There’s a secret in the hotel industry that has been raking in extra income for hoteliers since it’s inception. I’m talking about upselling.

Well, I guess it’s not a huge secret, but upselling can be the difference between a profitable hotel and one that’s running in the red. Hospitality professionals know just how important it is, and spend a considerable amount of effort training staff and positioning products and services to capitalize on the upsell.

And it’s not all just about the profit. Upselling may sound too sleazy or salesy for you, but when done right, guests ultimately have a better experience. What you are really doing is providing them with additional conveniences. It is ultimately their choice to part with the extra money, and if you can provide them with something of value, it’s a win-win!

Here are some techniques you can use to make your guests happier and maximize your short-term rental profits with upselling.

Conveniences (drugstore stuff)

We’ve all been there. You’re just getting started on your big trip, but realize you left your toothbrush at home. Or you had to ditch your bottle of shampoo at the security checkpoint because you forgot about the 3.4 oz rule. There’s always something we end up leaving behind when we travel.

So why not keep a stock of some of these basics to offer to your guests? You can purchase lots of drugstore conveniences travel-sized, in bulk, and resell them to your guests at retail. You’re not gonna make a ton of money doing this, but guests will rave about the convenience of staying at your place.

Food & Beverage

It’s always a nice touch to offer some light continental breakfast options for free. For the marginal cost it will really make people happy to have something light before they leave the house for their daytime activities.

Consider keeping some higher-end food and beverage options in stock, and let the guests know that these are for their convenience, and they will be charged only for what they consume. This is something we are all familiar with in a hotel setting.

Local Art (souvenirs)

I can’t speak for everyone, but when I travel I always like to take a piece of original artwork back with me as a souvenir. This can be a painting, sculpture, hand made blanket, or anything that reminds me of my time abroad really.

One of the things we do is work with local artists to feature some of their work at our listings (hello free wall decorations!). Each piece has a value, and the guests are encouraged to contact us if something catches their eye as a souvenir.

Tours & Activities

You would be surprised how many travelers come to us without a specific plan. Personally this is my favorite way to travel, and spontaneity is what makes my travel experiences truly memorable.

Whether you work with a local tour operator or other service provider, or you have the time to organize your own tours and activities, guests looking for something to do will most certainly be interested.

Logistics of Upselling

If you decide to go down the road of upselling at your short term rental property, you’ll be faced with the challenge of keeping track of it all. Between re-stocking inventory and requesting payment from guests, it can be a bit of a hassle.

Airbnb does allow you to charge for extra amenities right in the listing, but for smaller things, this can be a nuisance. Luckily we found a tool that is built exactly for this – called HonorTab (no affiliation, just an awesome tool that we use).

Upselling doesn’t have to be some sneaky way of nickle and diming your guests. When done right, it really is a win-win for both parties. The key is offering some value included in your base offering (don’t start charging for everything), and offer additional conveniences for a fair price. Your guests will have the ultimate choice to purchase anything, so why not make it available to them!