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How to Keep a Hotel Sales Team Vital During
Unprecedented Challenging Times? Push Ups

 

Benchmark Hospitality International’s “Pushers”

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, December 2009 … It’s no secret to anyone who has signed online, picked up a newspaper, or made a sales call during the past year that 2009 will go down in history as The Great Recession.  To say this year has been a business challenge is a gross understatement.  But for those in the sales profession, particularly within the hospitality industry, it’s been an exercise in daily – sometimes hourly – motivation, and overcoming what seemed at times to be insurmountable odds.

How do you keep a sales team vital when navigating through such a business climate?  Early in 2009, Benchmark Hospitality Vice President Laura Neumann, who is also General Manager at the company’s Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs and is herself an energy powerhouse, thought she had an answer; Push Ups.  

“Gets the blood flowing, keeps everyone in shape and focused on a common and quite attainable goal … and, amazingly, enhances productivity,” said Ms. Neumann.  “When initially suggested to me by an athlete and professional coach for sports, health and executive fitness, I had to admit some doubt.  But we went with it first as a property and then as more joined our group of “pushers,” as a companywide initiative.  Now we have 60+ Benchmark Hospitality International employees coast to coast involved.”  Neumann continued with, “and it’s not just in the workplace, we’re receiving photos of people on vacation, on business trips, everywhere dropping to the floor to do their daily 100 and in turn challenge fellow pushers to stay on course and even better them.”  From Stonehenge to Haiti to Machu Picchu to New York City, the photos and terrific stories continue to roll in. 
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Cheyenne Mountain Resort sales team enjoying a Push on the fireplace after securing another contract for the new year
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To belong to the Pushers Club, all that’s required is a commitment to do push ups daily – yes, every day including weekends … 100 if possible and more if achievable, however, less is ok too (as long as they give it their all) – it’s based on ability and commitment.  

Most members “sign up” with pseudonyms that reflect their internal pusher identity, such as “Bar Curls Blaney” (Director of Food and Beverage Travis Blaney at Cheyenne Mountain Resort), “Bulldog” (a relentless newly-promoted sales manager at the resort) and “Road Warrior” (a favorite client who travels coast to coast with her pharmaceutical responsibilities).  “Body by Pope” is one who keeps Neumann and one of her key executives (Tights) in top form through his personal training expertise and desire to push the envelope on their physical and mental strength and endurance.  Neumann attributes her ability to “hang tough and stay the course” to him.  

The pusher initiative is deliberately kept manageable and fun, but this is not to suggest the group isn’t serious, because they are.  It’s about pushing past perceived limitations and going the distance -- particularly in revenue-producing departments with perceived insurmountable barriers, like generating sales in tough times.

“At the end of the day, this is about connecting as a group for a common goal of getting super energized to bring business to our properties during this extremely challenging business environment,” said Greg Champion, chief operating officer for Benchmark Hospitality International.  “Sometimes pushing more oxygen to the brain enhances strategic thinking and can give an edge in closing a deal.  Believe it or not, Benchmark has corporate customers inspired to do their own set of daily push ups -- and several have joined the company’s team of pushers.”  

Sales strategy is about sales results, and Benchmark’s Pushers have engaged in numerous site visits and collectively brought in over 1000 room nights and several meetings since the pusher initiative began earlier this year, resulting in substantial sales revenue.  Laura Neumann believes Cheyenne Mountain Resort and Benchmark Hospitality will have a strong 2010 in part because of the pusher initiative, which is chronicled in a blog http://cmrchallenge.blogspot.com/ and includes a New Year’s challenge of 100 consecutive push-ups, which most agree is not for the faint-hearted. 

Back to Cheyenne Mountain Resort -- the property enters 2010 with a stronger group meetings sales pace than 2009 and leads Benchmark Hospitality International with the quantity of room nights pre-booked for the New Year.  Coincidence?  Or is this in direct correlation with the Push-Up Challenge?   The naysayers are now very few.

Set on 217 lush acres, Cheyenne Mountain Resort features 316 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, each with a private balcony with mountain and golf course views; 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space; a championship Pete Dye-designed golf course; five swimming pools; 18 tennis courts, squash and racquetball courts as well as a pro shop; Health & Fitness Center; Aquatics Center, and a 35-acre recreation lake where guests enjoy sailboards, canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, volleyball on a sand beach, and catch-and-release fly fishing (the lake is stocked with big German Browns and rainbow trout). For more information contact 719-538-4000 or toll-free 800-428-8886 or visit www.cheyennemountain.com.  Cheyenne Mountain Resort is operated by Benchmark Hospitality International.

Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Hotels™.  The privately held company, launched in 1980, is a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers.  Benchmark Hospitality is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations.  Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston, with regional offices in New Jersey and Connecticut.  International offices are located in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark’s properties and additional information, visit www.benchmarkhospitality.com.  

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Contact: 

Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax
KenEllens@aol.com
 

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Also See: Cheyenne Mountain Resort's Good-neighbor Policy Pays Off; GM Laura Neumann Seen as Champion in Commitment to Social Responsibility / December 2009
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