doug kennedy

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doug kennedy

Hotel Sales RFP’s Circa 2020: How to Be the Best, Not Just the First to Respond

Doug Kennedy | November 8, 2019

By Doug Kennedy When I speak with hotel sales leaders at my training workshops and conference presentations, and when I read interviews with them in hotel trade publications such as this one, it seems that most are buying-in to these three myths about hotel sales in the current era: The most important factor in closing more leads is to be the first to respond. The second key to success is having the coolest PDF or online brochure, with more pictures than everyone else. Planners who send digital inquiries do not want to talk or correspond; they only want to get the proposal they asked for. Let’s tackle these mistaken beliefs...

Remaining Relevant in the Age of Airbnb

Travel Outlook Hotel Reservations Call Center Services | October 17, 2019

By John Smallwood, CEO, Travel Outlook Help travelers identify with your brand on an emotional level Noted Harvard Business professor Theodore Levitt once said that “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want quarter-inch holes.” This expression gets to the heart of marketing and the desire not just to sell but to gain and foster a customer. Defining products or services as being defined by their practical use has since been seen as a critical feature in how advertisers go about selling. But in addition to their practical use, Levitt also wanted advertisers to focus on the customer and their needs, rather than just see them ...

Hoteliers of All Levels Can Benefit From Joining a Local Toastmasters International Club

Cathy Cook | October 11, 2019

By Cathy Cook When I started my management career at the Front Desk, I had no problems working side by side with my associates on the front lines taking care of our guests and putting on a show for my audience every day! But when it came to be standing up in front of my department and presenting an agenda or leading a meeting, I felt panicked and I would perspire and forget what I had to say. I knew I needed help in my presentation skills. Thankfully it was around that time that I found a non-profit organization called Toastmasters International, which I have been a member of for almost 18 years. Just recently, I achieved status as a Di...

Reinventing The Welcome: Finally, Self Check-In Has Been Done Right!

Doug Kennedy | October 10, 2019

By Doug Kennedy For decades now, some hoteliers and many hotel tech providers have been pushing hotel guests to embrace self check-in procedures. I first heard of this concept as a budding young entrepreneur floating my business plan for a hotel industry training company to the top minds in lodging. The year was 1989 and my proposed company name was Check-Inn Training. I remember one industry icon in particular who, upon seeing the name on my binder, said “Bad idea young man.” He proceeded to hand me a copy of an article from what was then called Hotel & Motel Management, in which a headline read “Front Desk Staffs To Be Replaced...

E.P.I.C Hospitality™ Training

Doug Kennedy | September 24, 2019

This is the first in a series of five train-the-trainer articles contributed by Doug Kennedy Most hoteliers I speak with clearly understand that hospitality and guest service excellence are more important than ever before in the history of the lodging industry. Everyone knows that “word of click” has long since replaced “word of mouth” and that the old adage that “an unhappy guest will tell 9 or 10 others” has turned into 900, 9,000, 90,000 or even more. Yet for the most part, the impact of hospitality on profits has been anecdotal. However, a recent survey caught my eye that provides empirical evidence to validate what eve...

Pro-Active Prospecting Is the Only Way Hotel Sales Staff Can Do Their Most Important Job: Fill in “Gap” Dates

Doug Kennedy | August 22, 2019

By Doug Kennedy In the current market, most hotels, resorts and other venues are experiencing a significant softening in group demand. However, this does not necessarily mean that hotel salespeople are fielding fewer inbound leads, but rather multiple leads are coming in for dates that are in peak demand for transient and for other group business. Here in the era of electronic RFP’s, where one piece of business generates a proposal request for 8, 10 or more properties, hotel salespeople are perhaps busier than ever simply keeping up with what often feels like “lead spam.” Unfortunately though, the time spent responding to electron...

Group Sales Mystery Shopping No Longer Best Way to Measure Sales Effectiveness

Doug Kennedy | July 23, 2019

By Doug Kennedy For decades, hotel management companies and brands have relied on telephone mystery shopping as a primary tool to measure the sales effectiveness of sales and catering sales colleagues. Here’s what to do instead. For decades, hotel management companies have contracted with outside mystery shopping firms to place telephone inquiry calls posing as prospects for groups, events, and corporate accounts, then report back the results. This is typically done once per quarter, and the results are then used as one of the primary benchmark “KPI’s” to evaluate sales colleagues. Many companies even factor performance on myst...

Hotel Sales Negotiating Training, Circa 2020

Doug Kennedy | June 24, 2019

By Doug Kennedy As a conference speaker and trainer, I am finding that one of my most requested topics lately is hotel sales negotiating techniques. Based on the initial inquiries received, I get the impression that many hotel leaders still view negotiating as being a separate part of the selling process such as it was originally taught in 1990’s era training. These days, successful negotiating starts from how one handles leads at their “intake point,” which is important in order to maximize effectiveness further along in the sales engagement. First, let’s look at where in the sales process negotiating is taking place in the era...

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