.
Hotel Owners and Operators Expecting Higher Yield from
Increases in More Personalized, Direct Selling Expenses


By David M. Brudney, ISHC, December 2007

“If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship”
Harry Beckwith 

While sales and marketing-related labor costs have experienced moderate growth and advertising has declined, more dollars are being directed to “Selling” expenses, according to a recent article by PKF Consulting (“Focus of Hotel Sales Personnel to Shift from Selling Room Nights to Capturing More Dollars”, by Robert Mandelbaum and Viet Vo).

“Selling” expenses - - trade shows, travel, and prospect and client entertainment - - grew 9.2 percent in 2006, by far the largest increase of all major cost categories for sales and marketing departments, according to the PKF article.

What this information suggests is that maybe hotel owners and operators have rediscovered the importance and value of more personalized direct selling as a means to increasing revenue through higher average daily rates.

And doesn’t it suggest also that after investing millions of dollars in new technology, embracing state-of-the-art CRM, Sales and catering software and group database programs, managing the Internet distribution channels better and creating powerful, interactive websites and blogs, focus may be shifting now from technology based selling back to relationship based selling?

If so, hallelujah!  A primary message repeated in so many past articles of mine has been the concern I have over an entire new generation of hospitality sales professionals that have mastered the art of technology based selling while forsaking the timeless skills required in relationship based selling.

“Only a computer wants to do business with
another computer.  People respond to people”
Harvey Mackay  

We’ve created a generation that prefers e-mails over phone calls, text messaging over personal sales calls and computer time over trade shows and travel.

E-mails and text messaging have become a necessity in all of our business and social lives.  No argument here.

But today’s direct sales teams must be adept at leveraging the value and impact of all of these communication and data exchange tools - - technology and relationship based - -  and understand when and where best to employ each.

Now that hotels have re-staffed their sales force “in an effort to capture group business and implement yield management strategies,”  according to PKF, I believe that owners, asset managers and operators will be looking to the direct sales teams to drive even higher group room rates in 2008.

This will pose no small challenge now with supply having caught up with demand and meeting planners, eager for the pendulum to swing back to more of a buyers’ market, having grown tired of paying top rates with fewer options.

Owners and operators’ expectations will be high and scrutiny will be intense.  There will be little, if any, patience or tolerance for direct sales teams that continue discounting practices to book group business.

Will direct sales teams respond to the challenge?  Have too many become too comfortable during the prolonged sellers’ market of recent years?  Have too many become too reactive and less proactive?  Have too many lost that selling “edge”?  

The true test might be which sales departments have the experience and skills required to capture higher rates?  Which sales teams have benefitted from management’s commitment to advanced professional sales training during the recent span of high profits?

Let the real selling begin.  2008 should be an interesting year.

© Copyright 2007 


David M. Brudney, ISHC, is a veteran sales and marketing professional with four decades of service to the hospitality industry.  Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators on sales and marketing “best practices” and conducts reviews of sales and marketing operations throughout the U.S. and overseas.  The principal of David Brudney & Associates of Carlsbad, CA, a sales and marketing consulting firm specializing in the hospitality industry since 1979, Brudney is a frequent speaker, instructor and mentor.  He is a charter member of International Society of Hospitality Consultants.  Previously, Brudney held sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.
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Contact:

David M. Brudney, ISHC, Principal 
David Brudney & Associates 
Carlsbad, CA 
760-476-0830 Fax 760-476-0860 
(c) 760-994-9266
David@DavidBrudney.com
www.DavidBrudney.com
www.ishc.com


 
Also See Pause for Reaction: New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #9 / David Brudney / October 2007
Today’s Meeting Planner: New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #8 / David M. Brudney / September 2007
Hospitality Leaders Take Note: The Bill Walsh Legacy / David Brudney / August 2007
Hotel Brands Weren’t Always Thinking Outside the Box / David Brudney / July 2007
Did the Cruise Experience but Thanks,  I’ll Take My Luxury Resort Any Day / David Brudney / June 2007
Referrals; New Generation of Hotel Sales Professionals: Lesson #7 / David Brudney / May 2007
Relationship Building - New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #6 / David Brudney / April 2007
Site Inspections New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #5 / David Brudney / March 2007
Mood of Hotel Investors and Operators is Euphoric / David Brudney / February 2007
“Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer” Know Your Hotel Competition: Lesson #4 / David Brudney / January 2007
Hotel Owners Nightmare: Money Left on the Table / David Brudney / December 2006
New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #3: Selling Time Balance / David Brudney / November 2006
New Generation of Hospitality Sales Professionals Lesson #2: Want to be Successful? Start by Packing your own 'Chute / David Brudney ISHC / October 2006
Managing the Consultant: Careful Not to Doom the Project / David M. Brudney / September 2006
You Cannot Microwave Experience: New Generation of Hotel Sales Professionals - Lesson 1 / David Brudney / August 2006
New Breed of Hotel Sales Associates Lacking Curiosity? Maybe it’s Not a Generational Thing / David Brudney ISHC / July 2006
Generation X Hotel Sales Associates: All Important Curiosity Factor Missing? / David Brudney / June 2006
Physical Therapy Sessions: A Good Reminder for Professional Selling Fundamentals / David M. Brudney / April 2006
Hotel Marketing Starts Locally; Never Forget Your Neighbors / David M. Brudney / March 2006
Notes from the ALIS Conference / David Brudney / February 2006
General Managers Workshop: Managing Today's Hotel Sales Teams / July 2005
Owners & Asset Managers: Need Expert Advice, Referral? Ask A Trusted Consultant / David M. Brudney, ISHC / May 2005
Larry May: The Passing Of Another Hotel Soldier / David Brudney ISHC / April 2005
Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same? / David Brudney ISHC / December 2004
Let’s Put Bush and Kerry Through the RFP Process / October 2004
Bev Kordsmeier, Hyatt Sales’ First Lady / April 2004
Message to Hotel Sales Associates: “It’s Not You!”/ January 2004
What Innkeepers Want Every Christmas? Fill Those Empty Rooms / December 2003
Uncertain Times Call for Return to Backyard Basics / April 2003
Time to “Group Up”?  Maybe, Maybe Not / May 2002
America’s Front Desk  Fights Back! / January 2002
Front Desk Fails To Catch America’s Hospitality Spirit / David Brudney ISHC / November 2001
A Very Good Time For That Sales Audit / David Brudney ISHC / Sept 2001 
More Theater, Less Zombies / David Brudney ISHC / Dec 2000 
It’s The Experience, Stupid! / David Brudney ISHC / Nov 2000 



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