Discover the critical steps to a successful hotel sales effort.

Developing a sales team to consistently hit or exceed revenue goals is, arguably, one of the important functions of your hotel management company.  As in any endeavor, proper training, direction, and accountability makes the difference between mediocre and extraordinary results. Laura Salisbury, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing  at American Resort Management, shares her insights on hotel sales efforts.

Sales teams must understand their product

Unlike car, appliance, retail or real estate sales in which the team is selling physical possessions, professionals in hotel and hospitality sales need to be able to sell an experience.  “Your hotel sales team training must teach the team how to convey the experience your property can deliver in both minute detail, such as the details of banquet planning, but also, to be able to sell the venue and its services in the broadest terms of overall experience,” advises Salisbury.  As basic as it may seem, your sales staff must truly understand your product and be able to speak to the volumes of detail for any piece of business.  Therefore, it is imperative to make sure your sales staff has the knowledge needed to speak to any function or service of the property.  Are you cross-training staff and using shadowing between your sales department and the other departments?

Sales teams must understand the competition

How well do you know the enemy?  You can’t be in the game if you don’t know your competition.  You must know your strengths and weaknesses compared to your comp set?  Are you using reader board and parking lot surveys, and daily competition calls to guide you in identifying your competitors’ accounts and in developing your rate strategy?

Sales teams must understand the customer

Encourage your sales team to take time to build their top accounts.  Sales success depends upon a strong base of business from top accounts. “The 80/20 Rule is still a basic prescription for success,” Salisbury shares.  She adds, “Your top accounts are the key to your success.  Spend 80% of your time building this strong foundation!”

Make sure sales team members understand that hotel sales is relationship sales!  Your team should place a priority on staying in touch with your top accounts.  Set reminders and put systems in place to make sure top accounts are seen monthly!  If you neglect your top accounts, they might not be your top accounts for long! Emphasize outstanding and memorable account maintenance!

Beyond treating current accounts well, stellar sales teams keep an eye on the future with well-maintained Targeted Account lists. Your sales staff must stay on top of the critical tasks of identifying and creating a plan to attain your competitors’ top accounts?  If you don’t have and work your targeted account list, you will not be successful in growing your base of sales accounts.

Sales teams must keep track of business

A great hotel sales team will always maintain their file and trace system.  This is such a basic and simple way of making sure your accounts are maintained.  Effectively using your CSM and Traces are the only way to run a successful sales office.
Another important tracking system is held within your sales action plan.  If your team is lacking this critical document they will lack direction.  Once the sales plan has been created be sure to implement it.  It is true that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  Your sales team must work their Sales Action Plans!

With goals and tracking in place teams are set to beat their sales call quotas.  Laura Salisbury says, “I know this message gets old, but it is a fact.  Properties where salespeople make outside sales calls weekly out-perform the competition!”  Keep the message to your salespeople simple: Just Do It!  Make those sales calls!

Sales teams must understand how to work together

Activate your entire team by working with your general managers to lead the sales effort.  If the GM takes a leadership role in sales it can make all the difference in the world.  GMs need to get out from behind their desks and hit the road.  Sales is a team effort!

The final word on hotel sales

Exceed Service Expectations: Are you extending service beyond what your customers expect?  Over-delivering on service will exceed expectations and create long-lasting relationships with your clients.  Word of mouth is still the best advertising out there. To succeed in hotel sales, you must exceed your guests’ expectations!