their Gadgets or Services to a Hotel
|by Terence Ronson, July 2004
"I’ve stayed in a hotel, so I know how it works.” This is a phrase all too often muttered by gung-ho sales people with big smiles and know-it-all attitudes when trying to sell their gadgets or services to a hotel.
With the explosive growth of the hospitality industry, particularly in Asia Pacific, and positive projections for the next five years, it’s no wonder that hospitality is starting to appear on the radar screens of many companies as an important vertical market. [It used to be well hidden – most likely somewhere under retail.]
Major culprits of this are the big tech companies which have traditionally steered away from hospitality, believing it to be too conservative, having a lack of funding and purchasing power and too messy to handle [some truths there!].
But, with the boom in travel and tourism and many new projects either on the drawing board or underway, things are rapidly changing.
Insurance, banking, finance, automotive, health care and manufacturing have been the main points of focus for many high-tech companies but, as these now afford declining opportunities, they need to be superseded – and hospitality seems to be the new industry darling.
Over my many years of involvement in the industry, I have seen many companies and individuals come and go with the belief that they can grasp the nuances of the business by remaining on the periphery – but not getting their hands dirty by spending any time actually in the business.
Well, try sitting in front of a 20-year veteran GM and selling him a widget without so much of an understanding as what ADR is, or what covers are – and that there is a difference between front and back of house.
Many show their true colours in the first 30 seconds, frustrate the GM and – even if they have the most wanted product in the world – blow the opportunity to close the deal.
It’s a quirky business. We like to deal with our own kind – PLU’s (People Like Us). After all, we have our own language and, as open and universal as it might appear to us to be, it is so closed and insular that it is almost a cult of its own.
So why do these companies shoot themselves in the foot? Why do they send out inexperienced foot soldiers into the battlefield, armed with nothing more than a notebook pc to show a fancy, gobbledygook-filled PowerPoint presentation and a glossy brochure? Hotels don’t make it easy, either and I wonder if that’s intentional. Should the sales person contact the GM, housekeeper, purchasing, F&B, accounts or IT department.
Of course, it varies depending on the type of widget, but the inexperienced sales person usually gets this wrong and ends up frustrated – after probably annoying many people in the hotel with incessant calls and emails.
To some extent trade fairs, forums and B2B events help, but vendors should remember that hotels are places where they need to practice the art of consultative selling. They need to understand the business long before they walk into a meeting, and realise the benefits that their widgets will bring to the hotel.
Simply, it’s all about return on investment – in terms of both $ and service.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth recommendations, which apply not only to the widgets but also to the sales people trying to sell them. People will often say: “Why don’t you call so-and-so at a particular company – he understands the business and will be able to help you”.
Conversely, a negative recommendation could go along the lines of: “Don’t deal with that jerk – he thinks that, just because he stayed in a hotel one night on honeymoon, he understands our business”.
Hotel Asia Pacific
158 Wong Uk Tsuen
Tel: +852 2882-7352
Fax: +852 2882-2461
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|Chef In a Suit; Christian Abell explains why he hung up his chef's whites and put on a suit and tie to take over as F&B director at the JW Marriott Hong Kong / HOTEL Asia Pacific / February 2004|
|Asia Pacific Hotel Leaders Michael Issenberg, Miguel Ko, Patrick Imbardelli and Koos Klein Look at What Lies Ahead; The Greatest Challenge is Uncertainty / HOTEL Asia Pacific / January 2004|
|Senior Hotel Executives Are Scratching Their Heads Over an Annual Dilemma: What, if Any, Adjustments Should They Make to Next Year’s Payroll? / HOTEL Asia Pacific / December 2003|
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|Patrick Imbardelli, InterContinental Hotel Group’s Managing Director for Asia Pacific, is ‘Divorcing’ Owners Who Don’t Fit In with the Group’s Values / Steve Shellum HOTEL Asia Pacific / November 2003|
|HOFEX Organisers Faced a Tough Choice When SARS Devastated Their Plans; Rescheduled Event Poised to Bounce Back in Hong Kong / November 2003|
|Terrorism: Who’s Liable? The Legal Status of Hotel Owners and Management Companies / Andrew MacGeogh, HOTEL Asia Pacific / October 2003|
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|Preview of the Wonderful and Wacky World of the W Seoul; Aiming to Break the Mould of Asia's Traditional Hotels / Steve Shellum, HOTEL Asia Pacific / October 2003|
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|Assessing Hotel Security; HOTEL Asia Pacific Magazine / Pertlink Re-Issue Hotel Security Checklist / August 2003|
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|Hotels Stepping Up Security; Learning to Live with the Threat of Terrorism as Part of Conducting Everyday Business / HOTEL Asia Pacific Survey / March 2003|
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|Security: Something No Hotel Can Ignore / Geoff Griswold / Summer 2002|
|Biometrics Lend a Hand to Hotel Security / Feb 2002|
|Hotels Near Airports Provide Better Safety and Security Features According to The Center for Hospitality Research - Cornell Hotel School / Dec 2002|