Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
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Training Seminars
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Social Media:

The Hotel Sales Tools
that NO Property Can Ignore .
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January 2011

The biggest challenge for hotel sales professionals is actually integrating social media into their sales processes rather viewing social media as just one more thing to do!  Just as Google has become an indispensible sales tool, social media offer tools that can make the sales process faster, more efficient and ultimately, more productive.

“Interest in and usage of social media will continue to display explosive growth in terms of theoretical reach (the ability to connect and engage sheer numbers of active travelers):  almost half of all travelers now have a page posted on a social site, 91 percent of which are posted on Facebook” (YPartnership, 12/28/10)

Changes in customer buying behavior in terms of venue selection and researching not only the hotel but also the sales team make it imperative that social media is part of every hotel sales department’s sales  plan.   In a survey during an i-Meet webinar a poll of nearly 200 planners indicated that social media are important in venue selection.

The sales process has evolved from a linear, transactional process to a collaborative, interactive one.  The impact of social networks implies a collaborative conversation – a dialogue that leads to mutual understanding and benefit

A prospect or client should be able to get a 360° view of the hotel and the sales team on social networks.  They need to be able to click on links to the sales professionals’ profiles or Fan pages.  Hotels should ensure that the settings, especially on FaceBook, separate the sales team’s personal pages from their ‘Fan’ or professional pages.   Links to the web site, blog, etc should also be prominent so that the planner never has to leave the ‘circle’. Once they move out of the circle, they may be tempted to visit other properties’ social media or web sites. 

How then do sales people integrate social media into the sales process:

Social Media Strategy by Market Segment.  Which social media are the most appropriate for which market segments?   Defining activities on social networks for each market segment and sales manager means providing guidance for developing individual profiles for personal branding and a strategy for developing Fans and networks.  With a defined individual strategy activities fall within the strategy and avoid the ‘trap’ of spending too much time on activities that are not targeted.  However, don’t assume that LinkedIn contacts don’t have SMERFE groups – they all have lives outside of their business activities.  The same goes for Facebook which is being adapted and used a business tool.  This is an excellent opportunity for cross promotion between segments.  

Prospecting.  A professional meeting planner indicated on a recent webinar that her LinkedIn is always open as it is her primary prospecting tool.   Social media discussion groups are a useful prospecting tool.  Discussion groups are selected on their composition of potential prospects and clients.   They are also a good way to build a network on LinkedIn.  Anyone can invite someone in a group that they belong to  into their network without having a recommendation.   Search on both LinkedIn and FaceBook is a powerful tool.   Searching for a targeted company provides not only info on the company but a list of employees, one or more of whom may be the contact that plans travel or meetings.  FaceBook search is great for locating SMERFE groups, weddings and other social events.

Referrals and Introductions.  Circles of influence!  Can someone in your network or in your Fan group refer you or introduce you to the contact you need to reach?  Recent statistics from a company called uRefer indicated that referrals close at a rate of about 50%, far higher than many other methods of prospecting.     The recommendation feature on LinkedIn is also a perfect tool to have your expertise validated by a third party. 

Qualifying.  How can you find the contact that plans meetings, groups or travel for the company.  A search for the targeted company on LinkedIn reveals not only information about the company including locations and other pertinent info  but also a list of employees both present and past and how many degrees of separation the sales person is from adding that planner to their network.  A search for an inquiry caller on LinkedIn or FaceBook can provide information about that person’s responsibility within the company and a picture so that when the call is made it is possible to visualize the person you are speaking to. 

Joining and Creating Communities.   A little known  and useful feature on Facebook permits a sales person or hotel to create or join a group. “Facebook groups allow you to further connect with friends on your network, creating a close-knit social network within the larger Web site. You can join any group on your network or create your own.” (How to Create Facebook Groups | eHow.com, 11/12/10) This means that you can form tight groups of clients or potential prospects with whom to communicate.  LinkedIn also offer this feature but groups on LinkedIn are so diverse and targeted, it is a matter of deciding which groups to join and participate in.

Posting on the Wall, Profile or Discussion groups.   Putting the ‘social’ into social networks! Many hotel sales people push out promotions on their wall or profile without interspersing them with information such as links to relevant articles that may be of interest to the their Fans or network.   Posting activities that are relevant but interesting gives their network or Fans a way to get  to know them better.   Asking questions and giving answers on LinkedIn is a powerful way to establish credibility and maintain top of mind awareness so that when prospects are ready to buy they think of the sales person and their hotel.   

