By Jim VanDevender
Midyear can be a stressful time for hotel sales managers. By June, there is only six months left and Q4 is when you have either made your group goal or not. The good thing is that there is still time to turn things around and get back on pace toward making your numbers.
The trick is to identify WHY you are not making your goal and HOW to fix it. If you are like most sales managers you have been helped by a strong demand in the market. Unfortunately, demand is quickly being outpaced by new supply. So, let’s talk about three reasons you might not be hitting your groups goal and what to do about each:
- Get Proactive: Over the last couple of years as demand soared, sales teams became less proactive and dependent on inbound leads and inquiries. When that happens proactive selling skills get rusty. The remedy is to review what your proactive selling activities are in reality and identify ways they might be improved. What worked before may not work today. Take a good hard look and make sure you are allotting regularly scheduled time to devote to proactive selling and outreach. Block this time off on your calendar and make sure nothing takes its place.
- Find Your Hidden Gems: Secondly, take a hard look as to HOW you are proactive selling. What is your success rate with those methods? If you are not on pace to hit your group goal, you may not be as successful as you think you are. It doesn’t mean that you are not a superstar salesperson. It just means your methods may not be effective anymore. And that is actually very fixable:
- Calling back lost business is not always effective. These tend to be leads that were blasted out on an eRFP channel meaning many hotels got the lead and lost the lead and are also calling them back as well when they had no intention of ever booking your space. Let it go.
- Instead, dedicate your proactive selling to groups that are new to you and may not have ever sent you an RFP. And it’s totally ok if the group has not met in your market before. It’s important to get ahead of the destination decision-making process. Look at the markets where they HAVE met. Look at markets similar to your own in size and region of the country. Then, sell your destination first, and sell your hotel second.
- Connect with the Planner: You may be talking to the planner in a “one size fits all” manner. Elevate your conversations with planners when you are proactively selling. Show the planner that you have done your homework. Let them know you are familiar with their booking patterns. For example, introduce them to your hotel’s convention service manager. Planners feel that is the person that will make their meeting run smoothly so approach them in a team effort. Have a couple of photos to send that show what your hotel does best. Let the planner know that your team is there to take work off their plate and give them peace of mind.
With mid-year upon ups, there is still time to pull ahead from the pack. Follow these three suggestions to better improve your selling outcomes and to meet your year-end group business goals.