Tip 5: No One Loves Sales
At Casa we meet many owners and GMs that don’t really believe that they need sales, thinking that the quality of the product will sell itself. We disagree, we think everyone needs sales. Always. And it’s not because we’re sales people that we value sales.
When your hotel is empty, who else is going to pick up the phone and make 50 cold calls to the local corporate market to help fill it?
Sales in its simplest form is about building commercial relationships. All businesses buy and all of them sell. So people that buy for a living work with those that sell for a living.
This means having relationships with people and organisations who have a need for your facilities. More often than not it’s the rooms and event space that need selling the most. Therefore it is the important relationships with agents and corporate clients that have a need for these things that makes the difference.
o far so simple right? Actually it is. One of our first jobs was selling a mid-range corporate hotel in the centre of London the training for which consisted of a local area business phone book, a phone and a coffee. Phone meet sales person, sales person meet phone. Open the book. Have a coffee, you’ll need to stay awake.
Thankfully things have moved on a little since then and we sales people have information at our finger tips that was never available back at the beginning of our careers. Information that allows us to really get in front of the right buyers for our product. However some of the same principles still apply.
Sales people still need to build relationships with buyers and they need to maintain those relationships. To achieve this there are no shortcuts. Hotel sales isn’t just about showrounds and coffees in the lobby. Sales is about soliciting clients, about building a rapport with those clients and about managing those relationships.
Pick up the phone to a local business and ask for the person responsible for booking accommodation for visitors to that office. Speak to that person. Explain you are calling from the local hotel and you would like to be their preferred hotel supplier. Ask them how you should go about achieving that. Schedule a meeting in their office. Go see them. You want their business. Demonstrate this. Listen to their needs.
Before you think, hold on our GM/FOH Manager/Res Manager can do this. Well yes technically they can. However in our experience it always pays to have someone who can build and look after these relations full or part time. We find that clients like to have someone on speed dial who values and understands the relationship. A hotel operator, despite their best endeavours, always has a business to run.
A really good sales person is your commercial lightning rod. They know the work it takes to get new clients and what it takes to keep them.
The sales person will know the long-term value to the business of keeping that client. They will fight internally for that relationship. Of course you can always sell every room at the highest price when everyone around you is also full so why would you take that discounted corporate rate?
Well buyers like to work with sellers because it’s the relationship that counts. So when you need this business these relationships are the difference between having to drop rates to drive demand against having some decent rated regular clients.
So how do we get more clients then? Well for a start, be a good neighbour. Build a full understanding of what companies lay within your local market. The easiest way to do this is to grab your coat and walk around. Unless they are really trying to hide, they will have their name on the door. Just try and be subtle if you’re taking photos in sensitive locations.
Once you know who they are, speak with them. You will be surprised how open and friendly most local offices are. Or use
Google if it’s raining. Your aim is to be the first-choice accommodation provider for the local market and to reiterate a point made earlier, if they have a relationship with you, they will use you.
It’s all about the Bookers. It seems obvious but is so often overlooked. Don’t just add your previous guests to your database. As per our earlier notes, it’s important to keep communicating but you B2C list may be infrequent guests and marketing is often a numbers game. I mean Barcelona is amazing but really how many times have you been there in the last 5 years?
Make sure you recognise the key bookers and have a separate list just for these key decision makers. Call up the individuals and
agencies who make the bookings, thank them for their business. Even if they have only booked once, their needs may change at any time so keep on their radar.
Don’t forget to schedule a follow up call for those group bookings either. A polite courtesy call a week or so after departure helps maintain that relationship.
For more tourist destinations, look at who is selling your location from overseas. Google holidays to your region and call up the agents explaining that you would like to be one of their suppliers. Listen to their needs.
Never take your regulars for granted. Make them feel appreciated. More important than rewarding is the recognition. It’s hard to compete against the mega loyalty programs but a little bit of recognition goes a long long way.
Really get to know your clients to find those extra opportunities. You may be receiving regular guests from a particular office but are you sure they don’t use an agent when booking from overseas? How about that group booking from their Dutch branch every year or their Xmas party, annual conference, team building etc,
Go on their website and add every one of their offices to your database or CRM. The more offices a company has the bigger
their potential requirements. Be their best friend hotel supplier or someone else will be. Sales people are a buyers best friend even if no-one else loves them.
A good sales person will embed themselves into their client operations. Want a hotel? call the guys at Casa. Want a Xmas party? ask the Casa guys if their hotel is doing anything this year.
We would know in advance if a client was thinking of using another supplier and why. We really value all relationships and this benefits our hotel clients.
Contrary to many myths, the best sales people are actually the most honest. This is for the simple reason that the best relationships are based on truth.
So invest in honest people that can build and maintain your relationships because if you don’t, then one of your competitors will.
Or just hire us.