Unlocking Asset Potential®

Why Have A Hotel Managerís Reception?
Winter 2001
Some brands require them. Some hotels do them ďjust because.Ē  What should a Managerís Reception do for you besides make your customers really, really happy?

Did you recently begin doing Managerís Receptions or have they been in place awhile?  We pose this question because if a Managerís Reception has been in place for some time, possibly as a brand requirement or as something started before you even got to your current 
The Turn Key Tool Box
A Newsletter for General Managers and Operators with Thoughts on How to be a Better Hotel. Written by Turn Key Hotel Advisors, Dallas, Texas
assignment, your team may have lost sight of the real reason for doing them.  Of course, one reason might because your brand requires them. Thatís fine. But one thing a Managerís Reception should be above all else, is an opportunity to interact with your guests and find more business.  One thing it shouldnít be is simply a perk for them and an expense burden to you.

This is not to say that those guests might not view the reception as a benefit to their decision to stay at your hotel.  But that should be a peripheral issue to a true marketer!  To the hard-core sales savvy GM, the real reason for doing a Managerís Reception is to use your existing customers to find new ones.

When, where, how often and what to serve are all issues that should address this central mission an primary purpose of hosting a Managerís Reception. That would imply that the general manager and his or her sales staff should be involved in attending the event.

Whether you do Managerís Receptions once a week or nightly, at least make sure you have one when you are most likely to have your peak night for corporate stay-over guests (probably Wednesday night for most of you).  If you have Managerís Receptions nightly, it would be arduous, indeed impossible, for sales managers to attend them all, so think about a rotating schedule. If you have Managerís Receptions once a week, it is more manageable that sales staff attend them all.

Here then are a few recommendations in the Doís and Doníts of successful a Sales-Savvy Managerís Reception Program:

Manager Reception Doís

  1. Do have Managerís Receptions if you are in a corporate market, especially if you do any volume in LNR or the Preferred and Corporate volume market segments.
  2. Do have them once or twice a week.  Do have them on a peak corporate stay-over night, most likely, a Tuesday or Wednesday night. Do invite guests with a printed invitation (not necessary if a brand standard).
  3. Do deliver an invitation to each guest room overnight on the night before the event (or with the morning newspaper delivery).  Receiving the invitation in the morning will allow the guest to adjust their schedule during the day in order to attend your reception that evening.  Obviously, this step isnít necessary if you do them nightly or if your brand has a reputation for doing them nightly (Embassy Suites, as an example).
  4. Do have each front desk agent extend a verbal invitation to guests upon check-in on the day of the event, as well as hand the guest a printed invitation.
  5. Do serve food.  If you do receptions nightly, have food available for sale.  Exhibit culinary excellence, but donít overdo it.  Hors díoeuvres should be simple, well presented with visual interest and easy to prepare.  I recommend you stay away from hot items and stick with cold food that can be easily consumed in a stand-up reception setting.
  6. Do keep them short: an hour to an hour and a half.
  7. Do make sure you circulate.  Staff shouldnít be conversing with staff.  Make sure you and your sales managers work the room and leave no guest unattended for very long.
  8. Do engage in conversation.  Find out who the guest is; what company they represent; how often they come to your city; who else from their company travels and whom you can contact about getting more of their business.  Do collect and extend business cards.
  9. The next day, conduct a quick huddle with your sales team and review the business cards you collected.  Talk about what they learned.  What follow-up is appropriate?
  10. Do send hand-written thank-you notes to participants you met and from whom you collected a business card.  This small personal gesture has huge impact on potential customers.
  11. Remember that your staff is on duty and working.  A glass of wine or a cocktail may be appropriate Ė but youíre not there to party and this is no country club.
Manager Reception Doníts
  1. Donít over do it.  Keep them short, simple (but quality-oriented) and limited to and hour or hour and a half, two days a week at the most unless your brand has other ideas.
  2. Donít provide chairs.  You donít want guest sitting by themselves or with one another.  Provide cocktail tables for people to set a glass on while they munch on hors díoeuvres, but make your guests stand and circulate.
  3. Donít make Managerís Receptions mandatory attendance for all members of your management team.  Only managerís who are sales savvy should attend to help the sales managers (and you) with the primary objective of finding new business.
  4. Donít allow managers to congregate.  They need to be constantly working the room.  You set the example.
  5. If your reception is strictly by invitation, donít invite tour or leisure guests.  They wonít help you achieve your goals.  Limit participation to guests paying rack or corporate rate or who have booked your hotel through GDS.  Remember that this is a means for you to find out who is staying in your hotel that you might otherwise not know about and prospecting ways to get more business from them.
  6. Donít hesitate to use a Managerís Reception to support your backyard sales effort.  Invite local guests with whom you are trying to expose your product as a means to entice them to see the hotel or get to know other members of your team.  A sales manager wanting to impress a potential client could meet their guest in the lobby, conduct a site visit of the hotel and then take them to the reception.  What better way to expose a potential client to your hotel than allowing them to interact with customers that are already staying with you?  Testimonials are always a powerful recruiting inducement.
  7. Donít focus on any one guest for too long.  Once you have gotten the information youíre looking for, politely disengage conversation and go onto the next guest.  An easy way to do this is to introduce the guest with whom youíre talking to another guest.  While they are engaging in conversation, excuse yourself and move onto your next target.
  8. Donít forget to say ďthank youĒ to each guest you meet.  After all, they are staying with you already and are taking time out of their day to share it with you.  Express your appreciation.
  9. Donít spend too much time with your regular guests.  Yes, you should acknowledge them and thank them for their business, but spending too much time with them will make you forego your primary mission: finding new business.
Be a visionary, not just a leader.  Be an innovator, not a reactor.  Be an opportunity seeker, not an implementer of Standards.

ďEnlightenment is an individualís emergence from his own self-imposed immaturity.Ē 

 -Immanual Kant

Turn Key Hotel Advisors is a Dallas based consulting group with roots in hotel management and operations.  It offers consulting services and essential business tools for all aspects of hotel operations, lodging asset management, hotel product repositioning, and re-branding. The Dallas group is experienced in hotel operations, revenue management, market positioning and profit engineering. 

Specializing in diagnostics of under-performing assets, Turn Key Hotel Advisors will quickly and accurately assess a hotel's competitive environment and strategic positioning.  Their consultants then provide action plans for both owner and manager that will improve the hotel's RevPAR yield, increasing revenue and drive both profitability and owner cash return.  Turn Key Hotel Advisors guarantees their results.

For hotels undergoing refurbishment, repositioning or re-branding, Turn Key Hotel Advisors created the Delta Processô, which has been successfully used in assets, to date, undergoing $200 million in redevelopment dollars.  The Delta Processô ensures the hotel's sales and service delivery teams have specific, concrete action plans to deliver on an owner's or lender's return-on-investment expectations.

The company also conducts due diligence exercises for assets undergoing ownership change, market assessment studies for new lodging development, as well as hotel sales training, account management tools and hotel marketing products.  It is affiliated with The Consortium - An Alliance of Hospitality Companies.  Turn Key Hotel Advisors also operates a subsidiary company, Integrated Selling Systems with innovative technologies for the lodging industry, including CD Business Cards, Web Designs and On-Line Customer Reservations Booking Engines.  Turn Key Hotel Advisors is an allied member of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

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Turn Key Hotel Advisors
Dale Turner, President
P.O. Box 701284
Dallas, Texas  75370
Phone: 972-267-9600
Fax: 927-267-1072

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