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Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, August 10, 2009

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Hotel Common Sense –

A Sales Self-evaluation Test for General Managers



 
 
 

By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS, August 13, 2009

It is common knowledge and an undisputed fact that general managers at almost any size hotel could take over the sales efforts for that hotel and have the occupancy and RevPAR near the capacity level within just a few weeks.

Well, "almost" common knowledge and probably highly disputable ……………

Having been in both operations and sales at different points in our careers, Howard Feiertag and I appreciate the value and contributions of each.

Here is a chance for General Managers to examine the other perspective. You are invited to take this little test (without looking at the answers)

Take a chance and think about your responses:

  1. List your hotel’s top 10 accounts, by individual and company name
  2. How many in-house guests did you personally talk with this past week? (more than the good morning type of greeting)
  3. How many regular guests did you call on the phone last week to say “thank you for using our hotel’s services and asking if there is anything we can do better?”
  4. How many local community activities did you personally attend the past week as your hotel’s official representative?
  5. How many outside sales calls did you make with the sales manager last week? If you do not have a sales manager, how many calls did you make alone?
  6. What did you do between 11:30 am and 12:30 PM last Wednesday?
  7. When did you personally last review sales files and call reports?
  8. When was the last sales department/team meeting? Were you there?
  9. When was the last time you personally called on the phone a guest who returned a comment card? (positive or negative comments)
  10. How many hours did sales staff spend last week in non-productive sales activities?
Some possible responses:
  1. Every General Managers should know the top 10. Contacts that the General Managers has may be different from others on staff, but regular networking (at least once per month per client) pays HUGE dividends.
  2. Every General Managers should visit with at least five registered guests weekly, at morning coffee, at checkout, the restaurant, the pool, etc. These guests are prime candidates for repeat business or positive word of mouth promotion for your hotel, at virtually no cost.  
  3. Again, five is a workable, meaningful number for phoning regular guests.
  4. The General Managers is the CEO of your hotel.  Every organization, be it the Chamber of Commerce or the Kiwanis, welcomes and values the CEO.  Involved CEOs are often a hotel’s best sales person.
  5. With no sales staff, a General Managers must make 3-5 calls per day on average to maintain, not gain ground.  With a sales team, 8-10 calls per week can make a difference.
  6. If a full service hotel, an effective General Managers will use this busy time of day to tour the restaurants, visit the kitchen, and perhaps pour coffee in a banquet, which will shock and definitely please most meeting attendees.  If a rooms-only hotel, the General Managers should be having at least two business lunches per week.  That is what your competitors are doing. 
  7. This one is not an open and shut case, as there are so many variables. Regular review of sales files is an acceptable answer, but this should be at least weekly, with personal follow-up with the sales manager.  
  8. Sales meetings should be before 8:30 am or after 5 PM to avoid prime contact and selling time.  Successful teams value General Managers who attend, offer support and occasional input.
  9. The very small percentage of guests who take the time to tell what went well or wrong need to be TREASURED as resources by General Managers. These people are the heart of word-of-mouth promotion. Call as many as you can – it will be worth it!
  10. You know the answer to this one has to be that we have sales staff selling, not going to the bank, to the post office or the bakery. If we are going to steal market share, we need to be selling, not making change.
General Managers – how did you score today?  

What are you going to do differently tomorrow? 
 

"The General Manager is the #1 salesperson. S/he must take part in:
  • guidance and direction of the staff
  • personal involvement with guests and personnel
  • meeting clients in the hotel
  • calling on at least one potential client daily ” 
      Bob Durbin, former Executive Vice President, Sheraton Hotels
      (Quote found in Educational Institute’s HOSPITALITY FOR SALE)


 

Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.
 

I was invited by Lorman Education Services to offer a teleconference on this topic and they have agreed to offer a $50 discount for any of my readers that mention discount code Z7745121 when they register online.

Effective Sales Management: 
Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and Expense Budgeting

September 14, 2009 
1:00 PM ET 
Program # 382449
Both parts of this series on Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and Expense Budgeting  are in the teleconference.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is frequently invited to participate at franchise meetings, management company and hospitality association industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment in leading hospitality industry organizations at multiple levels, with demonstrated competencies as a strong leader, relationship builder, problem solver and mentor. He conducts mystery-shopping reviews of quality in operations and marketing, including repositioning of hotels.

