Carol Verret Consulting 
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The Contingency Hotel Sales and Marketing Plan -
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
 

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February 2008 - In this economic climate, there are hotels that will continue to generate revenue and those that will generate excuses.  What will be the difference - those hotels that develop contingency plans with measurable 'triggers' versus  those that sit by and watch the economy take its toll on their revenue base.
  
Most hotels' sales and marketing plans were completed prior to the accelerated downturn of Q4 last year.  "The central bank said it now sees the economy growing at a rate between1.3% to 2% this year, down from its previous forecast from October of growth between 1.8% and 2.5% for 2008." (CNN, 02/20/08).
  
If that wasn't bad enough it also predicts that "...it expects the unemployment rate for the year to be between 5.2% and 5.3%, up from the 4.8 % to 4.9% range previously given."  Why is this important?  When unemployment begins to be an issue combined with the crisis in the housing market and decreasing home values, disposable income drops and travel becomes more constrained.
  
Corporations are examining their travel polices to reduce the number and/or size of meetings and reducing unnecessary travel.  Smith Travels' latest statistics for the week of February 9 for the entire US market reflect a decrease in demand of 4% while ADRs increased by 4.8% resulting in a REVPAR increase of .8% 
Even Wendy's rolled out its contingency plan to counteract more cost conscious consumers by increasing its dollar menu and adding low cost wraps.   What are you doing to insulate yourself from economic downturns in your key market segments?
  
If you have a hotel in a market that is doing well, don't become complacent.  There is normally a lag time before the impact of declining economic indices is felt.  Perhaps   the hotel's market will remain insulated from the declining economic indicators - tech stocks and related industries are in a market sector that's thriving.  However, better to have a plan in place with actionable triggers and not need it than not to have one in place if the market goes soft.

What are the elements of a sales and marketing contingency plan?

  • Monitor all market segments that could be impacted.  RSS feeds give you instant up to date access to economic news.  For example, the Sharper Image filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy the day I am writing this newsletter.  GMAC announced an hour ago that they will close 15 of their 20 North American offices an hour ago.  How are you staying on top of developments at your large accounts?
  • Develop a plan on how to counteract similar situations with your top accounts.  Sharper Image filing Chapter 11 - who thought that would happen?  Don't' wait for it to happen -develop a plan with actionable steps on how you would counter the loss or cutbacks in primary accounts through other sales and marketing initiatives.  For example, if a major account drops 5% ( the measurable 'trigger') in production, which smaller higher rated accounts that may have been displaced by the discounted RFPS can you pursue? 
  • Check in with groups on the books.  For both corporate and SMERFE groups, check in and see how their attendance is shaping up.  Don't wait for them to call you with room block reductions and/o r cancellations.  Develop an action plan to replace lost revenue on a short term basis if necessary - ecommerce initiatives offer excellent opportunities to do this. 
  • Every contingency plan needs measurable 'triggers'.  This means that if a large account reduces production by X%, you will pull the trigger on a plan to replace it.  The same with groups, if a group of X number of rooms cancels, have an ecommerce plan in place ready to go to replace the revenue and rooms.
  • Treat every inquiry and RFP like gold.  Inquiries are an opportunity to have an introduction to an organization or company hat you may not have known about otherwise.  The inquiry isn't just about the event that they are inquiring for, it is an opportunity to qualify an account for additional business.
  • Resist the urge to cut the training budget.  This economic downturn has come on relatively suddenly after a prolonged period of relative prosperity.  This means that you may have sales people that have only known the good times and may not have the skill sets to sell effectively for the difficult times.   Tom Peters wrote that the average company in North America only spends 26 hours on training per year per employee and that it is difficult to develop champions on that training schedule.  Do you think Tiger Woods only practices 26 hours a year? 
The economic ugliness is expected to linger until sometime in 2009 according to the Bloomberg report.  Take the steps to protect your revenue base and enable contingency strategies to thrive in a down economy.  Heroes are developed  in tough times not in good times - generate revenue not excuses! 
 
Carol Verret and Associates is offering a series of public hotel sales seminars nationwide this year in response to growing demand from the hotel community. For more information on where they are to be held or how your hotel or management company can sponsor one, email Carol at carol@carolverret.com or call (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.  Visit www.hotelsalesblog.com 

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008


 
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: Change is the Buzz – Rebooting Hotel Sales Activity at the Property Level / Carol Verret / January 2008
Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers Ramped Up for 2008 / Carol Verret / November 2007
Five Tips to Improving Hotel Customer Service with User Generated Reviews / Carol Verret / October 2007
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – A Seismic Shift in 2008! / Carol Verret / September 2007
GMs – How User Generated Review Sites Can Make you a Better Manager! / Carol Verret / September 2007
Web 2.0 and Hotel Sales Strategies for '08; What Are Your Clients Saying About You? / Carol Verret / August 2007
“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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