You Cannot Microwave Experience:
New Generation of Hotel Sales Professionals
|By David M. Brudney, ISHC, August 2006
Some of the best scouting of baseball talent today is being done by guys in their 70s who rely more on what they know and see rather than statistics, radar guns and stop watches.
Ned Colletti, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was defending his practice of retaining veteran baseball scouts recently and was quoted in the Los Angeles Times:
“You cannot microwave experience. The only way to
Colletti’s quote got me thinking about this new generation of hotel Sales professionals overall lack of experience. So many of the young people I find in hotel Sales today aren’t getting the experience necessary to become really good. Simply put, they just haven’t “lived it.” They’re not staying in Sales long enough. Many seem to be just passing through.
The turnover rate for hotel Sales professionals is 25%, but it seems higher to me, based upon my empirical work.
New Generation Not Interested in Long Term?
My consulting practice takes me into Sales offices all over the country,
affording me the opportunity to not only observe and evaluate this new
generation of Sales professionals, but also to interact and, more importantly,
listen to what they have to say.
They tell me they don’t want nor need the responsibility of becoming Sales and/or marketing directors - - regardless of the increased pay; that they refuse to spend 50 to 70 hours a week compromising their personal lives as have so many who have come before them.
I’ve listened to them tell me that the formal Sales training they receive is okay, but it’s mostly hit-and-miss with fair to poor repetition during the days and weeks that follow the formal training.
And I’m told that most want more from their current Sales directors and immediate supervisors; more time one-on-one, more coaching, more teaching and more mentoring.
A New Generation of Sales “Temps”?
Are we creating a generation of Sales “Temps”? Hotel Sales professionals merely “passing through,” spending less than five years before moving on to jobs outside hospitality, jobs and possible new careers that will complement this new generation’s work ethic and lifestyle demands?
Sales Professionals Risk Becoming Extinct?
This new generation of Sales pros doesn’t have the benefit of corporate Sales & marketing oversight and mentoring as in years past. Unfortunately, all that’s history now.
Bob Gilbert, CEO of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, tells me that more than half of HSMAI’s current membership consists of non-hotel Sales and marketing professionals, that the majority of HSMAI members come from the cruise, airline and car rental industries and other suppliers.
As more clients are moving to the Internet and new electronic sites to search for dates, space and rates, are we heading for a day when the hotel Sales pro will be replaced by Internet shopping and 100% outsourcing to the powerful, successful 3rd party lead suppliers?
Sales pros have limited access to the best clients, thanks to the commanding role now played by 3rd party lead providers. 3rd party providers are so influential that they now inadvertently “block out” less experienced hotel Sales pros. Who wants to deal with inexperienced rookies anymore?
Carpe Diem: seize the moment; do it now
First off, you can’t get good at hotel Sales without learning your craft, making mistakes and learning from them. Gaining experience is the most important part of the process.
If your stay in hotel Sales is going to be short, four-to-five years or less, then you owe it yourself and to your fellow employees, clients and prospects you’ve engaged, and to the owners and operators of your current hotel, to learn all you can and master the job you have before you leave. Years from now, no matter where your career takes you, you will look back on your time in hotel Sales and wish you had put more into it; wish you had experienced and learned more.
Master your time management. If you’re going to commit 8 hours a day to your job then you need to make sure you’re making the most of all 8. If you want to get good then don’t cheat yourself. Between the time you need to spend making proactive Sales calls, taking a prospect on a tour, sending and responding to prospect e-mails and phone calls, there won’t be time left for Internet surfing, I-pods, personal phone calls or - - the #1 “time-eater” of all time - - non-business visiting with co-workers.What can Management do?
Demonstrate Sales is valued. Management needs to show by actions, not just words, that Sales personnel are valued. Managers must show interest in the sales process. Compensation packages must be competitive, inside and outside the industry. Establish healthy bonus plans that reward Sales pros for producing above and beyond.So, there you have lesson #1: you can’t microwave experience. Just like baseball’s Colletti, owners, operators and asset managers want and need Sales professionals who have “lived it?” How can we expect this new generation of Sales pros to “live it” if they are, in fact, not putting in the time and merely passing through?
As always, I welcome your feedback, ideas and opinions. Are today’s Sales pros becoming “Temps”? Is the profession - - as we know it - - at risk in becoming extinct, replaced by Internet shopping agents and 3rd party lead providers?
My personal opinion? I believe there will always be a need for product savvy, service-oriented Sales pros working on property. Answering the prospects’ tough questions confidently from solid, hands on experience. It’s a good, rewarding job for those committed to “living it.” Management, owners, asset managers, are you listening?
Lesson #2? Self-assessment. Don’t leave home without it. That’s the topic for my next article.
© copyright 2006
|Also See||New Breed of Hotel Sales Associates Lacking Curiosity? Maybe it’s Not a Generational Thing / David Brudney ISHC / July 2006|
|Generation X Hotel Sales Associates: All Important Curiosity Factor Missing? / David Brudney / June 2006|
|Physical Therapy Sessions: A Good Reminder for Professional Selling Fundamentals / David M. Brudney / April 2006|
|Hotel Marketing Starts Locally; Never Forget Your Neighbors / David M. Brudney / March 2006|
|Notes from the ALIS Conference / David Brudney / February 2006|
|General Managers Workshop: Managing Today's Hotel Sales Teams / July 2005|
|Owners & Asset Managers: Need Expert Advice, Referral? Ask A Trusted Consultant / David M. Brudney, ISHC / May 2005|
|Larry May: The Passing Of Another Hotel Soldier / David Brudney ISHC / April 2005|
|Hotel Owners: Better, Worse or About the Same? / David Brudney ISHC / December 2004|
|Let’s Put Bush and Kerry Through the RFP Process / October 2004|
|Bev Kordsmeier, Hyatt Sales’ First Lady / April 2004|
|Message to Hotel Sales Associates: “It’s Not You!”/ January 2004|
|What Innkeepers Want Every Christmas? Fill Those Empty Rooms / December 2003|
|Uncertain Times Call for Return to Backyard Basics / April 2003|
|Time to “Group Up”? Maybe, Maybe Not / May 2002|
|America’s Front Desk Fights Back! / January 2002|
|Front Desk Fails To Catch America’s Hospitality Spirit / David Brudney ISHC / November 2001|
|A Very Good Time For That Sales Audit / David Brudney ISHC / Sept 2001|
|More Theater, Less Zombies / David Brudney ISHC / Dec 2000|
|It’s The Experience, Stupid! / David Brudney ISHC / Nov 2000|
Return to David Brudney & Associates Special
Reports and Articles
Return to Hotel.Online Ideas and Trends
Search Hotel Online