By Doug Kennedy
As those who read my hotel sales training articles or who attend my workshops know well, I am a huge advocate for using a “tech for touch” approach to stand out from the competition. I have long recommended that hotel group and event salespeople embrace the use of personalized video email in many ways, such as networking, prospecting, responding to inbound inquiries, and following-up with those you have spoken with.
While this approach is relevant during all market conditions, it is especially important now during this time when COVID-19 has disrupted the meetings and events business and slowed the flood of inbound leads down to a trickle.
Smart sales leaders already have a set sequence of follow-ups for inbound and prospecting leads, alternating between phone calls and email messages. Yet a more personalized approach will surely lead to more sales and stronger relationships with planners.
Video email is the perfect medium for using “tech for touch” in order to stand out from the competition and to put the “people” part back what has recently been a largely digital sales process.
Here are the steps.
Your sales team will need an inexpensive, monthly subscription to one of several platforms that drop their video messages directly into the body of the email, rather than just inserting a link. This is vitally important to maximize click-through rates as the recipient will quickly see that the message is personalized and NOT a generic, automated message. (Email me directly for a list of providers. [email protected] )
These platforms can be used in many ways, such as sending full-screen video messages while standing in the lobby, meeting rooms, or elsewhere on-property, but from here we shall look at what I call personalized, narrated virtual tours as one of their standard sequence of follow-up action steps. I think this “touchpoint” is ideally placed in the cadence as the initial or secondary follow-up for inbound leads, as demonstrated here.
First, your hotel salesperson will prepare the message by either identifying about 4 or 5 images from your hotel’s photo gallery, then downloading those into a folder OR opening a window for each image. The imagines should be those that are the most relevant for the group which the planner is representing.
Next, they will log-in to the video email app, activate their webcam, start a message, then click the “screen recorder” option. From there, they will greet the prospect by name, then walk them through the images they have selected as being the most relevant, and using a “storytelling” approach to narrate the pictures of the recommended event venues, facilities, outlets, and accommodations.
Realizing that this concept might be hard to imagine for those who have not yet seen it, here’s a link to a sample I did to explain and then demonstrate the concept.
By training your team to use video email for personalized, virtual tours, you’ll be providing meeting and event planners with a helpful resource they can forward on to other decision-makers. Besides increasing conversation, I can’t imagine a better way to provide a positive first impression of your hotel’s overall hospitality! Plus, right now, personalized video emails are also a terrific way to do “welfare checks” on key client contacts.