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Chapter 9 Selling-up.


After studying this chapter, you should be able to:

* Define selling-up and upgrading

* Provide examples of selling-up in all eight sectors of the tourism industry

* Explain 12 more opportunities for selling-up

* Explain 15 selling points that will help a client to accept a higher-priced tourism product or service

Key Terms



selling additional services

club class

per diem



Selling-up is increasing the amount of the sale either by upgrading or selling additional services or both. Upgrading is a specialized type of selling-up focused on selling a higher-quality product--for example, selling first-class or business-class air transportation rather than coach class. In the accommodations sector, it could be selling an ocean view room or a suite rather than a garden view room.

In the fast-food business, selling additional services is where the real selling is done. If you ask people what McDonald's restaurants sell, they will invariably reply, "Hamburgers." But, have you ever been sold a hamburger at McDonald's? They just take your orders for the hamburgers. What they sell you are fries, milk shakes, desserts, and any number of additional items. Order a hamburger at Wendy's, and they will invariably try to sell you a Combo that includes fries and a beverage. If you order a Combo, they will always offer you a Biggie (a larger size) for only 49 cents more. Notice the emphasis on the word only!

In travel agencies, people come in to buy basic items such as air tickets and tours. The real selling occurs when the salesperson sells additional services such as hotel accommodations, or a car rental, or an upgraded transportation ticket for a higher class of service. You can learn a lot from the other sectors of the tourism industry, and they can learn a lot from the travel trade sector. We can all learn from McDonald's and Wendy's.

Selling-up can be done during the qualifying process or even when closing the sale, if it fits naturally into the sales discussion. However, it is usually done after the customer has made a definite decision to buy the primary product or service you have been discussing. If customers mention anything about higher-quality accommodations or service before you do, they want it. Sell the higher-priced product or service and close the sale now!

What type of selling-up you do depends upon which sector of the tourism industry and in which branch of that sector you are working. I will present a number of ideas for selling-up for specific sectors. However, some of the ideas I am presenting under a certain sector can be adapted to other sectors as well, either as presented or with some modifications.

The Accommodations Sector

In addition to the examples of selling-up in the Accommodations sector already mentioned, try these ideas.

Convince the customer of the value of having a suite rather than just a room. Selling points would include the extra comfort of having more space, plus the advantage that some members of the party could go to bed earlier than others or some could get up earlier than others without disturbing anyone. Some could watch TV while others read or work. Most suites have two televisions, which makes it possible for children to watch one program while adults can watch another.

When selling-up to a room with kitchen facilities, you can point out the convenience of being able to keep drinks cold or having hot coffee or tea in your room. The economy of being able to have some meals in the room rather than having the expense of consuming all meals at restaurants will help create acceptance of the additional cost of the accommodations.

Accommodations with special facilities like a whirlpool or waterbeds can be sold as an opportunity to experience something one might not have at home. Also, clients can be persuaded to pay a little more for accommodations in a historical property or one that is otherwise unique to the destination rather than the type of lodging available most anywhere. A good example of this would be the Fantasyland Hotel in West Edmonton Mall, one of the world's most unique hotels. It is located in the West Edmonton Mall, the world's largest shopping and entertainment complex, with more than 800 stores and services.

One of the Fantasyland Hotel's most unique rooms is the classic Roman Room (see Figure 9-1). The classic Roman Room sweeps the client away to the time of Anthony and Cleopatra. White marble statues will surround them. They can enjoy the luxury of a round velvet covered bed, silk draperies, and an authentic Roman bath.

Another unique experience could be a stay in the African Room (see Figure 9-2). After an exciting safari, clients can take refuge in a luxurious dwelling complete with cheetah-designed carpeting, bamboo furniture, and zebra covered queen-size bed, a bunk bed, and a full-size jacuzzi. It's a theme room the whole family can enjoy! Fantasyland Hotel includes 113 themed rooms. A sales kit including slides of the theme rooms provides you with the opportunity for selling-up for a unique experience. People will buy and pay more for unique experiences.



The Adventure and Recreation Sectors

If you are selling in the Adventure and Recreation sector, you could sell either a longer duration or a package that has more included. Consider adding transportation either from your access gateway or all the way from the client's departure point. Many of the points made for tour operators and wholesalers in the Travel Trade sector would also be applicable to the Adventure and Recreation sector. (See Figure 9-3.)

