How to supercharge your in-venue upsells

Upselling is a profit driver in the world of hospitality and placement is often key to its success. How can venues offer upsells at low cost? Technology.

Upselling is a key profit driver in the world of hospitality. The word itself can evoke thoughts of pushy pop-up adverts or salespeople trying to sell you something that you never wanted in the first place. In addition, the practice itself, particularly within the hospitality industry, has not changed in decades. The success of an upsell relies heavily on the ability of the employee to essentially freestyle an upsell or create a more targeted upsell based upon data its employer has on previous engagements with the customer.

However, it’s all set to change. Technology can initiate and even anticipate upsell opportunities and use them to seamlessly complement your customer’s experience. A better customer experience and increased revenues – what’s not to love?

Service: Human v Mobile

In hospitality, traditionally, upsells and cross-sells reach the guest through the table-serving waiter in the form of a dish recommendation or a favourable food and wine pairing. The best servers have finely tuned their skill sets through years of experience within the industry, learning how to host, how to read the guest and discover their preferences and requirements.

Now, unless you run a Michelin-starred establishment, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to fill your staff roster with such experienced personnel – certainly when you consider the cost implications of such a skilled and knowledgeable service team. So how can businesses provide the same level of detailed service, but at a lower cost? Technology.

A recent report from BRP and Windstream Enterprise found that Millennials and Gen Z consumers demand digital technology throughout the entire dining journey. Not only do they expect a frictionless dining experience, 60% of guests surveyed felt that it was extremely important for them to receive digital discounts and promotions.

As the hospitality industry joins the technological revolution and starts to ‘digitise’ its services, there is an opportunity for artificial intelligence to uncover powerful insights into the consumption of hospitality products and services. These insights, in turn, allow businesses to seamlessly offer the most appropriate upsell, extra or add-on, to enhance the individual experience of any particular guest, and drive incremental spend.

To allow venues to capitalise on this AI-powered opportunity, wi-Q Technologies have partnered with Cambridge-based Fetch.AI. The full story is available here on our blog, but in essence, the partnership will enable AI-powered upsells and cross-sells through our integrated, mobile ordering and experience platforms, wi-Q and Mi-Room.

Utilising Impulsive Consumption

Tactical placement of an upsell can prove key to its success. Businesses often think it wise to push add-ons during the initial booking stage, yet findings from Travel Tripper have shown that only 3% of consumers purchase add-ons at this early stage. In fact, too much too early can overwhelm customers and lead them to abandon even their initial booking.

Shopify realised that upsells offered before a purchase is complete, can sometimes distract or annoy a customer and there is now an option to offer post-checkout upsells. Not only does this harness the power of impulse buying, but also eliminates the risk of their attention be diverted away from their original purchase.

Analysing consumer spending behaviour across the travel industry, leading global commerce marketing company, Criteo, have published statistics charting the increase of bookings and purchases made in the lead up to an event itself. When booking ‘holiday packages’, 13% are booked one to four weeks in advance, 16% booked within the week before, rising to the 35% being booked in the final 24 hours. These figures increase again when hotels are booked. 30% booked one to four weeks prior, 38% in the week before, and almost doubling, in the last 24 hours, to a whopping 72%, confirming the impulsive spending nature of consumers worldwide.

Share of mobile booking by time to departure (Criteo)

Coupled with the fact that 89% of last-minute bookings being made through mobile devices (48% via Mobile Web), the speed, convenience and accessibility afforded by a mobile device does not only enable but encourage spontaneous consumer spending.

Focus on apps (Criteo)

Upselling Tips

  • Product add-ons not only allow customers to personalise their meal but push up average order value. This works particularly well for premium pizza or burger toppings such as avocado.
  • Combining mains items with sides/desserts creating a unique price offer for the combination widen the eyes of the value-seeking customer. After all, everyone loves a deal.
  • Enlisting the services of a professional photographer is a no-brainer. According to Menu Engineer, Gregg Rapp, high-quality, attractive images of your food items can increase sales by 30%.
  • Offering ‘limited time only’ discounts and promotions create a sense of urgency for the customer – no one wants to feel as though they have missed out.

The latter and checkout stages are the most common upsell points for good reason. Customers are at this point in ‘buying mode’ and ready to spend.


wi-Q Technologies’ mobile ordering and experience solutions, wi-Q for F&B and Mi-Room for hotel guest services, offer seamless upselling and cross-selling capabilities – with AI-powered upselling and cross-selling in development. With a fully brand customisable user interface, our cloud-based applications make ordering and paying hassle-free for customers and staff. Additional features include advanced dietary and allergen filtering, daily specials, multiple payment options and bill-splitting.

For more information or to request a demo please email

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