Carol Verret Consulting 
and Training
Training Seminars
Market Analysis and Sales Office Audit – 
Look Beyond the Obvious in
Turnaround Situations



June 29, 2010 - One of the first targets for analyzing the potential for a distressed hotel to ‘turn around’ is the sales department and the related market reports.  While this is absolutely correct, it is important to look beyond the conclusions to the basis of the data to ensure that it is not skewing the performance of the hotel and the sales department. 

Reporting mechanisms always carry with them implicit assumptions about the data to measure.  Audits usually follow a specific check list and the verification of the items on the check lists may not tell the entire story about how the property is being marketed and its position in the comp set.  

For example, I was sent into a market to analyze and make recommendations on acquiring a distressed property for a franchise conversion and the potential for a turnaround.  As I was combing through the report and data furnished by one of the large accounting firms, it was indicating that this was a distressed market – overbuilt with primarily economy product that produced declining ADRs and deteriorating demand.   The first impression from the data was not good.

On the journey from the airport to the property, the drive around of the immediate area did nothing to allay my impressions that this was a distressed market with few demand generators.  T he client was looking to renovate and convert the franchise to a mid market, high visibility franchise.   

In the sales files the major demand generator contacts were found as well as those obtained through Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce lists.  Both of these organizations take ‘positive pills’ in addition to their daily vitamins and while we love them for that, their optimism has to be verified by data.    

The lists were used for focus calls to the key contacts at these demand generators.  The focus calls revealed that they were will to pay much more for a mid market property and that the demand within these demand generators for mid market properties was sufficient to make that an interesting proposition.  They were now booking those mid market travelers at properties in the next city as there were few if any options in the immediate area.  

To verify this, I commissioned a STR report that was limited to mid market properties in an expanded market area and discovered only two -- both of which showed increasing demand and ADRs over the past five years.    From this data, we were able to conduct an impact analysis and projections of demand for a new upgraded franchise in this location.   

In terms of sales audits, we went into a property that predictably during the recession was underperforming.  They had made a decision to keep their rates at a higher level than the comp set in most market segments.  An analysis of sales department activity showed high levels of activity but the results were disappointing leading to discouragement and low morale among the sales team.
Upon further digging, it turned out that the sales department was required to make cold calls, an average of fifty a week,   from a variety of lists. As long as they made the number of calls required they were rewarded for their efforts.  The issue was that they were being evaluated on process not productivity.   There was no evaluation on contact to closing ratios, prospecting efforts that might have yielded higher quality calls and revenue generation.    The assumption on the part of the General Manager and the DOSM was that quantity of calls not quality was the key to generating increased demand.  There were other issues, but this one was key.

Look beyond the obvious:

  • STR Reports:  Is the comp set based on an accurate product/published rate category or is there another comp set based on the ADR?  Cornell published a study that during the recession that many properties’ ADR positioned them into a lower product/rate comp set based on their ADRs.  ( Cornell University, 2009) Is there more than one comp set that the property should be evaluating based on specific market segments and/or ADR?
  • Actual versus Potential.   We have all read the disclaimer in investment prospectuses ‘past performance is not a guarantee of future results.’     This can slice both ways in evaluating a hotel.  Are there going to be upgrades or future investment in the property? Does management or ownership have on ‘rose colored glasses’ in relation to the true condition of the property and the rates and demand it can drive?    
  • Impact Analyses.  Is there new product coming into the market and how will it dilute demand?  Even if it is considered be lower on the franchise food chain will it impact one market segment for all properties in the market?   For example, a mid level select serve product with good visibility and high demand in the leisure drive market may impact all mid market full serve hotels in that segment.
  • Sales Department Audit.  Don’t just look at the numbers – look at the assumptions behind the numbers.  
    • It’s not the quantity it’s the quality of calls – Who’s being called on and how are they being approached?
    • Surf the database – How many have traces? How many are just re-traced over and over? 
    • Lead sources – Where did a lead come from – was it an inquiry or a lead actively developed by the sales person?
    • Sales skill set assessment – Listen to phone calls, go on appointments and evaluate the sales skills of the sales person.  
    • Social media and email marketing – How well do the sales people use social media for qualifying and lead generation?  Do they send out mini eblasts to select groups of customers with an offer or new information?
This is not an exhaustive list.  There are many more points in a thorough market and sales audit.  The point however, is that it is important to go beyond the obvious. 
In any evaluation, it is imperative to be able to assess whether the sales professionals are open to change or locked into ‘the way we’ve always done it?’ it often costs less to invest in training for open-minded existing sales professionals than to recruit new ones!

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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

Carol Verret, Consulting and Training
Carol Verret
5910 S. University #C-18, PMB 374
Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Telephone: (303) 618-4065
Web Site:
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Marketing to Changes in Consumer Behavior - It's No Longer 'One Size Fits All' / Carol Verret / March 2010
Outrageous! The Cure for the Post Recession Blues! / Carol Verret / March 2010
The Reset Button --- Innovation for Hotel Sales in 2010! / Carol Verret / February 2010
4 Changes in Consumer Behavior & The Revenue Opportunities for Hotels / Carol Verret / January 2010
Recession Lessons:  What Will Drive Hotel Sales & Revenue Management in 2010 / December 2009
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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