The art of upselling: how Hyatt is using data to truly improve the guest experience

Hotels today are increasingly looking to data to drive incremental revenues but to drive real value requires commitment from the organisation and talent, says Hyatt Hotels.

For Paul Murray, vice president of revenue management, Americas at Hyatt Hotels Corporation organisational commitment requires three things: data access, data quality, and data intelligence. It also means having the ability to manage and interpret data in a way that provides value. With these key elements in place, you can devote efforts to a myriad of valuable directions, such as investment efforts, booking channel management, marketing and loyalty activities, revenue optimisation, upsell opportunities, high return directions for sales efforts, cost containment, pricing flexibility, and so on,” he says.’s Ritesh Gupta talks to Murray about preparing for and driving incremental revenue especially via upsell offers.

EFT: What do you make of efforts to establish upsell offers based on analytics?

PM: In North America, upsell offers is an area for improvement. Often there is a need for more detailed guest intelligence. Additionally, capabilities need further development so we can offer and capture upsells through all booking channels. As a result of these challenges, some of the responsibility for upsell activities has been delivered by external partners and should therefore remain as an area of focus for hotel companies

EFT: What do hotel companies need to look for while working on better upsell offerings via data management?

PM: Hotel companies have certainly made great improvements in managing data and using it to make key business decisions over the past decade. But, big data is a race that does not have a finish line. So, companies need to continue at a fast pace for the long haul.

Here is how:

1.       Start with measuring current levels of performance and tracking for incremental gains. It doesn't sound exciting, but it is a key first step that many have yet to achieve.

2.       Develop system functionality to capture guest information and capabilities to offer upsells through multiple booking channels. Technologically, I think this is a bigger hurdle than many might wish to acknowledge.

3.       Develop methods to identify guests that want to consume upsell products and find methods to offer them to the guest through the many layers of a reservation life cycle.

EFT: How is the industry currently working out upsell offers especially for direct online channel?

PM: In many instances upsell opportunities exist during a voice transactions, such as booking through a hotel or call centre or at check in. Otherwise, transactions through the brand site offer the next best opportunity for selling additional amenities or premium room types. Some of these efforts are addressed through external partners or are managed in a grass roots methods at the hotel level.

EFT: There are opportunities to enhance the guests’ stay with custom upgrades and so on. What sort of upsell offers do we see emerging?

PM: There is tremendous opportunity and upside in this area of hotel management. However, most large chains already have abilities to offer premium room accommodations, food amenities, technology purchases, among other items than can enhance the guests experience while staying at a hotel.

EFT: Making the right offer at the right time at the time of check-in irrespective of the booking channel is really important. How do you achieve this? 

PM: I really believe this is a long-term goal and that we need to continue to make progress in this direction over time. The ideal option, in my mind, is to have real-time opportunities presented to the guest that are meaningful and available through the specific channel they have chosen to make their reservation (rather than at check in).

This requires a quantity and quality of data flow that is not yet available and possibly not supported by chains as they protect valuable information about loyal guests. The alternatives then become about communicating to the guest in real-time through alternative channels once a reservation is made, which is a much more likely option in the near term.

Today, we are working on fundamentals to measure success and improve performance over time. On top of that we are continuing to devote efforts towards capturing and utilising high quality guest information so we can make personal offers that are meaningful to each person. I think we can take great cues from the airlines when it comes to guest satisfaction by providing upsell options that guests truly feel offer an exceptional stay. In some ways it is simple; if you improve your guests experience, you are likely to find success.

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