Upsell like a boss: how to use upsells to maximize rental property profits

Aktualizacja: 23 kwi 2019

One of the easiest ways to maximize the profits of your vacation rental property is by utilizing upsells to boost both guest experience and the revenue.


It seems that upselling of extra services has become a new trend in vacation rental industry. While hotels have discovered the magic of upgrades and upselling some time ago, for vacation rentals, upselling is still a pretty fresh concept. Many hosts have recently realized that in this competitive and increasingly regulated landscape, selling of additional services may also increasingly improve their revenue.


Studies by Kabu Khadka and Soniya Maharjan from Centria University of Applied Sciences revealed that the quality of the services and extended offer have big impact on increasing customer satisfaction.


Many hotels have also started using sophisticated software systems to design custom packages to make each guest spend more.


But you don’t need an expensive software solution for this – there are post-booking guest experience apps that allow you to offer additional services to your guests from just $1,5 per month!


Let’s have a look at most popular upsells you can use, why charging more can lead to happier guests, and just how much more you can make.


Tours and local attractions

This is one upsell that’s easy to pull off seeing as you have something that your guests don’t: local knowledge.


You likely know the area like the back of your hand — maybe you even grew up in it. Why not make use of this knowledge and offer trips from local tour operators for a commission?


This way, you will not only earn some extra money, but also increase the odds of getting a good review seeing as you’ve established a more personal relationship with your guests.


Hiring a local tour guide to show your guests around for you is another approach you can take. Even if it might reduce your profit margin slightly, you’ll at least save time and effort of handling it yourself.


The best way to nudge your guests towards paying for a tour is to provide curated recommendations. And if you wonder how to share such goodies with your guests, check how HelloHere can make your guests happy (you can read more on guest experience here). Once your guests see what you offer in the area, they’ll be more than happy to book activities with you.


Airport pickup

Let’s face it, airport taxis are the absolute worst. They’re careless with your luggage, overcharge you, and have the nerve to ask for a tip at the end of your ride.


Most guests are all too familiar with the horror one could endure by taking a cab from the airport. You should leverage this fear to your advantage by offering airport pickups as an upsell.


Make it easy and convenient for your guests and offer it through your guest experience app.


It might not seem like a lot, but an extra $50 for every guest picked up will add up quickly. Even if you only have 10 guests in a given month, that’s still an additional $500 brought in upsells through airport pickups.


You can adjust the fee based on the distance from your property to the airport along with local taxi rates.


Of course, no one has the time to pick up guests themselves so you could strike a deal with a local transfer company to handle it for you.


Chauffeuring

Why stop the driving upsell at the airport? If you know any Uber or taxi, you could extend their skill set to your property leasing business and have them offer rides to your guests as well.


You could have the driver charge based on distance, give an hourly rate, or even drive them around during the full duration of their trip for a one-time fee. Just do the math to ensure that there’s a healthy profit leftover even after you cover gas costs and the driver’s cut.


Grocery delivery

When people book a short-term rental property, they’re most likely on vacation and probably the last thing they want is to start vacation with going grocery shopping.


That being said, eating at restaurants every night isn’t exactly cost-effective. You could offer to send them groceries as an upsell to the vacation home booking— in exchange for a delivery fee, of course.


There are different ways to provide this service. You can offer a welcome basket full of local produce with traditional products. The guests would love to try freshly picked up oranges and grapes or homemade pasta ragu or locally manufactured chorrizo, fresh baguette, local DOP wine, whiskey from a family distillery or... I could go on like this but I'm too hungry to imagine all those wonderful tastes.


If you don't have such options, you can use a simpler service. Again, you don’t need to provide this service to your guests yourself: There are many grocery apps that let you order groceries for your guests such as Tesco Online Shopping, Instacart or Amazon Prime Now.


Housekeeping


The one thing that tourists hate more than buying groceries is wasting their vacation time cleaning the vacation rental property during their stay or before checkout.


That being the case, it would be wise to offer a housekeeping service or cleaning as an upsell to your guests. This will not only increase your profit but also keep your property in good condition.


You could set a fixed rate for every cleaning or charge them on a weekly basis where the housekeepers visit the property two or three times in any given week.


Be sure to factor in the cleaner cost when setting your rates to ensure that your profit margin is worthwhile.


Laundry

It’s the age-old conundrum that travelers face: no one wants to spend their vacation dealing with laundry, but walking around in dirty clothes isn’t ideal either. Don’t even get us started on the risk of forgetting your clothes in a foreign laundromat.


Hence, helping your guests with their laundry is another great upsell idea you could include in the guest app. You could charge your guests per piece or based on weight.


The easiest way to handle pickup and delivery is by partnering up with a local laundromat. Their staff could pick up the loads and drop them off to your vacation rental property directly when they’re done. Again, you should factor in whatever delivery fees the laundromat charges when setting the upsell rate.


Souvenirs or local crafts

Selling local arts & crafts or souvenirs like t-shirts and mugs with the name of the area is another great upsell that can maximize your rental property profit margins and improve your guests’ experience.


You could easily sell local artisanal objects designed by local artists or order souvenirs in bulk from local manufacturers. Tourists want to capture the memories of their trip, and they’ll happily pay a premium to do so — and since this upsell will help them save time on looking for gifts for their family back home, it will improve their guest experience too.


Bike rental and renting sports equipment

If your property is in a traffic-heavy area then you could consider renting a bike out to your guests as another profitable upsell. Not only will this save them from traffic jams — which could affect your property’s location rating — but it will also increase your revenue without much effort needed on your part. But hey, if your property is located in a vast rural area, you can rent a bike to your guests for relaxing bike tours.


You could leave the bike at the property, secured by a combination lock. Once they confirm they’d like to rent a bike, you can send them the code in the push notification or on chat to unlock the bike.


Using push notification such as in HelloHere (see how you can use push notifications to improve communication with your guests here!), you could instantly advertise the bike rental option as soon as they arrive at your rental property.


If your property is located in a seaside or mountain resort, you can also rent other sports equipment to your guests: skis, kayaks or surfing boards – the sky is the limit!


Extended check-out times

Offering extended check-out times to your guest is another great upsell that will both boost your guests’ experience and increase your vacation property rental revenue. Your guests might not seem all too interested at first, but after having a few drinks and seeing that the sun is about to come up, they will be more inclined to pay extra for a late check-out. You can easily offer this option to your guests 24/7 via your guest experience app.


You could offer a sunset checkout time rather than a noon checkout time and charge them extra.


This would normally be difficult with other booking apps, but due to the fact that Hello Here helps you manage the guest-host communication for all your properties, keeping track of extended check-out times won’t be an issue.


How do upsells improve guest experience?


Apart from providing added value in extra services and perks that your guest may need once they have arrived at your vacation property (even if they thought they wouldn’t at the time of booking their vacation home!) – upsells have a general positive impact on overall guest experience.


An interesting experiment carried out by a team led by David Just at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab has shown that the higher price of food results in its perception as better.


This means that upselling will not only increase your revenue but also improve upon the guest experience — leading to better reviews.


Wondering why guest experience matters so much? Check out how we do it with HelloHere in our previous article!


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