One of the most dangerous things a hotel sales manager can do is depend solely on themselves to generate revenue. Often-times as business owners and leaders, we make the mistake of putting teams into “silos.” We think that it is implied that we expect teams to communicate, yet we don’t create the means for this to happen or explain the necessity & expectation of how to accomplish this. Silos crush the potential of winning sales teams, because they breed communication mishaps and build walls between teams. Let’s not forget that collaboration between departments at the hotel is imperative to the B2B customer! The entire hotel staff must work in tandem through solid communication & teamwork, to attract & retain customers.
At GitGo, one of the most important things we do for our hotel partners is collaborate with all of the stakeholders involved in ensuring the hotel’s revenue success. This includes revenue management, global/regional brand sales (if applicable), the on-site operations team (from leadership to line level staff), and marketing. This is where experience & training is necessary, because a sales manager needs to understand how and when to collaborate. Essentially, they need to recognize the resources they have available to help win, nurture, and grow the business, as well as when to pull those levers or reach out for assistance from their teams.
Here are a few key ways to ensure your sales team is collaborating and not trying to go it alone in the revenue generation game:
1. Attendance & Participation In All Revenue Management Meetings
The sales team must be attuned to the pricing & positioning strategy of the hotel at all times. I don’t see it as often as I used to, but there are still some properties that do not require sales to be included in these discussions. However, in order to ensure there is synergy & communication across all departments, they need to be an integral part of the conversation and come prepared to both listen & share their thoughts. Corporate rate shops, account volume and rate parity concerns, RFP discussions, group business booking pace & scheduling, and target account research should all be part of these discussions in order to collaborate on the best strategy for the property to win revenue.
Recently, we won a new piece of business for a hotel partner by collaborating with revenue management to come up with an extended stay rate for a property. Ultimately the property gained more than $4K in consumed business so far in the month of September, with the account projected to grow steadily throughout 2016 and into 2017.
2. Regional/Global Sales Communication
Sales must complete business cases for their target and key customers that are managed by a global or regional sales team member. Far too often, we work with properties that have never completed their business cases and think they can “go it alone.” They have the mindset that their franchise fees should automatically give them access to these accounts. However, that is not the case! The property must do the work. They must position themselves as a benefit to the client, and help the global/regional sales team help the hotel! The customers have literally thousands of choices, and let’s face it… the RFP process is commoditization at its best. The property must learn to play the game and play it well. Be a partner to the brand sales team, and DO THE WORK necessary.
3. Sales & Operations Team Partnership
Sales’ most important job is getting customers through the door. Operations most important job is to keep customers coming back. The best way to do this is to work together as a solid collaborative force. Communication is key for this to happen. It starts with sales effectively communicating to the operations team about the customer, sharing their likes/dislikes, needs, and concerns. Sales must have a very clean process for communicating this, the most common being a form of sales “resume” that is published and read by each of the departments within the hotel (front desk, housekeeping, engineering, reservations, food & beverage, etc.). It is the sales team’s job to help operations anticipate customer needs by sharing conversation highlights from their conversations.
4. Sales & Marketing Communication
We work with many properties that do not have a traditional “marketing department”, yet they have a need for marketing communications at the property level. GitGo provides this service, and we can also collaborate with in-house or third party teams. We see much of the existing marketing communications being leisure & transient travel driven. Where sales can get involved is by sharing the perspective from the B2B customers, and help marketing develop digital, print, and social marketing campaigns that will compel the B2B buyer to take notice of the property. For example, with our business insights tools, GitGo not only communicates conversation highlights and customer feedback, but we share insights & data from our Right Fit Lead Prospecting® process that the hotel’s marketing team can use to drive additional revenue opportunities.
For each of these four categories there must be a plan, a process, and an accountability structure to ensure follow-through. The team needs to measure progress, and perform monthly reviews for each of these collaborative areas.
Need some more detail on how to make this happen for your property either on your own or with a partner? We have the manpower and experience to help with either consulting & training or “done for you” solutions! Set up a FREE discovery call to explore the possibilities and see how together we can create a plan for your hotel’s biggest sales challenges!
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