The question of externalizing upselling

As asset managers for properties owned by banks, investment funds or family offices, we always look for all available tools in each local market to maximize the GOP of a property. On the revenue side, front-desk upselling training is a classic.

It is easy to understand why upselling experts have created a successful business by providing training services to mid-tier hotel chains, independent properties or top-tier franchised properties. However, from the point of view of a hotel-asset manager, we always struggle to explain to property owners why the largest top-10 hotel brands in the world would require external training support for upselling in properties they are managing directly with their own teams and staff-training resources. As asset managers, we only have direct visibility on what happens at property level. Does this mean there is a need for upselling training at call-center level as well? I hope not.

There always will be a justification for value creation, even by smart consultants out there who will be able to charge you for telling you the time by borrowing your own watch, but this can never become the basis for not internalizing such a lucrative and critical part of the sales process when you manage several hundred thousand rooms globally on behalf of third-party owners. Upselling goes straight to your property owner’s bottom line and most of the time is a win-win proposition.

The logic of nimble organizations founded by clever salespeople advising larger organizations on creative sales techniques is common in other industries as well. But what message are the largest established hotel groups conveying to property owners about their own revenue-generating capabilities? Aren’t these hotel companies’ branding engines at point of sale and their multichannel sales and marketing platforms what justify the significant management fees they charge owners?

From an owner’s perspective, I think it would make sense for this know-how to be part of the value proposition that a large hotel brand offers off the shelf. For hotel brands, it is difficult to justify leaving this value on the table to the discretion of asset managers.