What is the one question I wish more hotel owners and sales leaders would ask when hiring a sales professional?
How will you make my hotel relevant to the buyers?
Trust me, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in our own hype as business owners/leaders and believe we are already relevant. Perhaps you’ve just spent a boatload of money to renovate your property or built a brand new gorgeous hotel in a market. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the hotel relevant. In this industry, the property is a commodity from day one. I know that is a hard pill to swallow after all the time and resources spent on creating a product you’ve been told buyers want and need. I have had a hotel owner tell me they don’t need a sales manager because their hotel sells itself! It is brand new and a leader in the market. I wished them luck, knowing in about 3 months’ time their sales pipeline would be declining at a rapid rate. Being the brand new shiny object in a market only lasts a split second and capitalizing on that is critical. Relying on being the new shiny object is very short-sighted. Instead, the hotel operator needs to capitalize on the moment, while building relationships that will remain loyal to their hotel when the next shiny object comes along. Diving deeper into understanding the psychology of buyers and realizing it takes more than generic sales flyers, and hope buyers will include the hotel in their RFP process is pivotal for each hotel.
If your hotel is waiting to be included, and if hotel leaders assume their hotels are being included in buyers’ RFP processes because it is new, or a leader in the market, or has the best location, etc. you know that property is certainly missing out on revenue.
Clients are unique in their needs, and before a property can become relevant, a sales professional needs to uncover their big care-abouts and pain points. Being relevant takes a personal approach.
So the underlining question… How can a sales professional help a hotel become more relevant to its target audience of buyers? There are 3 essential steps to success:
- Gain proximity to those buyers. Seek them out in places the buyers frequent, for example: industry associations, LinkedIn, and sales created proximity (prospecting calls, sales appointments, etc.)
- Have more conversations! One of my business mentors always says, “Conversations create cash”. In order to be successful, there MUST be someone dedicated to initiating conversations with the target audience. This uncovers their pain points and needs.
- The most critical piece: Turn the information uncovered in those conversations to position the hotel to be more relevant. Share with the buyer how the hotel can meet their needs and eliminate their pain. Give facts, tell stories and use examples. Help them imagine their needs being met anyway that you can.
If sales is not doing the above 3 essential steps then be certain the hotel is positioned as a commodity to buyers, or worse yet, not even being considered!
The three essential steps above are how we can change the game as sales professionals for our hotel partners. It is not by sending generic flyers, plain proposals, and placing a couple of phone calls. It’s not by sending a gift or dropping off cookies. It’s by creating a human connection, and treating the buyers as unique partners who matter. It’s by showing the hotel is there to serve the buyer and their guests in an authentic way that meets their needs. Sounds simple enough, but it takes skill and consistency, as well as a team of sales professionals who are about making it happen and believe it can be done!
At Sales4Hire, we had a really great story just recently that happened as a results of this 3-step approach to relevancy. Our Sales4Hire Account Manager has been working with a brand new hotel for just a little less than two months. Our Account Manager recently closed an account worth $95,000.00 soon after conducting sales appointments in the local market (gaining proximity), understanding the client’s particular needs and pain points (creating conversation) and then sharing the benefits of the hotel that meet those specific needs and overcome the pain points (showing relevancy). This hotel is in a saturated market with several competitors that are fairly new or newly renovated. In other words, the client has many choices that would meet their basic needs. Putting together a generic proposal and offering the basics would not make this hotel stand out from the crowd. Had we done that, it would have come down to price. With this piece of business the hotel was able to receive a strong ADR for a volume account.
Whether you are outsourcing sales for your property, hiring an internal candidate, or simply evaluating your current sales effectiveness, I encourage you to really dive into ensuring your hotel is focused on becoming more relevant. This is the key to closing more lucrative business and ensuring lasting partnerships with your decision-makers.