The Lights Off They All Look The Same
|by Doug Kennedy, December 2006
Let's face it: the decision to pay today's hotel rates just to sleep 8 hours in a darkened guestroom isn't a rational, logical one. Every hotelier knows that our guests’ most fundamental need is four walls and a bed. Well okay, maybe we should add to that list a private bathroom, although speaking from experience there are some very nice B&B’s out there with shared baths that are still quite nice. (The good news is you don’t have to actually share your bath with anyone – it is just an industry term.)
All jokes aside, the point is that guests' fundamental needs for clean, safe lodging can be met for far less in your area. Whether at a local YMCA, a guesthouse, an international youth hostel, or at an ultra-economy property in your area, chances are your guests can find a place to sleep for a fraction of the rates your hotel is charging.
In other words, from a purely logical perspective, no guest in their right mind would pay the kind of rates mid-scale, upscale, and especially luxury hotels are commanding these days! Especially when you consider that the average guest at most hotels spends less than 4 of their 12 or so hours in the room actually awake, it’s really hard to argue logically that it is worth $20 - $50 or more dollars per awake-hour.
This fact, coupled with the fact that there are literally thousands of upscale and luxury properties out there generating billions in revenues, tells me that guests must be in their minds buying an “experience,” when our industry thinks we are renting them a guestroom.
Yet when you call most hotel salespeople these days, what you here most often is a list of facts and features. For example, if you ask salespeople: “Can you tell me a little about the hotel?” the first thing you get is the number of rooms followed by a list of facts.
“We are a 400 room hotel with two restaurants and one gift shop.” You call the next one, “We are a 292 room hotel with a restaurant and a gift shop.” The next says, “We have over 500 rooms...” and you think to yourself “Oh, perfect! I was looking for a 500 room hotel…” or “No thanks, I needed something in the 100 room range.”
(Now granted, those planning larger meetings might need this information, but should we not first ask how big their meeting is? Otherwise, if it is a small meeting we might even be turning them off by sounding like too big of a venue.)
Too many salespeople today start their “30 second commercials” and open proposals and outbound sales e-mails by feature-dumping a list of qualitative facts, as if a guest was going to make a decision logically and intellectually. Yet when we come to terms with the principle that guests are making an emotionally-based buying decision, it’s relatively easy to think of ways to appeal to their emotions. Here’s some training tips for your next sales meeting:
Make sure your salespeople never make the common mistake of inadvertently position higher rates in a negative way by saying apologetically “Oh, we only have our $XX rate left at that time.” Instead, show them how to create urgency by saying “Oh good, we still have rooms left for those dates!”
By remembering we are selling to buyers who are making emotional decisions
vs. rational ones, and by selling to their emotions vs. their intellect,
we can close more inquiries from today’s multi-tasking, over-informed callers
who have clicked on one too many links.
|Also See:||Train Your Front Desk To Overcome Challenges of Fielding Reservations Calls At The Front Desk / Doug Kennedy / October 2006|
|The Hotels Reservations Sales Process; Today’s Callers Want a Personalized and Customized Experience / Doug Kennedy / October 2006|
|It’s Time To Give Hotel Guests What They REALLY Need and Want Daily! Key Basics Some Hotels Still Fall Short On / Doug Kennedy / September 2006|
|Have You Listened To What Your Hotel Sales and Reservations Agents Are Saying To Real Customers? / Doug Kennedy / August 2006|
|Next Step In Revenue Optimization: Train Your Front Desk and Reservations Staff To “Maintain The Rate Fences” / Doug Kennedy / July 2006|
|Beyond “Outrageous,” and “Legendary” Customer Service Training: Creating “Ordinary Excellence, Daily!” / Doug Kennedy / June 2006|
|The Politics of Revenue Management / Doug Kennedy / June 2006|
|Hotel Sales “Steps” and “Processes” Are Out; Today’s Inquiry Caller’s Want A Personalized Sales Experience / Doug Kennedy / June 2006|