A couple enjoying an add-on experience at the Airbnb

Hotels have been “upselling” experiences to guests for years – and the vacation rental industry has caught up. This blog post will break down what exactly short term rental upsells are and how you can add them to your guest experience. Short term rental upsells will provide you with an uptick of dependable income.

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Short term rental upsells vs cross-selling

Short term rental upsells and short term rental cross-sells sound similar, but describe two different things. Cross-selling is selling an item or experience as a complement to a previously purchased product. What we’re here to talk about is upselling. Upselling is when a guest chooses to purchase a premium experience at the initial transaction. Upselling encourages a guest to choose the best version of a product.

Examples of short term rental upsells

We know upselling is creating an enhanced version of the original product. But what does that mean for you as a host? Upselling in the short-term rental industry is selling an experience – and making it a memory. Below are examples of short term rental upsells:

Additional cleanings

If you have a guest staying for more than a week or are hosting long-term rentals, offering an additional cleaning package upfront is a great way to entice guests to upsell their experience. With the rise of “workcations”, guests will enjoy the mix of living in a home – yet receiving hotel-level cleanings throughout their stay. 

Childcare

If your property caters to families, consider offering a childcare service. You can promote the opportunity for parents to enjoy a date night while you entertain the kids. Offering this experience can easily set your property apart from others – parents can plan ahead to getaway!

Concierge service

Oftentimes guests don’t want to deal with, organizing transportation, or buying tour tickets. For an extra cost, you can serve as their liaison and make their vacation as smooth as possible. This is particularly useful when working with international guests.

Birthday decorations

Decorations

If you cater toward groups, offering a decoration package for birthdays, bachelor or bachelorette parties, etc., is a great upsell. Often, folks won’t have time to decorate the property between check-in and their party arriving. When you upsell a decoration package, you save your guests time and encourage them to choose your property over another. 

Early check-in or late check-out

Early check-in or late check-out is particularly valuable to guests arriving by plane. If a guest’s flight isn’t until 5:00 PM, and check-out is normally 11:00 AM, purchasing a late check-out experience will be appealing to them. 

Grocery delivery

Offering grocery delivery is attractive to guests who are not traveling with a vehicle. Include grocery options at check-in, or arrange to pick up their selected groceries during their stay.

Champagne welcome basket

Honeymoon package

It’s important to think about who your Airbnb audience is. If you own a charming cottage for two, consider offering a honeymoon package. Honeymoon packages could include champagne upon arrival, luxury chocolates, elegant robes, and slippers, etc.

Language translation services

Are you hosting a property where English isn’t the first language? Do you cater to foreign visitors? Offering language translation services for purchasing tickets or tours is a great service to make your guest’s experience run smoothly. 

Local experience

Are you a foodie? Do you know the best craft beer spots in your city? Do you have ATVs to drive through the nearby national park? Utilize your expert knowledge of your area, and offer guests the opportunity to live like a local with you. You can also partner with local guides and earn a commission if you would prefer to outsource. 

Luggage storage

If you are unable to offer early check-in or late check-out due to cleaning schedules, consider luggage storage. Luggage storage is a great perk for guests who have an early flight and don’t want to drag their suitcase around before check-in. Plus – they’ll be grateful for the extra time to see the sites! Notes: We recommend only charging for luggage storage if you are already a superhost. If not, use luggage storage as a free service to encourage good reviews.

Luxury welcome baskets

Guests like to treat themselves on vacation. Sell the experience of arriving to a luxury welcome basket filled with wines and gourmet cheese. Offer an upsell like this to elevate the arrival experience. 

Private chef

Nothing says a romantic getaway more than a meal prepped by a private chef. Offer guests a personal meal prepared by a professional chef in the Airbnb kitchen to create a memory that lasts a lifetime. Bon Appétit!

Host giving a walking tour

Private tours

Do you have a connection to a local museum or distillery? Do you have exceptional knowledge of the city? Utilize your local expertise by offering private tours of sites of interest to your guests.

Rental car

Nobody enjoys waiting at the rental car line at the airport. Including rental car service in your package is a huge advantage. Depending on local laws, have a car waiting for your guest at the Airbnb. This will get their vacation off on the right foot – and lead to even more glowing guest reviews.

Renting sports equipment

If your property is near a beach, complete a guest's experience by renting out kayaks, canoes, or other water equipment. 

Transportation

For one reason or another, a guest may not be driving. Providing not only airport pick-up/drop-off service, but rides to local sites is a strong way to attract guests. Guests who are unfamiliar with the area may feel uncomfortable navigating on their own and be willing to pay more for secured rides.

Father and son kayaking

Tips for upselling descriptions:

The purpose of short term rental upsells is to simplify the entire vacation experience. However, you want to ensure that you’re selling a memory – not just a product. When writing the descriptions of your packages, consider who your audience is. 

Examples:

If your property caters toward groups on a lake try promoting kayak rentals like so:

“After a day of swimming, enjoy a famous Lake Michigan sunset by kayaking with your pals to get the best seat in the house.”

If your audience is primarily honeymooners, romanticize a wine package like so:

“Chilled bubbly awaits your arrival. Toast to the start of your new marriage!”

Receiving Payment

Receiving payment for short term rental upsells can be a bit tricky at first, but once you get in the rhythm and ensure you are reporting your income correctly, it will all be a breeze! 

Airbnb: Unfortunately, the Airbnb platform isn’t simple for collecting additional payments. As a host, you will need to go in and change the listing rate and have the guest approve it. Plus, the service fee will increase.

Cash: Collecting cash can become complicated for remote hosts. Guests often don’t carry cash, and the interaction can feel very transactional.

Venmo & Paypal: Venmo and Paypal are simple options if guests already have an account. 

Wire transfer: This option can be particularly expensive, and inconvenient to guests.

YourWelcome, HelloHere & Touchstay: These payment platforms easily accept money from guests and allow you to create digital guidebooks to nicely present your package options. 

So there you have it! Introducing short term rental upsellsto your rental business strategy is a great way to add some income, increase positive guest reviews, and continue growing your business. Just remember the following:

  • The difference between upselling and cross-selling
  • The numerous options for short term rental upsells
  • Sell a memory, not just a product
  • Find the right payment system for you

Go ahead and start getting creative!

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for Airbnb and Vrbo hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on both channels. Start your free trial today!

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