The Attractions Sector

Most locations in the Attractions sector have a gift shop. Make sure that it is stocked with quality items that are truly related to the attraction. Structure the tourist's experience so that the tourist will travel through the gift shop before leaving the facility. If a tour is included, make sure that the tourist has sufficient time to observe what is available in the gift shop.

Attractions can also increase their sales by featuring special events that complement the attraction. A luau in Hawaii can provide a more personal experience than a stage show. (See Figure 9-4.)

The Events and Conferences Sector

For conferences, conventions, exhibitions, and trade shows, the obvious way to sell-up would be to convince the customers to purchase more space. Providing ideas to draw more potential customers would enhance your chances of selling more space. New business could be obtained by asking those signed up to recommend other companies or organizations that could benefit from the event.



Use market research to determine the sources of your present customers. For fairs, festivals, special events, and marketplaces, ask visitors for suggestions of how to reach others from their area. Determine what drew their attention? What was the most important factor that made them decide to come? When the results are analyzed, use the knowledge gained to do the things that worked well with other markets.

The Food and Beverage Sector

A restaurant owner named Joseph had someone else act as the maitre d' to meet customers cordially at the door, check their reservation, escort them to their table, introduce them to their waiter, and distribute menus.

The maitre d' would then allow enough time to browse through the menu and could tell by the conversation and body language of the patrons when they were almost ready to make decisions. Enter Joseph. He would approach each table at the precise buying moment. He would greet everyone by name with an enthusiastic welcome. If he did not know a name, he would ask for it, and then promptly use it. The next time that person visited the restaurant, Joseph would remember the name.

Joseph would describe the specialties of the day and specialties of the house in such mouth-watering terms that people felt they had to try them. Inevitably, they would order a special hors d'oeuvre, dessert, drink specialty, or special main course that they had not previously contemplated.

Once decisions were made, he would recommend the most appropriate wine to accompany the meal in such glowing terms that patrons almost always purchased one a few notches above their normal choice. Then Joseph would make a gracious and friendly exit, explaining that Chantel (or Mario) would be right over to take their order. Be assured, the servers would be ready for Joseph's cue. He would move immediately to the next table where people were at the decision-making process of what to order.

Joseph is a master salesperson. He does not waste time doing things other staff can do. He devotes all his time to selling-up without losing any time doing other tasks. Needless to say, he does it in a very pleasing public relations manner.

Another salesperson had Joseph's technique perfected. This time it was not in the restaurant business or any other sector of the tourism industry. But it was a delight to watch. Denise Goulet was in the market to purchase a new television. The salesperson was Dexter.

Dexter qualified Denise quickly and well. Dexter demonstrated why a particular model met all her needs better than the others and closed the deal. As soon as Denise had made up her mind, Dexter introduced her to his assistant, who efficiently wrote up the sale, obtained the merchandise, and made arrangements for payment. While these details were taking place, Dexter had closed three more rather large sales. Dexter is a master salesperson. His time is not wasted doing paperwork or routine details. He sells, and that's all!

In your business, do not allow your top salespeople to waste a minute filling out invoices, chasing down merchandise, or even collecting payments. Let them sell! People learning the business can do the other jobs, and with the right guidance, they will eventually learn to do the job as well as Joseph or Dexter. Who do you think will have more fun on the job and earn more money--Joseph and Dexter, or the unnamed people doing those other tasks? Welcome to a career in sales!

The Tourism Services Sector

Much of the selling in the Tourism Services sector is indirect selling because often it is not the people working in this sector who actually collect the money. However, there are many opportunities for selling-up. When people come to information centers to request information on one topic, probe to find out what else they might be interested in. Inquire whether they are aware of other attractions and services available. If so, offer to phone to check whether space is available or put the tourist in direct contact with the provider of the product or service.

In retail operations, the salesperson can often suggest additional items that could be purchased as gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and so on. Explain the advantages and benefits of similar but more expensive items than those that a customer is interested in purchasing.

In duty-free shops (see Figure 9-5), people usually feel restricted by the duty-free allowances. However, it is legal to take back more than the duty-free allowance as long as it is declared and the appropriate duty and taxes are paid. Salespeople in duty-free shops should be aware of any items that would still be less expensive in spite of the taxes payable in particular countries. Sometimes additional items will be worth paying the duty.

Because of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there is no duty payable on goods produced in Canada, the United States of America, or Mexico for travel within this area. However, there may be other taxes applicable, so it is wise to know the comparative values of transporting goods over the normal limit.