The key with social networks is that the sales person has access to many more potential prospects than they could locate using traditional methods.  Social networks are also a place to get know and have a little fun communicating and interacting with prospects. Post videos, have contests for your Facebook Fans – everyone likes to do business with people that make them smile now and then!  

Do social networks replace the personal interaction – no!  But they are a way to establish connections so that when the conversation moves to a booking conversation,   a relationship has already begun and the potential for moving it to close may be greater!

The Best of Hotel Sales & Revenue Management Caffeine – the EBook! Weekly Shots of Hotel Sales & Revenue Management Caffeine has been delivered to more than 500 Inboxes every week with a mix of sales, revenue management and motivational tips and trends.    Now it’s an eBook.  At $6.99 it is the perfect gift for the sales and revenue management team!  The book is in a PDF format, downloadable into most eReaders.   Click here to get your copy!   Volume discounts for ten or more copies are available – contact Carol Verret at carol@carolverret.com. It will soon be on Amazon, formatted for Kindle.



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.net. 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.
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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
.
Also See: Recession Lessons – Post Recession Hotel Sales & Revenue Management / Carol Verret / December 2010

The Hotel Sales Office of 2011 – 4 Processes to Fuel Recovery / Carol Verret / October 2010

Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers for 2011 Webinar / September 2010

Niches Selling - Locating Lucrative Business that Few Hotels Pursue / August 2010

The Hotel General Manager - The Complexity of Leadership in a 2.0 World / Carol Verret / August 2010

Why Company Team Meetings are Critical This Year / Carol Verret / July 2010

Market Analysis and Sales Office Audit - Look Beyond the Obvious in Turnaround Situations / Carol Verret / June 2010

Dynamic versus Static Hotel Reviews: The Immediacy of Social Network Reviews / Carol Verret / May 2010

2.0 Your Hotel Sales Processes by Market Segment Series – The Corporate Market Webinar April 16 / Carol Verret / April 2010

Marketing to Changes in Consumer Behavior - It's No Longer 'One Size Fits All' / Carol Verret / March 2010

Outrageous! The Cure for the Post Recession Blues! / Carol Verret / March 2010

The Reset Button --- Innovation for Hotel Sales in 2010! / Carol Verret / February 2010

4 Changes in Consumer Behavior & The Revenue Opportunities for Hotels / Carol Verret / January 2010

Recession Lessons:  What Will Drive Hotel Sales & Revenue Management in 2010 / December 2009

4 Post Recession Shifts  in the Hotel Sales Environment; What You Need to Know for Success in 2010 / Carol Verret

The 20% Solution to Increased Market Share and Revenue / Carol Verret / October 2009

Managing Revenue by Market Segment – The Recovery Challenge for Sales and Revenue Managers / Carol Verret / September 2009

The Mindset of the 2010 Business Plan – Survival Mode or Recovery Mode? / Carol Verret / August 2009

The New 'Tipping Points' in the Planners Decision Process - You May be Surprised! / Carol Verret / June 2009

The New Normal – What Does the New Normal Look Like for Hotel Sales and Revenue Management / Carol Verret / May 2009

The New Hotel Sales and Revenue Management Metrics - This Could save Your Job! / Carol Verret / April 2009

Back to Hotel Sales Basics: The Basics Have Changed Big Time!  / Carol verret / March 2009

Stimulate Hotel Revenue -- The Economic Stimulus Package Opportunities / Carol Verret / February 2009

2009 The Game Changer for Innovation in Hotel Sales Processes / Carol Verret / January 2009

Contrarian Strategies for Hotel Sales Departments to Thrive in an Economic Downturn / Carol Verret / December 2008

‘Selling Into’ a Bad Economy – Overcoming Fear and Stealing Share / Carol Verret / October 2008

Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – Accelerated Sense of Urgency/ Carol Verret / September 2008

The Challenges and Opportunities for Independent and Boutique Hotels in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / August 2008

The Science of Hotel Sales* – The Benchmarking Imperative for Success in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / July 2008

Marketing & Revenue Management Plan 2009 - Succeeding in a Difficult Year / Carol Verret / July 2008

Tactics to Drive Business in a ‘Not So Hot’ Summer / Carol Verret / May 2008

All Marketers Are Liars - Web 2.0 Strategies for Hotel Sales and Marketing / Carol Verret / April 2008

Contingency Hotel Revenue Management Strategies 'I Will not Cut Prices'/ Carol Verret / March 2008

The Contingency Hotel Sales and Marketing Plan - Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst / Carol Verret / February 2008

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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