Expertise and Research Interest
• Sales Management and training
• Turn-around and revenue management
• Professional Development & Customer Service
• Hospitality Leadership and Executive Education
• Making Cultural Diversity Real
• Accreditation & Developing Academic Hospitality programs

He writes weekly columns for a number of global online services and has published more than 400 articles & columns on the hotel industry.  He co-authored (with Howard Feiertag, CHA CMP) LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES, which is available from info@smartbizzonline.com, ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com  and other industry sources.  He resides in Phoenix, Arizona and expects to publish in 2009 his 2nd book based on his dissertation – The Top 100 People of All Time Who Most Dramatically Affected the Hotel Industry.

Hogan’s professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development and asset management on both a single and multi-property basis, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations in a specialty hotel brand for six years.

He holds a number of industry certifications (CHA, CHE, MHS, ACI) and is a past recipient of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism, as well as operational and marketing awards from international brands.  He has served as President of both city and state hotel associations.

John’s background includes teaching college level courses as an adjunct professor at three different colleges and universities over a 20-year period, while managing with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independent hotels.  He was the principal in an independent training & consulting group for more than 12 years serving associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness.  He joined Best Western International in spring of 2000, where over the next 8 years he created and developed a blended learning system as the Director of Education & Cultural Diversity for the world’s largest hotel chain. 

He has served on several industry boards that deal with education and/or cultural diversity and as brand liaison to the NAACP and the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association with his long-term involvement in the Certified Hotel Owner program.  He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career. 

Service to the Industry and Hospitality Education includes working with the Educational Institute Certification Commission of the AH&LA, the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute, the AH&LA Multicultural Advisory Council, the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, the Commission for Accreditation on Hospitality Management Programs, the AH&LA and AAHOA Education and Training Committees, the Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (CHRIE), the International Hotel Show and the Certified Hotel Owner program for the Asian American Hotel Owners’ Association.
 

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Contact:

Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
johnjhogan@yahoo.com

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Also See: Hotel Common Sense – Effective Sales Management: Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and  Expense Budgeting / Part 2 of 2 / Dr. John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense – Effective Sales Management: Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and  Expense Budgeting / Part 1 of 2 / Dr. John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense -Recognizing There is More than One Approach to Ongoing Success in Building Revenues / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Hotel Common Sense – A New Look at Awards and Recognition / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Lessons on Brands and Discounting / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Hotel Common Sense Using Business Social Networks Productively / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
A Common Sense Review Process for Capital Investments / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Understanding Values: The Challenge to Identify and Keep Them During Tough Economic Times / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Personal Stories of Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
What is Your Definition of Leadership? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Examining Why Do We Really Do What We Do? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Act As if You Are Number Two / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Fundamentals for Retaining Quality Staff / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Customer Relationship Management Requires a Blending of High Tech and High Touch for Optimal Results / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Do You Know Where Your Customer Is? Or Knowing Where Your Business Originates / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Understanding what we measure and making it count! Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
A Different Appraisal of Our Biggest Challenges in 2009 / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Reflections: Mentors and Friends - Vermont Hoteliers Borden and Louise Avery and their Son Allen / Dr John Hogan / March 2009
Remember to Embrace the Essentials in Sales; Revenue and net profits can often depend on how one of the most fundamental practices in sales- how incoming phone calls are handled / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Working With Your Hotel Franchisor for Everyone’s Success / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Evaluating the franchise business model as a potential franchisee / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment / Dr. John Hogan / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Four Steps: How to Make More Sales Calls than Any Other Way Or Trade Shows Can Be Invaluable If. . . / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Chief Engineers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
"A Baker's Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel  Banquet Managers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
Making New Year's Sales and Marketing Resolutions Real and Practical / Dr. John Hogan / January 2009
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Probing Hotel Expenses / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Fundamentals of Hotel Sales Planning / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
A Message for Hoteliers: Giving Thanks - and Not Just One Day Each Year! / Dr John Hogan / November 2008
Hoteliers Must Remember the Lessons of Reasonable Care! / John Hogan / November 2008
Enthusiastic and Sincere Attitudes Will Pay Off For Hotel Salespeople / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Unleash the Potential! Recognize the True Value of Your Front Line Sales People / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Defining Hospitality - Readers Respond with their Insights / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
Understanding the Value and Power of Breakfast / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Restaurant Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Food and Beverage Directors / Hotel Common Sense / John Hoganv/ September 2008
My Definition of Hospitality. What’s Yours? / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
Principles for Success as a Hotel Manager: 6 Observations on Finding and Employing Problem Solvers / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / August 2008
Ways to Identify and Build Repeat Guests / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008 
Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
...

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