Most people go to duty-free shops to buy duty-free liquor and cigarettes. But duty-free shops carry many other items that could be attractive to a customer from another country. A salesperson could simply ask if particular items are available in a tourist's home country or state. Often this will stimulate the customer to take something home for friends or relatives that they cannot obtain at home.


For auto clubs, additional revenue can be obtained by directing the tourist to the travel agency office of the auto club for additional services. Similarly, everyone in the travel agency of the auto club should be asking their client if he or she is a member of the auto club. If not, they should sell the advantages of becoming a member, distribute promotional literature, and ask if the client would like to speak to someone in the membership department for more information.

The Transportation Sector

In the Transportation sector, most salespeople just assume that every prospect wants the least expensive fare possible. However, for approximately 10 to 15 percent of the traveling public, convenience and comfort are more important than price. Salespeople in a travel agency should always ask, "Would you prefer first class or coach?" for air transportation. Or, if you were discussing rail transportation, "Would you prefer club class or coach?"

One could persuade a big or tall person that he or she would be much more comfortable in a first-class air seat with more width and legroom and a wider seat than the cramped facilities offered in economy/ coach class.

For rail service on Via Rail, one can sell-up to club class by pointing out the following benefits:

1. Passengers can relax in the first-class lounge with free nonalcoholic beverages while waiting for the train.

2. Club passengers are preboarded before coach passengers.

3. Free newspapers are offered in club class but not in coach class.

4. Meals are included in club class.

5. A complimentary aperitif and after dinner liqueur or other drink is included in club class as well as wine with the meal.

For people traveling overnight by train, you should always try to sell-up to include sleeping accommodations, stressing the discomfort of sitting up all night in a coach.

For passengers traveling by ship, the advantages of a more expensive cabin or stateroom include more space, better location, and the benefit of being able to see out from an outside cabin. In a travel agency, an agent had drawn lines on the floor to show how small an economy cabin was on a ship. This was an effective aid for selling-up to a larger size stateroom.

This would vary with the ship being sold, but the salesperson could use one that is frequently sold. The difference in what is being recommended to a particular customer should be described.

People will often request a smaller rental car than the car they drive at home. Salespeople can sell-up by stressing the small difference in cost per day for a larger car and more comfort. If there is more than one person sharing the car, show how little the difference in price is per person per day. A good sales point for people traveling from place to place is that in a smaller car there might be enough room for the passengers, but will there be room for the luggage?

With recreational vehicles, selling-up can be done emphasizing the extra comfort and facilities available in a more expensive unit. Emphasize that the vehicle will not only be their means of transportation but it will also be their home for the duration of the trip.

When transferring tourists from the airport, rail station, bus station, or cruise port to their accommodations, taxi drivers should always offer to provide a city tour for their customers. A city tour by taxi can be tailored to the exact interests and time restraints of the tourist. Also, a city tour by taxi can be very cost-effective if there are three to five passengers.

However, this can only be done where it is legal and if the driver is qualified as a guide. In many cities, only certain transportation companies are licensed to provide tours. Customers and drivers should always settle on the price before getting into the taxi. Be sure to determine whether the price is per person or for everyone in the party. Get this written down, particularly if the driver is speaking English as a second language.

The Travel Trade Sector

When selling tours or transportation, you can sell local sight-seeing. Most local sight-seeing companies will pay a commission to other members of the tourism industry for selling their local sight-seeing, boat tours, transfers, and other services. If you do not have reciprocal sales agreements with other tourism industry suppliers, make it a priority for today. You can sell their products and services at a profit. And they can sell your products and services. Also, you can sell car rentals at the destination or stopover points.

Whenever you are selling a tour, always explain the value of an extended stay. The per diem (or daily cost) of a one-week stay includes transportation, transfers, and a number of other expenses in addition to accommodations. A second week would cost little extra except for the accommodations, therefore lowering the per diem cost. (See Figure 9-6.)


One of the easiest ways to sell-up is to sell a longer tour. When you look at the prices of World of Vacations inclusive tour charter to Barcelo Parque del Lago Hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica, from Toronto, the second week is always a bargain compared to the first week. The most spectacular comparison is for departures between March 9 and March 15. The first week costs $1,279.00. The second week costs only $80.00 more, just $11.43 per diem! Taking a two-week holiday is only $97.07 per diem as compared to $182.71 per diem for a one-week vacation. This should be a very easy opportunity to sell-up unless the client just cannot take a two-week vacation.

