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The New Realities of Hotel Sales –
Focus on Revenue Generation

Carol Verret / January 2004
January 2004

The issue of sales focus is not a very sexy topic but then January tends to be a month of focusing upon executing the plans made last year. The Marketing Plans are done (they are done, aren't they?) and now is the time to implement the ambitious goals laid out within them. None of this is going to happen unless and until the sales force is focused.

I walked into a hotel recently and asked the Director of Sales what the issues were that I could assist her with. She replied that one of them was Time Management. Over the course of the next few days I observed that she was easily distracted, had a very brief attention span and many of the other employees of the hotel would just drift into her office and "chat." She welcomed interruptions.

In another instance, I received a phone call from a client who asked me to keep an ear to the ground for a Director of Sales for one of his hotels. This client had just recently replaced this position so I inquired as to what happened. He replied that the DOS had resigned because she didn't want to be held accountable. They had just initiated a new reporting system.

There is a coaching client who welcomes the formulation of Action Plans and then has every "reason" not to execute them -- the front desk needed help, he had so many meetings to attend, etc. You get the idea.

The issue here isn't really Time Management; it is the lack of focus. Sometimes it is a matter of organizing time but most often it is avoidance behavior. If they never have to execute the plan because of "other" distractions then they can't ever get rejected or fail.

My message to all of you to whom this behavior seems familiar is to get over it! One of the new realities of hotel sales is accountability. If sales people are not prepared to operate in that environment then it is time for them to find a new career path. If sales people are just waiting for the boom times to return when they weren't held accountable, move on, the "boom" times are not coming back any time soon.

Focus is not about getting organized -- it is about being prioritized. The organization of bits of paper is not focus (and they said with computers we would become paperless -- NOT). The organization of files or the folders in your Inbox are not focus. Focus is about deciding which things are priorities that generate new revenue and maintain business. Focus is about moving the ball down the field toward the goal every day!

There are things that sales people and their managers can do to assist in developing a "focused" orientation:

Analyze Daily Activity
Force yourself to write down everything you do for a day and for how long. No cheating! Review it with management. I had a boss who asked me to do this once and it was very instructive for both of us. When we both analyzed it, it allowed each of us to understand where the other's priorities were and to align them so that we were working on the same issues. So often we do the things we think management wants us to do when they have different priorities.

Prioritize Activity
Calling existing clients to have a chat is not a priority -- there is enough time at the end of the day to leave a message, send an email and say "hello." Messages and emails are wonderful things -- they don't take long to write and they let the other person know you are thinking about them. Priorities are contracts, proposals, site inspections, finding new prospects -- everything associated with revenue generation. Everything else can wait or be done by someone else!

Reduce or Eliminate Interruptions
I know a General Manager who, when her door is closed, attaches a pack of Post It notes to her door. Her staff knows not to interrupt her when the door is closed until after they have called the fire department! The staff writes down on the post-it note why they want to talk to her. She responds when she is done with what it is she is doing. The same applies to sales. Close the door; post a sign indicating that you are doing sales activity and that unless it is an emergency, please leave a note. You will be amazed at how few notes are left.

Prioritize the Task List
This assumes that most of you are using or have access to a contact management program. It could be ACT!, Outlook or any of the good hotel-specific programs on the market. They work only if you use them. (I check many of these with my clients and often find uncompleted activities from 2002.) You have the capability in many of these to assign a priority to each activity. Assign the highest priority to those that impact revenue generation. The rest can wait. Management, I would advise you to ask for the task list for the coming week as well as the activity report from the past week. This helps you and the sales staff to align the priorities of weekly sales activity.

True confessions time -- my office is populated by stacks of paper that should go into files. Someone said to me once that I must be very organized. After I stifled a laugh, I replied no -- I am prioritized. My priorities are my clients and the generation of revenue. My clients don't care about what my office looks like as long as I am serving them well. Your clients don't either -- nor will management if you are generating revenue for the hotel.

Carol Verret is President of Carol Verret Consulting and Training, a company offering consulting and training seminars to the hospitality industry in the areas of sales and marketing and customer service.  If you missed attending our live webcasts in the Training Byte Series in 2003, you will be glad to know that we are now offering each "Training Byte" in PDF format on our web site. We will not be repeating these webcasts in 2004. To order your copy, please visit

Watch for our new Training Byte Series for 2004

Verret is a twenty-year veteran of the hotel industry. She arrived in Denver in 1984 in the midst of an economic downturn and quickly established herself as an expert in sales and marketing in hotel turn-around situations, applying her formula for REVPAR improvement. To learn more about Carol Verret, Consulting and Training, visit her web site at

Send email to [email protected]

copyright © Carol Verret, 2004

Carol Verret
  3140 S. Peoria St, PMB 436
  Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 618-4065
Web Site:
Email: [email protected]
Also See: Hotel Sales -- Innovation in the Face of Limitations / Carol Verret / Novembe 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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