Case Study

Upsells through guidebooks and elevating the guest experience at scale

How a vacation rental management company upsells products and services to increase the guest experience, and get more repeat business.

Jacky Fernandes is the Operations and Marketing Manager at Intiholidays, a full-service vacation rental management company located in Portugal’s picturesque Algarve. Jacky is a hospitality veteran, having worked with some of the hotel industry’s most prominent brands for 20 years.

Before Hostfully

Paper and PDF guidebooks with no upsells

By Portuguese law, each vacation rental must have a guidebook available to guests. The Portuguese government sells blank paper guidebooks. Hosts and vacation rental managers can then fill out by hand the paper versions. But as Jacky notes, “this is very tedious work, and if anything in your area changes, you have to redo all your guidebooks”. As with anything paper, over time, these guidebooks become worn and untidy.
Jacky switched to PDFs that he would print, laminate, and leave in each property to get around the challenge of paper guidebooks. However, PDFs came with another set of problems. “I’m not a graphic designer, and in the end, each guidebook had a lot of text. No one comes on vacation to read a house manual. Guests want to relax” Jacky adds. If that wasn’t enough, Jacky had to translate each PDF into three other languages since Intiholidays operates in an area frequented by Spanish, French, British, and Portuguese travelers.

For years, Jacky also struggled with implementing upsell strategies in his properties. As a hotel industry veteran, Jacky knew the importance of upsells in hospitality. On top of adding a new income stream to his business, upsells could help Intiholidays’ star rating by boosting the guest experience. However, this wasn’t possible with PDF guidebooks. Every time a guest would want to buy an upsell, Jacky would have to answer the phone or respond to an email. Arranging payment would have to be a manual process. Multiplied across 35 properties, upsells was too tedious to implement without technology.

After Hostfully

Upsells, multilingual guidebooks, and content creation at scale

Based on his research, Jacky chose Hostfully’s digital guidebooks. On top of being an effective way to share the house manual and local recommendations, the guidebooks also offered a Marketplace feature which he could use for upsells. After creating his first digital guidebook, Jacky built his upsell Marketplace. “I wanted to offer services that improve a guest’s vacation”, adds Jacky. His first set of upsells was for items international travelers sometimes forget. Typically, these are electrical outlet adapters.

To implement this upsell, Jacky keeps a box of adapters in his vehicle. As Jacky says, “all the properties are near each other, so making one stop to drop off the adapter isn’t an inconvenience.” Jacky also realized that most international travelers visit the area for its sandy beaches. Yet most travel without a beach towel. So Jacky used the Hostfully Marketplace to offer beach towels as an upgrade. As Jacky says, “upselling beach towels are a great add-on since guests don’t want sand in their house towels. It helps them out, and allows us to offset the added laundry expense.”

Realizing the potential for increasing the guest experience, Jacky added these other upsells to his offering:

  • Spa and acupuncture services
  • Airport or train station pick-up and drop-off
  • Mid-stay cleaning services
  • First-day food welcome basket (bread, milk, coffee, eggs)

How Intiholidays implements upsells

From the guest’s experience, upsells happen through the Hostfully Digital Guidebook. When a service or product is purchased, the integration with Stripe prompts the guest for payment:

Once the purchase is complete, Jacky receives a notification. Depending on the product or service, Jacky then has to take one of the following actions:

Implementation timeline

From start to finish, Jacky created guidebooks for his 35 properties in just under two days. That’s in three different languages, with tailored information for each property. To do this, Jacky created one template guidebook with local recommendations, the Marketplace, a basic house manual, and a welcome message. He copied that guidebook for all his properties and added custom information for each one.

Bonus

Upsells lead to higher guest satisfaction and direct bookings

The Hostfully advantage

Hostfully offer two award-winning and industry-leading solutions: the digital guideboks and the property management platform (PMP). Our products are built from the ground up to help vacation rental owners and managers streamline their processes and increase their bottom-line. Here are some of the other features Hostfully clients like Jacky use to manage (and scale) their operations:

  • Multi-channel distribution: increase your marketing reach and generate more revenue
  • Digital guidebooks: boost the guest experience, cut down on communications, and upsell products and services for extra income
  • Pre-built direct booking site: generate your own bookings and gain independence from listing sites
  • Central messaging hub: easily manage guest communications on one interface
  • Booking pipeline: follow-up on leads and increase conversions
  • Integrations: connect other vacation rental software like turnover and cleaning, dynamic pricing, and credit card processing
  • Payments processing: easily collect payments from direct bookings or from upsold services and products to guests  
  • Property management data: make informed decisions based on data
  • Owner financial reports: save time and effort in preparing owner reports
  • Open API: keep using your custom software but also gain the benefits of the Hostfully PMP