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Web 2.0 and Hotel Sales Strategies for '08

What Are Your Clients Saying About You?
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August 2007 - So you think your clients aren’t out there talking about you?  You think that clients and potential clients don’t exchange their thoughts about the experiences they have had at your hotel?  Think again!

If the term Web 2.0 has you scratching your head, you are not alone.  However, it is important that hotel sales departments get up to speed on the concept.   Web 2.0 is the trend to User Generated Content, that is, the use of social networking, hotel review sites and blogs dealing with the user experience.

Sales and marketing strategic plans for ’08 that ignore this shift in travel marketing do so at their own peril.   A PhocusWright study earlier this year that indicated small group travel such as weddings, family reunions, etc. will be dominated by web based sourcing and booking of room blocks.  This was just given additional credibility with the launch of Priceline’s new group travel functionality.

Travelocity just launched a new review functionality on its site that will allow users to sort through reviews by destination interest and travel preferences so that there is no need to wade through all of the reviews to locate the ones that pertain to a shoppers travel preference.  A Yahoo study last week revealed that travel reviews are driving buying decisions more than price.

How do you plug into and take advantage of this seismic shift in the world of hotel sales and develop strategies for success in this arena for 2008?
 

1.  Design a strategy for the hotel’s online presence.    As part of the sales and marketing plan for ’08, develop a strategy with Action Plans to monitor and influence the online presence of the hotel.  Evaluate it through the eyes of a potential travel and meeting planner.  There are products out there to assist you such as Chatter Guard that will monitor every new online review and reference to the property.  A cheaper alternative is to set Google alerts which are free and will alert you with an email you every time your hotel is mentioned in an online review, blog or other online media.
2.  Hotel Web Site and Property Descriptions.  Review the web site with the eyes of the travel planners and meeting planners.  Expedia states that for every dollar spent on their site another dollar is spent on the property web site.  If you have a franchise site, ensure that you are changing up your property screens to reflect market segment seasonality for transient travelers and good information for meeting planners.  Remember, this is often the first contact that the planner has with your hotel.
3.  Online RFPs.  If you participate in online RFP site such as Star Cite among others, review how you are presenting your property on the sites and the way the sales department responds to RFP request.  Participate in the small group planning sites such as Travelocity, Groople, Hotels.com, etc.  Again, ensure that you have listed the amenities that are important to these small social groups. Check out the sites for the competitions’ amenity profiles and rates.  Put an online RFP page on your web site. (Stay tuned for another article on this subject). 
4.  Respond to Online Reviews.  Instead of just groaning about a negative review, evaluate them as to the validity of their issues.  If it is an operational deficiency, bring it to the attention of operations so it can be addressed.  Respond to the review in a balanced and professional way that indicates you listen to your customers’ comments and respond to their concerns.  Yes, there are the ‘wacko’ reviews about stupid stuff beyond your control, but the customers that are checking out the review sites are usually smart enough to factor those out.
5.  Participate in the Chatter.  If organizations and associations that you belong to have a blog, monitor them and post comments – positive and constructive comments.  Many local business journals now have blogs as does MPI nationally – your local chapter may have one as well.   Build a blog where your clients can give you feedback and you can monitor and participate in online conversations with them.  

These suggestions are just a few of the ways to plug into Web 2.0 in your sales and marketing strategies for ’08.  Your clients live online and how you plug into their concerns and decision making processes will dictate the success of a hotel property.  Get on the radar screen!
Web 2.0 is not going away – if anything it will become more important in all travel segments.  Ignore it at your peril! 



At Carol Verret and Associates we are leading by example.  Stay tuned for the Hotel Sales Blog coming in early September – we want to engage in a conversation with you about your hotel sales training issues.  We will also be featuring seminars and web casts that deal with how you can use Web 2.0 to your advantage. 

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 - 2007


 
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: “It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow” -- Five Revenue Management Tactics for Independent Hotels / Carol Verett / June 2007
Developing New Hotel Business Using Client DNA / Carol Verret / May 2007
The Jigsaw Puzzle – The Fit of the Revenue Management and Internet Group Sales Pieces / Carol Verret / April 2007
Client DNA - The Gold Standard for New Business Development / Carol Verret / March 2007
The 'I Hate Cold Calls' Web Cast - The New Paradigm of Sales! / Carol Verret / February 2007
Hate Cold Calls? - Discover the New Paradigm of Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / January 2007
Issues in Hotel Sales Training - Metics for Success / Carol Verret / December 2006
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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