Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Training Seminars
Recession Lessons:  What Will Drive Hotel Sales
& Revenue Management in 2010


December 21, 2009 - 

Did you catch the revised forecast from PKF?  PKF-HR is now forecasting lodging demand to post a quarterly year-over-year increase during the first quarter of 2010, thus ending eight consecutive quarters of declines. On an annual basis, PKF-HR is now forecasting lodging demand to rise 1.9 percent in 2010, up from the 1.6 percent increase forecast back in September. (HotelNewsNow, 12/14/09)

The increase in demand of almost 2% may not seem like much but it is an increase and will likely be felt by most hotels where the entry of new supply into the market is negligible.  What lessons have we learned from this recession that will make us better equipped to maximize the opportunities that will present themselves in 2010.

In the last great downtown when I was new DOS, I was often brought in to reposition and ‘turn around’ hotels so the banks and receivers could sell them.  Yes, if I was successful I worked myself out of a job but the lessons that I learned from that experience have served me well.  While the difficulties of the past year have been extreme, DOSs and Revenue Managers have learned things that will serve them well going forward although it may not be apparent now. 

December is a time to reflect on what this recession has taught us and identify those lessons learned that have brought us through this brutal past year.   The recession has changed the game in many respects – how we play that game in 2010 will be critical.

Revenue Management: 

Rate Slashing.  If there is one thing to be learned it is that rate slashing alone leads to a vicious cycle of decreased revenue.  Putting a ‘floor’ under rates can be part of a well thought out plan to use that strategy to increase market share so you are better positioned to push rates. Value propositions are still the most important thing that we bring our guests.  It is to whom and how we market that value proposition that counts.   Witness the recovery in the luxury and upper upscale sectors of the industry.  Value is not a price point but, as Peter Yesawich said so well, it is the perception being able to afford something that a customer may not otherwise be able to afford.

Rate Parity.  Rate parity across all channels is a matter not only of the trust of our guests, it is vital to protecting the revenue from all market segments.  Those who haven’t been in parity complain about the RFPs booking outside of their agreements by going to the OTAs and opaque channels where someone thought they could get away with posting lower rates.  Those that haven’t posted rates consistently across channels have watched group blocks at a higher rate dribble away and left money on the table for the sake of a few more rooms for a given period. 

Social Networks.  Social networks have gained a prominence in this recession that could not have been foreseen eighteen months ago.  Working through these channels has provided smart marketers a platform to present their value proposition with immediacy and targeted reach like never before.  Twitter has given revenue managers the ability to push out packages and ‘deals’ that become viral and drive short lead business.  Unfortunately, Twitter deals are part of the issue of the consumer booking short lead.  As Tweets will now appear on search engines when a hotel search is done, this is a lesson that needs to be learned quickly if it hasn’t already been mastered.


Groups.  The traditional corporate group with its high end F&B component is on life support for the foreseeable future.  The verticals have changed dramatically in the past eighteen months.  Government per diem is now more attractive and while they may not be the ‘glamour’ groups, they are a ‘hot’ market.  Alternative energy will become mainstream in 2010 and those verticals that have arisen as a result of the changing economic dynamic prompted by stimulus funding are the new ‘hot’ sectors.

RFPs and LNRs.  The large RFPs have been brutal in their negotiations this year and in many cases failed to deliver the volume that was their ‘ace’.   Locally Negotiated Rates have fared slightly better in that there is a personal relationship with the hotel and the sales person.  The corporate travel sector is the second to stage a ‘come back’ after the leisure sector.  Small to medium companies with ‘unmanaged’ travel and smaller volume drive rate in this sector as they know they don’t have the clout to demand mega low rates. Small is good!

Social Networks.    Hotel and personal branding are critical on social networks and provide a space that is immediate to potential clients.   A robust hotel profile page on the majors is becoming as important if not more important than the web site itself.   Personal branding on social networks is vital to the sales effort.  Customers want to buy when they are ready and are becoming immune to the constant barrage of product pushing messages and emails from hotel sales people.  Social networks provide a platform that the customer can use to get to ‘know’ both the hotel and the sales person.   Social networks are also a dynamic sales tool for the sales department providing much more robust and current info than traditional sources like Hoovers.

In this traditional slow period for hotels, take a moment to reflect on what positive things have been learned in the recession and how you can use these lessons for a more profitable New Year in 2010.

Carol Verret Consulting and Training provides sales training with an edge and measurable results revenue management training that drives incremental revenue and market share.  She also provides consulting services in these areas.  She has provided keynotes and seminars both nationally and internationally to hotels, management companies and related associations as well as having articles published in national and international publications.  Check her out on the web site, the www.hotelsalesblog and on LinkedIn and Twitter.   She can be reached at (303) 618-4065 or at

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: 4 Post Recession Shifts  in the Hotel Sales Environment; What You Need to Know for Success in 2010 / Carol Verret
The 20% Solution to Increased Market Share and Revenue / Carol Verret / October 2009
Managing Revenue by Market Segment – The Recovery Challenge for Sales and Revenue Managers / Carol Verret / September 2009
The Mindset of the 2010 Business Plan – Survival Mode or Recovery Mode? / Carol Verret / August 2009
The New 'Tipping Points' in the Planners Decision Process - You May be Surprised! / Carol Verret / June 2009
The New Normal – What Does the New Normal Look Like for Hotel Sales and Revenue Management / Carol Verret / May 2009
The New Hotel Sales and Revenue Management Metrics - This Could save Your Job! / Carol Verret / April 2009
Back to Hotel Sales Basics: The Basics Have Changed Big Time!  / Carol verret / March 2009
Stimulate Hotel Revenue -- The Economic Stimulus Package Opportunities / Carol Verret / February 2009
2009 The Game Changer for Innovation in Hotel Sales Processes / Carol Verret / January 2009
Contrarian Strategies for Hotel Sales Departments to Thrive in an Economic Downturn / Carol Verret / December 2008
‘Selling Into’ a Bad Economy – Overcoming Fear and Stealing Share / Carol Verret / October 2008
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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