The pandemic threw a wrench into people’s travel plans all over the world, throwing the entire hospitality industry off kilter. Until now, hotels have been struggling to find any footing in the COVID-19 recession, and they’re trying to dig out with fewer sales professionals on board. Layoffs have, unfortunately, tightened many teams.
Internally, hotel sales teams are struggling. Externally, markets are changing. The world’s public health crisis shows just how critical it is for sales teams to be focusing on the future. Navigating the present means accepting the new reality that our industry is in a fragile place. To build confidence in a bounce back, look to the future—when the doom and gloom clears, your prospective clients will be more than ready to do business. Enjoy whatever short-term bookings you can secure, but build those long-term relationships to build a bridge to your future success.
What the numbers are telling us
Finally, we’re seeing some signs of hope. New survey results indicate the largest uptick in planned travel this year. Our own data is showing that business road travel is on the rise—63.78% of the businesses we talked to in our “pulse check” of small and mid-size companies shared they are planning to resume travel by driving.
MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Travel Intentions Pulse Survey revealed the likelihood of domestic leisure, domestic business, international business and personal car trips were all at their highest levels during the pandemic in September. However, recent concerns about COVID escalating during winter have put a damper on some of those sentiments from earlier this fall.
Things were looking up, but business travel appears to be sidelined over the winter. That puts the focus on 2021.
Preparing your team for changing travel patterns
So how can your sales team quickly adjust to the shifts in business travel and ensure you have the ability to find, qualify and quantify the opportunities for your hotel?
First, we recommend getting familiar with three geographies:
- Backyard business: Understand the lay of the (local) land—know what businesses are nearby. If they routinely do business with other organizations that need to travel to the area, you have an opportunity. Are new industries relocating or taking off in your community? Keep a pulse on your local economy and new businesses to find trends.
- Drive markets: Evaluate if your property is within driving distance of a major travel or business hub. Know the greater travel patterns of your community and those that drive the market. Reviewing guest arrival data to determine where current travelers are coming from and asking simple questions at the front desk to determine what brings them to your city is a helpful way to get a pulse and validate data on drive markets.
- Feeder markets: Keep a pulse on the flight patterns and passenger load data from your local airport(s) to know where travelers are arriving from. Match that against industry knowledge of your backyard and demand generators. If you have access to tools like Agency360, this is another way to review your feeder markets and create a targeted approach for uncovering the most likely business opportunities from those markets.
Once you know where to look, you can see what kinds of industries are the major players in business travel. At GitGo HQ, we sifted through our own national booking statistics and found that construction, manufacturing and business services (think creatives and consultants) were booking travel three months in advance. Finding similar organizations in your area and building a relationship now can lay the groundwork for business beyond the pandemic.
Enabling your team to succeed
Start with a proactive mindset. A consistent new business development strategy sustains hotels in good times and bad. [No, we’re not saying a hotel could’ve foreseen or succeeded during quarantine.] Move beyond the “what bookings have you made lately” mindset. When you build relationships that last, you build business that lasts.
Develop a valuable business target list. Creating and maintaining this inventory can be a full-time job in itself, but we’ve got you covered. GitGo Works™ keeps tabs on your best targets and adds bandwidth most hotel organizations don’t have. Our system efficiently identifies your property’s ideal prospects, freeing up your team’s time while enabling our clients to grow their qualified lead base by 25% and fill their sales pipeline with promise.
Commit to active outreach. Put your team in a position to do what they do best. Your sales team should always be concentrated on making connections and engaging with your prospective clients on every step of their buying journey. Allow your sales reps to carve out dedicated blocks of time for outreach. Proactive discovery drives live conversations with potential customers.
How GitGo can help
Empower your team to engage with clients and integrate us into your sales team to maximize your sales output with GitGo Works™. Choose between three increasingly data-rich tiers of service—Market Groundwork™, Market Framework™ or Market Masterwork™—to help you monitor your markets as they change and meet you wherever you are in your evolution toward a fact-based sales culture.
You could buy leads anywhere, but you won’t get the dialed-in service, support or strategy from any other partner but GitGo. Designed with you in mind, our affordable solutions can:
- Quickly point your sales team in the right direction.
- Answer questions about your market dynamics.
- Provide deeper guidance on strategy to pivot faster.
Even if you don’t have a sales team in place or need some extra firepower, we can qualify, quantify and apply the insights to day-to-day effective sales tactics by doing the work you need done by sales professionals to move the business forward.
Pick from three GitGo Works™ packages to become the expert on your market—no matter what changes arise.