Torres Consulting

Upsell & incentive: If you consider the revenue that is at stake, you will run to implement your own incentive program

One of the principles to encourage an individual team to sell more is to have a well-established bonus scheme in place.

Some call it incentive. Others call it commission. Referral fee. Direct incentive. They can all be different, but at the end of the day have the same aim: reward the efforts of the salesperson, so that he or she is motivated to sell more.

According to Wikipedia, “An incentive program is a formal scheme used to promote or encourage specific actions or behaviour by a specific group of people during a defined period of time”.

Eventually, it becomes a circle: if I sell more, we have more business, therefore my job is safer. Also, the more I sell, the higher my commission. Therefore, I’ll work harder to sell more.

Simple, right? It’s the bread and butter of every sales contract.

So why is it not always applied when it comes to other roles that also sell? Your receptionist call sell. And so does your waiter. And your events coordinator. And in-room dining. Spa attendant…..Every team member that has any contact with a guest can sell. But not all have the right profile, as we mentioned in a previous article. And very few receive specific sales training. That means a large workforce who could be generating considerable sums of revenue for your business, and are not doing so. How much money are we talking about?


Let’s do quick numbers. For this exercise, we will assume:

Medium sized  5* hotel, 200 rooms, bar and restaurant, plus small Spa. Average rate of 200$/room/night, average length of stay 2.5 nights.

Front Desk: With about 80 arrivals per day, The Front Desk agents could upsell (10%), at an average of 50$/night.

Food & Beverage: Now let’s have a quick look at F&B. Between lunch and dinner, your restaurant, let’s say it’s small, can handle 150 customers. A proactive team can increase the average check by 10$.

Add to that SPA operations, plus the BAR. We are talking here about 1-1.5million $/year that are at stake. Knowing this, wouldn’t you re-consider implementing a well-structured incentive program?

Now, going back to the definition, it must be formal, and time and people specific.


How is the program going to be established? Based on direct sales or related to a target? Direct bonus or linked to your role? Make sure you define the basic guidelines appropriately.

Each team member should be clearly informed at hiring time of the incentive program. Again, in many cases this does not happen, and the employees find out they are expected to proactively sell when it just does not go with them.

To avoid this happening, make sure that you add information on your formal incentive plan while recruiting.


Who is going to receive the incentive? Line staff? Managers? In equal measure of some more than others? Will managers get less as they have higher salaries, or more to make sure they drive the team? Personal incentive or shared? Will receptionists share with the porters or bellboys? What about waiters. Share with chefs too? Shared by shift or with the entire team? Daily, weekly, monthly?

Each team member must know what is expected from him or her. If there is any personal target, or a target for the team. If there is a forecast to meet.

Time specific

If the program is established as part of your venue or property policy, then there is no end to this specificity. In other cases, it can be related to a certain season or period, or what it called tactical incentive: set up a special scheme to reach peak results over a specific period of time.

There is a saying that goes: “What is immediately rewarded is repeated, what is immediately punished is avoided”.

Obviously here we can skip the second part of the sentence, and focus on the first one. This is a natural instinct, something that comes from our animal origin.

Make it attractive, make it easy for the team, and they will respond. Make it too complicated, and it will get lost in translation. Don’t implement it, and say good bye to +1million $ on extra revenue. You decide.

#hotels #hoteles #hospitality #incentive #hrprofessionals #elearning #torresconsulting #F&B

Pictures: “Designed by macrovector_official / Freepik”

Pablo Torres

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