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Change is the Buzz – Rebooting Hotel Sales
Activity at the Property Level
 

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January 2008 - The Washington Post reported on December 31 that Marriott stock declined by 31% in 2007 -- should we be worried?  Concern is an appropriate response.  As the disposable income of leisure travelers is pressed by increasing gas prices and declining home values, business travel may be suppressed by a contracting economy constrained by declining profits and subsequent falling share prices in many market sectors. 

The research is mixed on the impact of developments in the economy on the hotel industry in 2008.  PKF produced a forecast of relative optimism based upon limited new supply and a slowing economy.  However, the prestigious researchers also hedged their bets by producing a forecast based upon a hypothetical recession.   Given the decline in the jobs market last week, we may want to revisit PKFs ‘hypothetical’ recession scenario.

If the leisure and corporate transient markets decline, the pressure will be on hotel sales departments to increase group sales.   If  the cold call is ineffective and “…the consumer has taken control”, due to the influence of social marketing including the impact of review sites  as was suggested in a recent HSMAI conference, how does this impact the processes of hotel sales departments?

What changes about the activities engaged in by hotel sales people when they come to work in the morning?  This is the first full week of work in 2008 – the strategies and subsequent activities pursued in this first week may well set the standard for success or ‘challenges’ for the entire year. 

  • New Business Development Redefined.    It becomes critical to have a clear picture of the ‘ideal client’ by market segment.    The exercise of developing the DNA of the client that fits the objectives of the revenue management strategy for each segment and opportunity period focuses the sales effort and becomes the filter through which leads and inquiries are evaluated.    (It also minimizes the haggling between sales and revenue management!)  Develop strategies to approach new prospects and position the hotel on these potential clients’ radar screen.  Be at the top of their minds when they are ready to ‘buy’.
  • Research and Evaluation.   The time spent on researching potential clients on the internet and other resources is time well spent.  Many sales people that are evaluated on the number of client contacts per week fear that the time it takes to do this research is not accounted for in the activity reports.  It is way past time that sales people are evaluated on the quality of the contacts made and into the quantity.  Bear in mind that two quality contacts a week is still unacceptable!
  • Apply the ‘Filter’ to the Database.   Time spent on accounts that no longer fit the ‘ideal’ DNA for the hotel is time wasted.  Routine traces on these clients should focus on qualification and they should be re-prioritized based upon the new information.  It is all too comfortable to spend a great deal of time on simply contacting old clients as the trace comes up.
  • Account Mapping.  One of the best sources of new business is from existing accounts.  However, this is rarely done in a systematic manner.     I engaged in a coaching experience with a client who was given the task of account mapping a University close to the hotel.   A systematic approach was developed to ensure that every contact within that account was identified and qualified for every piece of potential hotel revenue.   More on this process in a later article.
  • RFPS and Inquiries.  Apply the same filter to these opportunities.  To those that fit the DNA profile, respond quickly, completely and creatively.  Politely decline those that don’t’ – don’t waste time responding in detail to RFPs that don’t match the objectives.  The meeting planner will appreciate the fact that you haven’t wasted their time either. 
  • Prioritize and Plan Activity.  The ultimate measure of activity is to focus first on those things that have the potential to produce revenue – everything else can wait!   Commission sales people understand this and prioritize their activity and prospects by likelihood of ‘close’.  Laser focus is required to plan each day executing activities that will ‘move the ball down the field ’ toward the revenue objectives.   A good DOS will work with the staff to ensure that they are investing time in revenue generating activity.
Many markets have already felt the impact of a slowing economy – others have been impacted by new supply.  In both scenarios, the pressure will be on hotel sales departments in a way that many hotel sales people have not experienced in the recent past. 

Change is the new buzz – changes in the economic environment should prompt changes in the way hotel sales is done if the hotel’s revenue objectives for 2008 are to be met. 

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.  View the Hotel Sales Blog at 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: 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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