooms, which may not have been monetized and used but are already being occupied by guests. As a hotelier your mind might already be alluding the thought of how many attributes have been diluted because they have not been managed, or you may even be justifying the thought of not having implemented these methodologies due to the supposed challenges, but we would argue that with the right technology, attributes can be automatically and dynamically priced based on demand in real time, it is possible for a standard room rate to rise to that of a higher room type. 

ABS has the real potential to increase your overall hotel revenue and with UpsellGuru you will be able to realize that potential without much input.

How to implement attribute based selling in your hotel upsell strategy

With the understanding that travelers expect more personalisation today and the difficulties they face when finding exactly what they want via hotel websites or OTAs, some hotels try to incorporate a wider range but tend to overwhelm their guests with too many options on their site leading to abandoned bookings. Remember the last time you tried to book the perfect room, but you clicked away because it was just too complicated?

Introducing pre-arrival upselling solves that problem, and even more so when done with the help of an upselling platform, simplifying the guest journey by allowing them to start by booking the basic category via traditional channels such as your site or an OTA. 

In the next step, the magic of pre-arrival upselling kicks into gear by communicating the benefits of different available room types and extras and providing a simple post-booking but pre-arrival opportunity for guests to personalize their booking by upgrading rooms or adding extra services.

Another challenge with attribute pricing of a bedroom type is the distribution impact on 'sell-through'. Sell-through is the main differentiator with airlines as they only ever sell 1 seat for 1 flight. We sell multiple nights which can leave gaps in hotel inventory and reduce your visibility online even if some rooms are still available but not for consecutive night searches.

Using a pre-arrival upselling system with the ability to facilitate offers of a non-fixed attribute nature overcomes this issue and UpsellGuru’s pre-arrival software does just that, making adoption easy.

Why do 1000+ hotels around the globe choose UpsellGuru?

UpsellGuru’s proprietary hotel upselling software automates, simplifies and monetizes the hotel room upgrade process in the most exciting way, by putting the power of choice in the guest's hands with an added level of gamification with bidding - letting your guests feel like they are winning before they even arrive. 

UpsellGuru uses hotel reservation, guest data and its powerful persona and price algorithms which encompass realtime city demand, room availability to deliver segmented and personalized offers, significantly enhancing the guest experience. The platform's integration capabilities automate the entire process alleviating hoteliers of the labor time required by other upselling solutions while delivering an almost immediate ROI. Realizing a maximum revenue potential is just a demo away.

Get in touch or book a demo and experience the magic of UpsellGuru today:

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