When travellers book a short-term rental, they want more than just a place to stay. By upselling services and experiences, property managers can increase vacation rental profits and make it easier for guests to plan the perfect trip.
Giving guests options to upgrade and enhance their stay is an excellent way to earn more money from each booking, without increasing your rates.
In this article, we’ll talk about all the benefits of upselling, some of the different services and experiences you can provide for guests, and the best tech tools for upselling.
What’s the difference between upselling and cross-selling?
Upselling is when you give clients a chance to upgrade their existing services, whereas cross-selling is when you sell them a complimentary service.
We’ll look at examples of these two techniques because both upselling and cross-selling provide an opportunity to make extra profit from your short-term rentals.
Why should vacation rental property managers use upselling techniques?
There are many benefits to upselling for vacation rentals.
For starters, it adds a service element to your business. Short-term rentals don’t have a concierge, like a hotel, but upselling means you can still provide an upgraded, luxury service from a distance.
Then, of course, it can boost your profit margins. You can’t always control how many bookings you get, and raising your rates can lead to lower occupancy. With upselling, you can increase rental profits from the same amount of bookings. Plus, that profit is yours to keep, as you won’t have to share the commission with OTAs.
Your guests will also have a better experience. They won’t have to worry about organising lots of different aspects of the trip on their own. Instead they can book additional experiences and services from you.
Offering more than just accommodation means you’ll provide a seamless booking process and memorable overall experience. This, in turn, will lead to positive reviews and more future bookings.
8 ways to increase vacation rental profits with upselling
If you’re looking for ways to upsell and cross-sell to your guests, we’ve put together a list of ideas to inspire you.
The type of services and experiences you provide will depend on the location of your property and what kind of guests typically book your rental, so bear this in mind when thinking about your own ideas.
Early check-ins and late check-outs
It’s frustrating for guests when they arrive on an early flight, but can’t enter their accommodation until the afternoon.
The same goes for when their return flights are in the evening. If they have to leave the property by noon, they’ll spend the last hours of their trip wandering around with their suitcases.
To avoid this inconvenience, many guests would happily pay extra to check-in early, or relax for a few more hours in the property before a late flight.
Early check-ins and late check-outs are an easy way to make the start and end of your guests’ trip more pleasant, so it’s a great idea to offer this as an upsell.
For more ideas on how to improve the check-in process, check out our article on vacation rental check-in apps.
During busy times when you have back-to-back bookings, you may not be able to offer early check-in or late check-out.
However, you can improve your guests’ experience by upselling luggage storage instead.
That way, even if they can’t enter the property, they’ll have a safe place to store their luggage while they explore the local area.
You can either let them leave their luggage at your property or partner up with a storage company to give them a place to drop off their luggage.
Renting sports equipment or bikes
Your guests are probably looking for ways to make their trip more exciting, so you can give them the option to rent sports equipment or bicycles from you.
Guests will love this because it saves them from hunting around in the local area for a trustworthy place to hire equipment.
Depending on what’s popular nearby, you could provide equipment for a range of activities, including watersports, skiing, snorkeling, volleyball, hiking, and more.
The possibilities are endless, and if you don’t have the equipment at the property, you can collaborate with a local hire shop and take a commission on the rentals.
Your guests arrive at the airport, possibly in a foreign country where they don’t speak the language. To get to their accommodation, they’re faced with a stressful choice between overpriced taxis or an unfamiliar public transport system.
Many travellers would gladly simplify this experience by paying for transport in advance. You can arrange for a host or agent to pick them up, or partner with a local transportation service to offer fair rates and take a cut of the profit.
One of the reasons people choose vacation rentals over hotels is that they crave the authentic experience of living like a local in their chosen destination.
If you upsell unique local experiences, you can give guests a more enjoyable and memorable time.
Think about some of the most popular attractions in your area. You can partner up with local vendors to upsell anything from wine-tasting at a nearby vineyard, concert tickets, cultural experiences, boat trips, guided tours, and more.
Souvenirs and merchandise
Guests often want to bring souvenirs and gifts back home, but may not have time to spend shopping around for the perfect items.
Giving them a chance to order authentic souvenirs or gifts can make your guests’ life easier. You can order popular items in bulk, and sell them to customers for a reasonable price.
Upgraded welcome package
You may offer a welcome package to guests upon arrival as standard.
However, why not give them a chance to upgrade their welcome package? This can make the trip even more special.
Tailor these packages depending on your location, and cater to the different types of guests you often receive. For example, you could offer a box of local wines, cheese, and other produce. Or, you might offer occasion-themed packages designed for bachelorette weekends or romantic getaways and honeymoons.
You could even provide fresh groceries and essentials to stock the fridge and save your guests a trip to the supermarket.
Mid-stay cleaning can be an excellent upgrade, especially for guests who have booked a longer stay.
For an extra fee, guests can relax and enjoy their trip while someone else takes care of household cleaning.
This can also make the task of getting the property cleaned between bookings a little easier.
5 vacation rental tech tools to help you upsell efficiently
Tools can make upselling and cross-selling for vacation rentals so much easier.
Let’s have a look at some of the best vacation rental tech tools for upselling.
Hausmart is a micro-retail solution that allows short-term rental hosts to quickly and easily set up an online store.
Through the app, you can create an instant, self-service online shop where you can sell a selection of products tailored to your property.
You can offer local gifts, packages for events, or anything else that guests might want to purchase during their stay.
Price: HausMart charges 4% for all transactions sold through the platform.
With Spinmor, you can sell food, drink and merchandise in-property, without needing to be present when the transaction takes place.
You can set up a corner to create an attractive display of tempting products, and guests can pay for what they want by scanning a QR code.
This can be a great way to welcome guests by offering them a chance to try speciality snacks, locally brewed beer or wines.
Price: Fees are based on total monthly sales.
The HelloHere app provides your guests with a personalised digital welcome book that can be customised with your branding. You can offer guests a range of upselling services through the app, including affiliate offers from local vendors that you can earn commission on.
HelloHere can also take care of guest communication, providing real time chat and automated messaging.
Price: €5.00 a month per property, if you pay annually.
Wishbox has a wide range of services for short-term rental property managers, like online check-in, a web-based, customisable app, communication management and upselling.
You can offer upgrades and services from third party suppliers, and process payments all through the app.
Guests can purchase a range of extras, from luggage storage and welcome packs, to transportation and local activities.
Price: Calculated on the number of rentals and the amount of goods and services sold.
With an in-property tablet, YourWelcome gives you the opportunity to interact with guests during their stay. You can upsell a variety of services, as well as providing instructional guides which help guests answer common queries and reduce call-outs.
Your guests have a simple way to purchase whatever they need. You can incorporate your branding, leave a personalised welcome video and even encourage future direct bookings by offering discounts.
Price: From $15 a month, quotes available on request.
Are you ready to increase your rental profits through upselling?
New technologies give property managers a variety of ways to increase vacation rentals profits.
With upselling and cross-selling, you can make more money from every booking and improve your guests’ experience at the same time.
Become part of the VRTECH community if you want to keep up with all the exciting tech innovations in the vacation rental industry.