Hotels can apply upselling at four main moments in the guest journey: when the guest books, pre-stay, during check-in and during the guest’s stay. Offering extras via the hotel website’s booking engine is an approach many hoteliers are comfortable with, even though it slows the booking process and lowers conversion rates. Instead of that, let’s focus on how pre-stay upselling works and why it should be applied systematically to increase revenue.

Front-Desk and Pre-Stay Upselling go Hand in Hand

A frequent question, for example, is whether pre-arrival upselling and front-desk upselling can coexist without making it harder for receptionists to make good deals.

To find the answer, imagine the following situation hoteliers are very familiar with: a busy city hotel on Friday at 2 pm. Guests are arriving, a long queue has formed at the front desk and the team is overwhelmed. Will receptionists are able to upsell rooms and services, or will they have to rush through check-ins quickly, leaving money on the table? And is check-in really the best time to upsell?

It’s also important to note that not all front office staff have the same level of skill and desire to upsell hotel rooms and ancillary services. This means some employees will do better than others and the level of upsell revenue depends strongly on who is on duty.

Pre-stay upselling is a solution to both issues since it can help your front desk team and ensure better results from upselling.

The Advantages of Automating Your Pre-Stay Upselling Process

Today, you can rely on the next generation of upselling solutions which use technology to personalise and automate the sale of ancillary services and upgrades. This democratises your sales on existing reservations and drives more revenue regardless of your team’s skills and how busy they are.

Despite this technology helping to target more guests and making front desk operations smoother, many hotels are worried pre-arrival upselling will limit the opportunities they have to pitch guests at the front desk. Especially for staff who receive a commission, this is a valid concern. However, once the team learns how to use an upselling program’s guest data to make additional sales, these worries can usually be dispelled.

Example of The Pre-Stay Upselling Process

Let’s look at an example: a guest who booked an entry category room pays for an upgrade to a superior room but it’s unlikely that he will further upsell to a deluxe room or a suite. Instead, this guest might go for a bottle of wine in the room upon arrival or opt for another offer he arrives pre-arrival.

What do you think: is the hotel’s upsell mission accomplished now? Not yet! Now the receptionists can upsell and cross-sell more to this guest. For instance, they can offer a superior room with a nicer view or, since the guest appears to like wine, a wine pairing with dinner or a drink card for the stay could be a good fit.

There are upsell apps available that make the process easier, such as Oaky. The App will send you a daily pre-arrival report at 11 pm. It shows the front desk staff who opted for an upsell and what they are interested in. Now the receptionists can pitch related services based on what they know about the guest’s wants and needs.

To view the table below on mobile, please turn your mobile sideways for landscape view.

Pre Arrival Report

Guest Reservation Number Email Deal
Speedy Gonzalez X1900EF132 [email protected] Romantic Package – surprise your partner!
Bugs Bunny Y1811AG032 [email protected] Bottle of Prosecco in the room
Daffy Duck X2109AB222 [email protected] Free Pizza to Save the Planet


A common heard concern of hotel staff is that they would lose their upselling commissions once they start using an pre-upselling program. From experience, a successful strategy to tackle this concern is that the management give incentives based on performance of the upselling program. This encourages the staff to quickly handle incoming requests, better manage their inventory and take full advantage of the tool’s capabilities.

Free Report: Hospitality Upsell Market Report Per Region

Upselling drives additional profit from existing customers and should be part of every hotel marketing and sales strategy these days. And for a good reason; it increases your bottom line results.

Within the "Hospitality Upsell Market Report Per Region", you discover upsell results of fellow hoteliers and learn about the best-converting upsell deals per market. Click here to download the free report "Hospitality Upsell Market Report Per Region".

To conclude, front-desk and pre-stay upselling can coexist. Pre-stay upselling needs to be a team effort, just like every other new policy or program a hotel implements. That way, all staff will take ownership of new upsell requests and bring valuable suggestions when you are coming up with new offers to experiment with.

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