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Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales
People – A Seismic Shift in 2008!


September 2007

This annual update of successful habits finds that the process of hotel sales (and hotel sales training that goes with it!) has undergone a seismic shift.  If anyone doubts this, read the HSMAI report on the recent hotel sales strategy conference where a panel of meeting and event planners  tells hotel sales people that they had ‘better get  online for RFPs and bookings’.    (HSMAI, 9/07)

“It’s not big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow”* applies more than ever – if your sales people are busy making cold calls to directories and Top 100 lists – you are not on board with the impact of the online space in terms of online RFPS, bookings and user generated content sites like blogs and review sites like Trip advisor.

The fast eat the slow by responding to online RFPs in warp speed, responding to negative reviews on online review sites, managing the hotel’s online presence to ensure that the information and rates are transparent across all channels and participating in online RFP sites that are appropriate to the hotel’s position in the market.  Small group booking sites are increasingly important – both those on the franchise site and the OTA sites. 

Effective communication is critical – both email and being able to ‘sell’ over the phone when a planner finally is reached.   A planner on the HSMAI panel indicated that hotel sales people need to be able to sell over the phone once an RFP has been responded to.    After three years of taking orders, telephone selling skills are critical – a hotel sales person may only get one shot at letting a planner know why they should choose their hotel over the rest.

Long term relationships are still the ‘best’ but the planner is under pressure to put every piece of business out to bid in order to demonstrate the effective use of budget.  Building relationships often begins at a later stage in the meeting planning process – the planner has already prequalified the hotel online.

How do these developments impact the habits of hotel sales professionals?

  • Brush up on your and telephone sales skills.   While planners are locating hotels online, the fact remains that we still have to skillfully build a relationship and CLOSE them!  Get the sales department some training in telephone sales skills so that regardless of who is communicating there is a skill level and polish that is characteristic of the hotel’s sales department.  Phone skills that are often neglected include building rapport, qualifying, presenting then closing on the contract or next contact point.  Remember – you can ‘hear’ a smile!
  • The art of effective email communication.  Whether it is in response to an inquiry or an email approach, always put yourself in the position of the recipient.  If you were to receive your response, what would you be looking for in a return email?  Make it a habit to review your emails for tone, grammar and spelling errors that spell check doesn’t catch!  Always insert your signature line so that the recipient can find the phone number and web site address.
  • Select RFP sites carefully and by market segment specialization.  Many RFP sites specialize in certain types and quality of property – make sure your property is represented on those that target planners interested in your type of hotel.  Don’t forget government sites if that is one of your target markets.  In the same HSMAI panel discussion, a government planner revealed that they will be expected to use an online RFP site in planning meetings.
  • Establish a process to follow up on RFP requests in hours.  This is sometimes difficult if a hotel sales person is out on the road making calls or at a trade function. Have a designated inside person that monitors all RFP requests from all channels and can respond to an RFP with details and creativity.
  • Routinely monitor the competitions reviews.  Negative reviews about the competition are a sales opportunity!   While you are not going to trash the competition to a meeting planner, you can subtly suggest that they take a look at Trip Advisor reviews of you and the competition in operational areas that are important to them.  Be careful – your reviews in those areas had better be perfect!   Set a Google alert for the hotels in your competitive set so that you are alerted every time there is a new post for one of them.
  • Participate in small group sites. Many of the small group sites sort the hotels in the location requested by amenities that you either enter yourself or they are pulled from the GDS.  Make sure that all of the amenities that would appeal to small social and corporate groups are listed clearly on your GDS description.  Respond in the same timely fashion that you do to the RFP sites.
Do these habits replace the habits from last year – no, we still need to be proactively prospecting for new biz on the internet that fits the revenue management strategy.   These ‘new’ habits open up new opportunities for prospects to reach you and your hotel -- the playing field looks different but the game is still the same!

*(Jennings and Houghton, 2003) 

We want to engage in a conversation with you about your hotel sales training issues at our new Hotel Sales Blog.  We will also be featuring seminars and web casts that deal with how you can use Web 2.0 to your advantage.

At Carol Verret and Associates we are leading by example.  Stay tuned for the Hotel Sales Blog coming in early September – we want to engage in a conversation with you about your hotel sales training issues.  We will also be featuring seminars and web casts that deal with how you can use Web 2.0 to your advantage. 

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 To contact Carol send her an email at or she can be reached by cell phone (303) 618-4065.

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006 - 2007

Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
Web Site:
Also See: 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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