Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
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Training Seminars
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Issues in Hotel Sales Training
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Metics for Success
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by Carol Verret, December 2006 

2006, a banner year for the hotel industry in terms of revenue increases, is coming to a close! 2007 is forecasted to be a good year – not as good 2006. Many of you may have noticed a few dark clouds in the direction that some of the statistics are trending.

The economy grew by 2.2 % in the third quarter – not exactly a recession but a definite slow down in the leading economic indicators from the first two quarters. Those of you who follow the national trends in the Smith Travel Reports cannot help but notice that the demand figure has been somewhat delicate all year, with much smaller increases than those in rate. Demand actually began to track into the negative in September. 

PKF is now predicting a ‘soft landing’ for the industry nationwide, still posting revenue increases in 2007, although not in the high single digits like 2006. This is a concern. In a recent study by PKF, it was demonstrated how increased revenue did not all fall to the bottom line due to ‘expense creep’, a trend that is likely to continue in 2007. “While the resulting 9.7 percent gain in total revenue is certainly welcome, it is the 7.8 percent increase in operating expenses that concerns hotel owners and operators.” (R. Mark Woodworth, president of Atlanta-based PKF-HR.) 

The temptation on the part of hotel operators may be to cut the training budget. Unfortunately, the metrics for measuring the effectiveness of training programs are typically somewhat ‘fuzzy’, making this an easy target. It never ceases to amaze that in seminar and training programs where reinforcement and follow-up are offered as part of the package, how few clients actually implement these steps that could assist them in measuring the effectiveness of the initial program.

With demand trending flat or into the negative percentages, the focus is beginning to shift back to the effectiveness of Hotel Sales departments. While sales cannot significantly impact ‘expense creep’, it is the one area that can impact demand. However, while skills set development and the effective use of new paradigms of sales need to be a focus for 2007 and beyond, it is imperative that any training be reinforced and metrics set to measure success in incremental steps.

If sales training is to have a shelf life beyond the impact of a sales training seminar, these are some of the metrics that will enable measurement:

  • Seminar exercises that demonstrate that the participants ‘got it’: Every program should incorporate exercises and ‘games’ that allow the participants to demonstrate that not only did they hear the program, they can apply the tools that are contained in the content. 
  • Implementation Plans. It is up to management to follow up and ensure that the sales staff actually has a plan to implement the elements of the program that apply to their market segment and situation. Work with the training provider to establish them then follow-up with the sales staff. If it is not important to management that they apply these skills, it won’t be important to the participants. 
  • Coaching and Mentoring. Coaching conference calls are a great way to reinforce and perpetuate the investment in a training program. Most good training providers will supply this as well as furnish management with a recap of the call and action steps. The completion of these ‘action steps’ is one metric of success.
  • Blended Training Solutions. Instead of hoping that one seminar a year will magically transform the sales department into innovative demand generators, consider a series of seminars and reinforcement solutions that build incrementally on skill set development and sales processes. One ‘off the self’ seminar program wears off pretty quickly. No one has a training program that sprinkles training fairy dust that instantly turns ‘apprentices’ into masters’. 
At the end of the day, incremental revenue is the ultimate metric. However, if you have a weak member of the sales team or a team that is resistant to changing the way they do things, the metrics of a training program should give you what you need to perhaps redeploy them. 
Management spends too much time trying to correct deficiencies versus building on strengths. If you haven’t read ‘First Break All the Rules’: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman ask for it for Christmas. It can transform your skills as a manager! 

The selling paradigm is changing in relation to one way our customers buy. (This will be the subject of next month’s article). Take your best and your brightest and train them in the latest sales tools to position your property and sales team for success in 2007 and beyond!
Happy Holidays from Carol Verret and Associates!

Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.com. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.



Carol Verret And Associates Consulting and Training offers training services and consulting in the areas of sales, revenue management and customer service primarily but not exclusively to the hospitality industry. To find out more about the company click on www.carolverret.com. To contact Carol send her an email at carol@carolverret.com or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006


