With an estimated 187,000 hotels in the world, and 7 million+ hotel rooms in Europe alone, there are various top tips when it comes to securing a hotel upgrade, but most of the time it’s just pure luck if you succeed. Many of us stay in hotel rooms knowing that the premium rooms and suites down the corridor remain vacant and just out of reach. What if there was an option to upgrade to one of those rooms at a fraction of its original cost?
Today a new online system – Upgradus – has been launched in Europe and is providing the answer to our hotel dreams.
Designed to act as the communicator between the customer and hotel, Upgradus is a free online service that allows hotel stayers, at any hotel in the world, to show an interest in an upgraded room at a heavily discounted rate.
Most hotels currently don’t offer a paid upgrade at the moment for many reasons:
- There’s not much communication with guests between booking and check-in. Efforts are concentrated on promotion to get the room booked, and then delivering service when the guests arrive. The time in between booking and arrival is almost always inactive, with little or no communication.
- At the check-in the hotel wants to process guests quickly and efficiently, so they often don’t have time to discuss an upgrade and even so, an upgrade requires a significant decision by the guest as to the benefits and costs. That takes time for explanation and a decision, which often neither the guest nor hotel staff have. The reception staff is also not generally trained, authorized or incentivized to offer upgrades, so it doesn’t happen.
- Hotels are also understandably concerned that it could tarnish a stay by creating a ‘sales pitch and negotiation’ at a point that should be welcoming, smooth and enjoyable.
Despite the above, hotels are now grasping the huge potential revenue unrealized every single day. Ultimately, it would be better for the hotel to receive some money and enhance their customer’s stay instead of leaving a room empty.
Upgradus allows hotels to offer upgrades direct to their guests in advance, during the ‘silent period’ between booking and arrival. This allows the customer to spend time on a full consideration of the offer in private, without the embarrassment of a public discussion at check-in.
Customers simply log on, type in where and when they are staying and then Upgradus gets to work. It contacts the hotel, lets them know a customer is interested, and if the hotel wants to offer a heavily discounted upgrade just before the stay because the room is still empty, they can. The customer can then choose to accept or decline the offer before they arrive, paying at the hotel as normal, so the process remains the same and everyone is happy.
Guy Ratcliffe, CEO, and Founder of Upgradus, said, “I have traveled regularly for both business and with family and, when the budget allows, I like to stay in interesting hotels with great rooms, especially when on vacation. However, I often found myself thinking that there were even better rooms or suites above my budget that were empty, sometimes even the room next door. An offer for a discounted upgrade to a better room or suite would have been appreciated and likely taken if the price was right.
“Globally hotel occupancy is around 67%. Occupancy for premium rooms and suites is generally much lower, with some suites having occupancy rates of less than 25%. This means that most hotels have empty premium rooms for most of the year. Selling discounted upgrades to these rooms could easily add €1bn+ to the €570bn hotel market, so I thought resolving this problem is surely a ‘win-win’. I built the technology in Upgradus to make it happen and I’m now inviting other people who like to travel in comfort and luxury to join me.”