Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Training Seminars
‘Selling Into’ a Bad Economy – 

Overcoming Fear and Stealing Share



October 28, 2008 - Tough times require creative solutions not just business as usual!  Not only are hotels being buffeted by the economy but also by the new competitive hotels have come online and/or are coming online in the near future. Make no mistake; there will be winners and losers in this environment --- some hotels that will prosper and those that will capitulate!  

The Business Travel Coalition recently conducted a survey of corporate travel managers. “The Business Travel Coalition, which represents corporate travel buyers and suppliers here and internationally, surveyed travel managers last week and found a sense of real urgency. More than a quarter of nearly 200 travel managers surveyed said that their companies had recently started emergency cutbacks, on top of the cuts already in place this year.” (New York Times, October 20, 2008) The good news in this is that 75% of travel planners were not in panic mode but, as we all know, are watching those travel dollars. 

However, if we look at the reports there are hopeful signs.  In an excellent report, Global Insight reported that “Full year 2008 domestic travel is now expected to reach only 1.987 billion Person-Trips, down 0.6% over 2007. Leisure travel, about 76% of total, will register 1.5 billion Person-Trips, a 0.5% increase over last year. Business travel (is) expecting (a) decline of 3.8%...”  The report went on to say “Relief has already begun, however, in the form of moderating oil prices and average daily room rates. This favorable trend will begin to accelerate beginning in the second quarter of 2009” and “…leisure will begin to recover in the second half of the year.” (Hotel Resource, October 27, 2008)

This report indicates that leisure travel actually increased by .5% in 2008 and business travel will post a decline of 3.8%.   There are hotels that benefited from the increase in leisure and those that are able to maintain or increase share of business travel despite a decrease.  A  3.8% decrease in corporate travel is challenging but certainly not a disaster!

When every other hotel around you is slashing budgets, the one budget that can be maximized is the efficiency of the sales department and marketing dollars redirected to more cost efficient channels.  Here are five things you can do to ‘sell into’ the recession:

Overcome Fear and Panic.  It is often said that stock market declines are being driven by fear, panic and a lack of confidence.  If you buy into the fear and panic syndrome, you are accepting that business will decline and subconsciously that will seep into the sales and marketing effort.   Those hotels that look at the research look for the opportunities and think ‘out of the box’ (I hate that term, how about ‘out of the circle).  They will develop cost effective, innovative ways to reach out to the real people and companies within those opportunities.  

Rediscover the Lost Art of Prospecting.  There are those companies that publish lists of web sites for internet prospecting.  These are okay but of no value unless you have a very clear idea of what kinds of clients you are looking for.  Foraging through market specific web sites without a DNA profile of potential clients likely to be in a position to give the hotel business is a waste of precious time.  Focus on those stock market sectors least affected by the economy for business travel – put marketing and sales efforts in place to take advantage of the ‘pent up demand’ in leisure summer travel.    

Internet Platforms for both Leisure and Business.   Pull way back if not eliminate expensive hard copy print advertising in favor of internet based strategies.  How do you buy things, how do you research your options for a purchase?  Consumer buying behavior has changed and this also applies to the business and leisure consumer – accessing information on the web.    Take calculated risks – try platforms that you haven’t tried before or increase your presence on those that you are already on.  Some of these will represent ‘electronic billboards’ that consumers will use for research prior to making direct contact.  

Rethink Sales Office Processes to Become Customer Centric.  Many current sales office processes were developed when demand was robust and designed for the convenience of the operation not the customer.   Case Study:  A meeting planner tried for 8 days to book a small last minute meeting in Las Vegas. After a series of unreturned phone calls and the inability of seven sales departments to confirm rates and meeting space on one call, she finally booked with the 8th hotel -- the only one that was able to confirm meeting space, guest rooms and room rates on the first call.  It’s now all about the customer and their convenience. How customer centric are your sales office processes?

Sharpen Skill Sets.  Many potentially great sales people entered the industry in the last four to five years and have spent those years managing demand.  Many experienced sales people have great sales skills but haven’t had to use them for a while.  When a potential customer is on the phone, sales people need to have the skill sets to be able to check availability, instill confidence, qualify and close them on the first call.  This also takes a willingness on the part of the operation to give sales the rate parameters and the confidence to trust them to book ‘good’ business.  Tom Peters in his book on Leadership estimated that the typical American company invests only 26 hours per year per employee on training – that is probably an overestimate in the hotel industry.  Would Tiger Woods be Tiger on only 26 hours a year of training?   

Those hotels and hotel companies the ‘sell into’ the current economic downturn will steal share from those hotels that don’t and succeed in this economy.  ‘Selling into’ this economy means not only doing more of what you’re already doing but actively drilling into the opportunities that present themselves in the trends.  For example, continuing to try and wring business from the Financial Services sector would not be logical but starting to drill down into the upbeat HealthCare stock market sector is ‘selling into’ this economy based on the opportunity. 

It will require overcoming the fear and natural instinct to ‘hunker down’ – that is exactly the wrong reaction to become a winner in this economy and emerge stronger than prior to this economic challenge! 

Carol Verret and Associates offer training options at various price points – invest in your people!   Also, watch for the book Hotel Sales & Revenue Management 2.0 coming in November.  Reserve your copy at  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. Visit

copyright © Carol Verret, 2002-2003 -2004 -2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008

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: Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – Accelerated Sense of Urgency / Carol Verret / September 2008
The Challenges and Opportunities for Independent and Boutique Hotels in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / August 2008
The Science of Hotel Sales* – The Benchmarking Imperative for Success in a Difficult Economy / Carol Verret / July 2008
Marketing & Revenue Management Plan 2009 - Succeeding in a Difficult Year / Carol Verret / July 2008
Tactics to Drive Business in a ‘Not So Hot’ Summer / Carol Verret / May 2008
All Marketers Are Liars - Web 2.0 Strategies for Hotel Sales and Marketing / Carol Verret / April 2008
Contingency Hotel Revenue Management Strategies 'I Will not Cut Prices'/ Carol Verret / March 2008
The Contingency Hotel Sales and Marketing Plan - Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst / Carol Verret / February 2008
Change is the Buzz – Rebooting Hotel Sales Activity at the Property Level / Carol Verret / January 2008
Habits of Highly Successful Revenue Managers Ramped Up for 2008 / Carol Verret / November 2007
Five Tips to Improving Hotel Customer Service with User Generated Reviews / Carol Verret / October 2007
Habits of Highly Successful Hotel Sales People – A Seismic Shift in 2008! / Carol Verret / September 2007
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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