 
Contact:
Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
carol@carolverret.com
Web Site: http://www.carolverret.com/
Email: carol@carolverret.com
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Also See: Is the Party Over?; The Challenge of Decreasing Hotel Room Demand / Carol Verret / October 2006
The Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People Ramp Up for 2006! / Carol Verret / September 2006
Identifying the WIIFM Factor – The Essential of Hotel Sales Success / Carol Verret / August 2006
Revenue Management for Hotel GMs – What You Don’t Know Can Jump Up and Bite You! / Carol Verret / July 2006
Feeding the Revenue Elephant; Hotel Revenue Management / Summer 2006 
The "Tipping Point" - Identifying the Touch Points in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / May 2006
The "Tipping Point" - Touch Points Make a Difference in Customer Service Training / Carol Verret / April 2006
Selling Up! Taking Group Room Revenue to a New Level / Carol Verret / February 2006
Revenue Management 2006; The Risks and Rewards / Carol Verret /January 2006 
Revenue Management and Group Sales - The Partnership Not the Disconnect / Carol Verret / November 2005
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People / Carol Verret / September 2005
Triple Witching Hour - The Marketing Plan, Revenue Management Strategy and RFPs for '06 / Carol Verret / August 2005
"Smile" is a Learned Behavior - Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret / July 2005
Revenue Management Systems -- Considerations for Evaluation / Carol Verret / June 2005
Disconnect -- Aligning the Revenue Management and Sales Strategies / Carol Verret / May 2005
Independent Hotels & Resorts; Ride the Wave or Float with the Tide? / Carol Verret / March 2005
Hospitality Sales Training Companies Reach Across the Competitive Playing Field to Combine Live Seminar Expertise with  the Convenience of the Internet / Carol Verret / January 2005
Revenue Management - The Challenge for Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2005
Hotel Sales Departments -- Issues in Processes and Functionality / Carol Verret / November 2004
The GM'S Role in Revenue Management / Carol Verret / October 2004
Transforming the Hotel Sales Organization; Alignment with the New Realities of Sales / Carol Verret / August 2004
The Revenue Management Strategy - The Pre-Plan Marketing Plan / Carol Verret / July 2004
Hotel Revenue Management this Summer - a Game of Skill, Art and Most of All Nerves / Carol Verett / May 2004
What Do Meeting Planners Want? Hotel Sales Managers Want to Know! / Carol Verret / May 2004
Revenue Management -- The Integration of Revenue Drivers / Carol Verret / March 2004
CYBER SALES -- Hotel Sales in an Internet World is the New Reality / Carol Verret / February 2004
The New Realities of Hotel Sales - Focus on Revenue Generation / Carol Verret / January 2004
Hotel Sales -- Innovation in the Face of Limitations / Carol Verret / November 2003
The Good News & the Bad News; Improving Economy = New Hotel Development / Carol Verret / October 2003
Leadership - General Managers Managing the Sales Process / Carol Verret  / October 2003
When the Crystal Ball is Cloudy; Marketing Plans for 2004 / Carol Verret / July 2003
Partnership of Sales and Technology; Using Tech Tools to "Sell" the Hotels / Carol Verret  / July 2003
Back to the Basics? The Basics of Hotel Sales Have Changed! / May 2003
Creating Sales "HUNTERS": The Skill Sets Required in the New Hotel Sales Environment / April 2003
Heightened Security Requires New Strategies in Hotels Sales / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Mar 2003
Revenue Recovery - Building The ‘A’ Team in Sales / Carol Verret / January 2003
Contingency Marketing Plan – War In Iraq! / Carol Verret / November 2002
Playing the Rate Game - Positioning -- Positioning -- Positioning! / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Rate Game - Playing to Win / Carol Verret / October 2002
The Challenge of Marketing Independent Boutique Hotels / Carol Verett / August 2002
Hotel Sales in a Limited Service Environment - The Rules Have Changed / Carol Verett / August 2002
The General Manager’s Role in Sales -Chief Marketing Officer of the Hotel / Carol Verret / April 2002
100% Market Share Penetration is Not Good Enough / Carol Verett / January 2002
The Key to REVPAR Recovery –  New Business Development / Carol Verett / December  2001
Trash the 2002 Marketing Plan - And Just Start Over / Carol Verett / September 2001
How to Use Consultants Effectively –  A View From the Other Side  / Carol Verret / August 2001
How Soft Is Your Hotel's Economic Landing?  / Carol Verret / Aprl 2001
The ‘Value Proposition’: Marketing Yourself to Prospective Employees / Carol Verret / January 2001
Generation Y:  Motivating and Training a New Generation of Employees / Carol Verret / November  2000
Why Customer Service Seminars Don't Work / Carol Verret / October 2000
Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Sept 2000 
FAT, DUMB AND HAPPY – The Seasonal Boom and  Bust Cycle / Carol Verret / August 2000
Surf's Up - Ride the Wave or Miss the Boat -The Effective Use of Technology in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / July 2000 
Measuring Effectiveness of  Hotel Sales Departments / Carol Verret / June 2000
Hotel Sales Training - The Need for Immediate Results / Carol Verret/ May 2000



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