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New Ground-Breaking Centre for Sales Excellence an Industry Paradigm

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, September 2014 … A highly progressive new sales concept is driving performance, enhancing employee development and raising revenues at Benchmark Hospitality International®, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company.  Launched in January and already showing strong results, the Benchmark Centre for Sales Excellence (BCSE) offers a holistic curriculum that provides sales professionals at its 40 hotels, resorts and conference centers with innovative, personalized resources and individual coaching.  Piloted and implemented by seasoned and experienced Benchmark sales executives, the ground-breaking program is designed not only to boost sales performance but to enhance each sales professional's personal development.  

In just eight months, the program has generated impressive results, significantly raising participants' sales production.  Sales professionals who are engaged in the program have experienced average revenue production increases from 88 percent to 122 percent of goal.

"The core objective of BCSE is to facilitate personal growth while building strategic sales skills.  An engaged, productive and content sales professional ultimately reduces turnover, which is one of the keys to consistent achievement of sales production goals," says Andy Finn, Benchmark's Vice President of Group Sales and Director of BCSE. 

BCSE's unique curriculum is customized and supports individuals and teams at all levels and at all properties, inspiring them to meet and exceed their sales goals.  While personal coaching and mentorship form the fulcrum of the program, other components such as database services, strategic account development, marketing optimization, wellness and personal development, and formal sales training can be integrated into the individual participant's curriculum as needed.

The new program facilitated the transition into the Benchmark Sales Team for Katie Rooney, national sales manager at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, a Personal Luxury hotel located near San Diego. New to the company and the West Coast, Rooney benefited from the comprehensive information available and the mentoring skills of Andy Finn. "At first, I was hesitant," she notes. "I saw it as monitoring and judging." But Rooney soon understood it was a development program and felt free to discuss her personal strengths and weaknesses, while engaging in the program's in-depth and holistic approach.  "I've never seen a mentoring program like this before," she says. "It not only showed me practical skills, it built my confidence and helped me to unite my sales team. We exceeded our goals by 145 percent."

Because much of Benchmark's revenues come from group business, BCSE'S initial efforts focused on group production; however, the program has quickly expanded, supporting sales professionals in Catering, Leisure and Business Travel segments.  Program participants initially receive an extensive evaluation following a prescribed format whereby the sales professional is asked to self-evaluate himself/herself.  A customized program is then crafted to specifically address each person's development needs. Each participant is mentored by Finn and others to guide their development.  "Through Andy's interaction we often find our key company leaders from our CEO, Alex Cabañas, to our Operational Vice Presidents and myself becoming directly involved with helping to close business opportunities on behalf of Benchmark," stated Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Ted Davis.

One of the world's fastest-growing hotel companies, Benchmark Hospitality offers a diverse, technically advanced and personalized array of resources to its sales staff and, by extension, to the ownership of the properties the company operates.  The addition of the BCSE now provides additional resources that are highly strategic, comprehensive and designed to become an integral part of Benchmark's sales strategy and personal development. The program is divided into six support areas:

Personal Coaching and Mentoring provides one-on-one coaching and mentoring, a customized and empowering action plan and consistent follow up. 

Strategic Database Services helps sales professionals by providing analytical expertise to maximize Benchmark's Delphi database and target new business opportunities from various sources. The resource also provides data to confirm and calibrate strategic deployment and alignment.  

Global Account Development includes an orientation program for new sales professionals, strategic assistance in planning and participating in trade shows and customer events, and leveraging of Benchmark's Global Key Account Program.

Marketing Optimization covers personal branding, marketing principles, effective social media techniques, digital media and e-marketing initiatives.

Sales Training & Communication is delivered through an extensive array of training programs and Benchmark's Annual Sales Training Conference, and now includes a robust library of videos, books and periodicals for sales, marketing and personal development, of which each can be customized to the sales professionals needs.

Wellness/Fitness/Counseling brings a progressive and empathetic element to BCSE that reflects Benchmark Hospitality's vision and ongoing concern for its employees and clients. A function of Human Resources, the program provides physical exams, life coaching, personal fitness and nutrition advice, Stop Smoking programs and counseling on dress and appearance. Complete confidentiality is assured. 

"We see personal development as a crucial element in the success of BCSE," says Davis.  "Goal achievement allows the resorts and hotels that Benchmark Hospitality manages to meet and exceed budget.  But the human factor is key here. We want to help our sales teams meet the personal and professional challenges of today's business environment.  Through these innovative and diverse personal growth initiatives, we empower our employees and ensure better performance, lower turnover and job satisfaction." 

Ted Davis credits the exceptional mentoring skills of the Benchmark team, headed by Andy Finn.  "We bring tremendous technical and intellectual resources to BCSE," he says. "But even a carefully crafted and comprehensive program like this won't work without humanity, empathy and genuine concern for the individual. Otherwise the program will be seen as punitive rather than affirmative."

The Benchmark Centre for Sales Excellence is an extension of Benchmark Hospitality's vision and commitment to its employees and clients. According to the company's Founder and Chairman Burt Cabañas, "The oil that fuels the Benchmark Hospitality engine is sales productivity. For us to dedicate financial and human resources to assist our sales professionals to be the best that they can be, only makes sense."

"That commitment to employee success truly is at the heart of the Benchmark culture," says Vincent Cicerale, senior sales manager at The Heldrich, a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property located in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  "Most companies talk about being a family, the importance of work and life balance but they don't really live it, much less give you the tools to achieve it. This was a huge opportunity to be better in work and in life." 

About Benchmark Hospitality International

Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  The company’s two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan. As a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence.  Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile.  For additional company information visit www.benchmarkhospitality.com.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels

Contact: Ken Ellens

KenEllens@aol.com / 201-758-2864

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