News for the Hospitality Executive
Front Desk Training Is The Key To Capturing More Walk-In Business
|by Doug Kennedy
June 1, 2009
While many hotels have focused attention in recent years on helping reservations agents increase their sales effectiveness, many are still overlooking the numerous other sales opportunities that front desk sales associates encounter everyday. One such opportunity is the walk-in inquiry. Depending on your market segment, brand, and especially your location, walk-in sales can represent a significant source of additional revenue.
Unfortunately, the hotel industry overall does a less than adequate job of selling to walk-ins. Typically, the car pulls up out front and someone gets out; sometimes it’s the mom, sometimes it’s the dad, sometimes it’s the 12 year old kid. Regardless of who it is, they all ask the same question: “How much are your rooms?” All too often associates simply say “$99 a night.” Nothing more is mentioned other than price. And what’s the worst mistake you can make in sales? Quoting a price without demonstrating value.
When you stop to consider it, the walk-in sales opportunity provides the hotel with some significant advantages over other distribution channels. For one, the sales person can visually evaluate the guests needs and wants. Are they dressed as if on a business trip, or on vacation? What is their age? Are they traveling alone or with family? What is their level of commitment; do they park the car and walk-in with luggage, or do they just run in to find out the price?
A second advantage is that the sales prospect can see the product firsthand and is able to formulate a first impression. (This is why it is critical for hotels to maintain curb appeal.) Another significant advantage in selling to walk-ins is that it takes more effort for the prospect to shop around. It’s harder to get back in the car and drive down the road than it is to click on the next Internet link or to dial the phone number of the next property.
If you’re looking to capture and convert more walk-in inquiries into bookings, here are some training tips to review at your next front office meeting:
By employing the basic sales principles for capturing walk-ins, your front desk team can help your hotel maximize it’s market share even in a down market
Doug Kennedy, President
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