Tour guides can often increase their tips by offering to provide individuals advice regarding restaurants, entertainment, special events, shopping, or any other special interest or product.

Whenever a customer has a risk of financial loss, the salesperson has a legal obligation to offer insurance. For example, always offer cancellation insurance for protection from losses due to unused services due to illness, accidents, or bad weather. Other benefits of travel protection that can be covered include trip interruption protection, emergency medical/dental coverage, emergency medical transportation, baggage insurance, baggage delay, travel accident, and trip inconvenience coverage.

Comprehensive travel protection plans provide insurance for all or most of the items just listed, usually at a lower price than if the individual coverages were purchased separately. Selling insurance provides the traveler with peace of mind, removes the liability from the salesperson for not disclosing possible risks, and pays excellent commission. Usually, the commissions from selling the insurance are higher than the commissions for selling the transportation. (See Figure 9-7.)



Travel agents have the opportunity to sell-up almost everything already mentioned, but I ask you to consider these 12 additional opportunities for selling-up. Many of these can also be used by tour operators and wholesalers either in direct sales or by having their sales representatives emphasize the opportunities to travel agents. Most transportation companies sell tours using their services, and many of these ideas will also work for them.

1. Combine a vacation with a business trip. Then suggest that they might take their family along. Use family plan fares or special promotional fares to create acceptance.

2. Sell a side trip or stopover.

3. Persuade travelers who are going to be visiting friends or relatives to take a tour, stopover, or side trip before and/or after their visit.

4. Persuade travelers who will be visiting friends or relatives to take them along on a tour.

5. Convince singles to bring along a friend to save money and to have more fun.

6. Persuade a couple to bring along another couple to save money (sharing a car rental or a suite in a hotel) and to have more fun.

7. If a customer is buying a prepaid ticket to bring friends or relatives to the U.S.A. or Canada, sell travel arrangements for the visitors to see America.

8. A cruise could be added to a land package.

9. A land package can be added to a cruise purchase. Some cruise lines have cruise-and-stay packages. For others, you could always make arrangements for a land package either at the beginning or the end of a cruise.

10. Always sell transportation to and from the starting point of a tour.

11. If the departure is early in the morning or the return is late in the day, sell accommodations close to the airport, rail station, or port.

12. Make a combination of two or more of the opportunities for selling-up presented in this chapter.

Traditionally, many organizations in the tourism industries have operated in isolation from their colleagues in other sectors. If you do not have the arrangements to make commissions from selling each other's services now, establish cooperative relationships and make the necessary agreements to sell each other's services to increase your mutual sales.


The biggest problem of selling-up is price resistance. The following 15 sales points should help you to convince a customer to accept a higher-priced tourism product.

1. It provides extra comfort.

2. It is more relaxing.

3. It is more convenient.

4. There is less hassle (trouble-free).

5. There is more enjoyment.

6. Use your client's own statements to show that the higher-priced item has more of what they want (or more of what interests them).

7. If applicable, mention it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

8. Tell them, "You deserve it!" or "You deserve to spoil yourself!"

9. Convince the customer that your offer is value for money paid. For example, the value of a cruise compared to a land package when one considers all of the inclusive features.

10. It will be difficult to obtain this quality at this price again. 11. If you wait, it will probably go up in price to the point where it may be impossible for you to go.

12. A more memorable vacation or honeymoon.

13. Appeal to financial needs. The difference in the cost is very little when considered as a proportion of the total expenditure or as an extra cost per person per day. Compare the extra per diem cost to show how little it is considering the added pleasure it would provide.

14. Appeal to safety needs. Stress that you cannot guarantee safety anywhere, but that you recommend companies and services that have a good safety record.

15. Traveling with a high-quality company will provide you with more confidence that you have made the right decision.

Discussion Questions

1. Define selling-up.

2. Explain the similarities and differences between selling-up and upgrading.

3. List three examples of selling-up in each of the eight sectors of tourism.

4. What are the 12 additional opportunities for selling-up?

5. List 15 selling points that would help you to convince a client to accept a higher-priced tourism product or service.
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Article Details
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Author:Kay, H. Kenner
Publication:Selling Tourism
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Chapter 8 Overcoming objections.
Next Article:Chapter 10 Customer service.

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