Monthly Archives: December 2012

Does Goal Setting Have A Dark Side – Not Here!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that you are looking forward to a prosperous, healthy, and blessed New Year.

Since 2013 is just around the corner, I want you to think about the positive impact that setting goals, putting them in writing along with a plan to achieve them can have on your life.  Setting and achieving your goals not only impacts you but your family, friends and loved ones as well.

That’s pretty cool when you think about it.  The time that you take and the commitment that you make to formulate and achieve your goals affects you and so many other people around you that it should serve as an impetus to get a goal game plan together for 2013.

Almost every day, goals are set, sometimes without thinking about them, in order to achieve certain objectives throughout the day.

You program your car’s GPS navigation system in order to get from your office to your prospect’s office for your Monday morning presentation.  Goal – get to prospect’s office for meeting…Plan – enter in prospect’s address into the GPS system…Achievement – arrived at her office for the presentation.

You bought a chicken and all of the ingredients so you and your family will have a great meal this evening.  Goal – have dinner ready by 6:00 PM…Plan – purchase chicken and ingredients and throw in crock pot…Achievement – hot, delicious dinner.

If we can set these types of goals on almost a daily basis along with a plan to achieve them then why in the world don’t we take the time and make the commitment to do the same for our personal and professional lives?

Don’t believe the advocates who say goal setting has a serious downside unless you plan to poorly set goals, become cynical, waste your time, and have the wrong intentions in order to achieve your goals.

Are you that person?  I don’t think so since you’re reading this blog.

The next time somebody tells you that setting goals is a waste of time then ask them why so many successful business invest a great deal of time and resources into formulating a business plan along with a plan to achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between creating a business plan and your goal plan?  There is none.

So here are some steps for you to consider in order to get your goal game plan in motion.

There are also some great sites that provide additional insight that you can incorporate into your goal plan like MindtoolsGoal-Setting TheorySimple Goal SettingGoals in 7 Steps, and Financial Goal Setting just to name a few.

Here is a quick overview of what you should be thinking about before you start setting your goals.

  1. Decide what you want.  Is it personal, business, financial or all three.  Take time to sort these out in a place where you won’t be distracted so you can concentrate on the task at hand.
  2. Think of baby steps before you run.  Don’t try to conquer the world but also make sure that your goals will stretch you a bit.  If you set goals that are too far out of your reach, you may set yourself up to fail.
  3. ‘I will’ vs. ‘I want’.  The mind is a powerful tool, especially when you use it to set goals.  When you tell yourself ‘I will’ there is a much better chance of getting to where you want to go.
  4. Go for it and lose your fear.  Lofty goals are often achievable unless you let the fear of failure enter into the equation.  Believe in you and what you want to achieve and it will be yours.
  5. Every goal is worth another look.  When you decide to write down your goals, include everything that comes to mind no matter how silly they may seem and make a plan to revisit your goals at another time to tighten up your list.
  6. Review your progress.  On occasion, goals need to be tweaked so make sure that you revisit your goals from time to time in case anything has changed from the time you created your goals and the time that you review your progress.

So what are you waiting for?  It’s your year so make it a great one!

The Importance of Setting Goals is just one of the areas addressed in my new educational workshop for hotel sales managers called ‘Mapping the Course‘.

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement firm, that helps hotels grow their business and generate more revenue.

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‘Stand Up And Stand Out’ From The Rest Of The Pack In 2013

photographerI have an idea that I think will make a difference in your sales career next year.

It’s called ‘Stand Up and Stand Out’ where you and I will come up with ideas throughout the year that you can use to separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

Let me use the Christmas e-card that you recently sent as an example.

I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with sending your holiday wishes through and email but consider the following campaign as an alternative for next Christmas.

Grab a camera.  Almost all of you have access to a camera.  I would venture to say that most of you have a smartphone and a majority of them come equipped with a 6.0 or 8.0 megapixel camera.  If you don’t have a smart phone camera consider purchasing an inexpensive digital camera through e-Bay, Amazon.com or through another online retail site.

Best budget digital cameras

Take pictures.  Take a picture of as many of your clients as possible throughout 2013.  If you are a hotel sales manager, for example, take a picture of your client in your hotel’s lobby, restaurant or in your meeting space when he/she visits your hotel for their site inspection or when they arrive to begin their meeting, conference or event.

Heck, why not ask an associate to take the picture to include you?

Tips to ensure great smartphone photography with an iPhone or Android

Catalogue.  Now that you are going to be taking pictures of your clients throughout the year, figure out an easy way to catalogue each picture so that when you print them off you will be reminded of who you are sending the photo to.

Send or post?  Schedule time in November or by the first week of December to print off all of the pictures that you took and include your client’s picture in next year’s Christmas card thanking them again for their business.

If the budget is tight, consider creating an album on your Facebook page, post the pictures to it, and invite your clients to visit the photo album to view their picture along with other happy and satisfied clients that also held meetings or events at your hotel.

Photo procedures for Facebook

Once again, if you have ideas or campaigns that you would like to share with others then send an email to info@igroupadvisors.com and in the subject line include “Stand Up and Stand Out” along with your idea and we will get it and publish.

Let’s get going!  2013 is just a few days away.

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality vertical.

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The Advisor Hotel Blog’s Most Popular Articles In 2012

As we do every year, we would like to share with you the most popular articles among that were viewed during this past year.  A great summary of the key topics and trends that drove the hotel industry in 2012.

At the same time, we would like to thank you for visiting The Advisor Hotel Blog and wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year!

A 2013 Prospecting Assessment Guide For Hotel Sales Managers

The Staggering Costs To Hotels Managing Leads In An E-RFP Explosion

Fish Where The Fish Are Biting

The Importance Of Setting Goals – How To Get Them Out Of Your Head And On Paper

Five Steps That Will Take The Chill Out Of Cold Calling

The Secret To A Successful Marketing Campaign Is Not Your Value Proposition

Premier Hotel Realty’s ‘Featured Expert Series’ Interview With Tom Costello – iGroupAdvisors

4 Email Fails That Hotel Sales Managers Must Avoid

Since The RFP System Is Broke Will You Collaborate To Fix It?

Re-Evaluating Your Hotel’s Social Media Strategy For 2013

Hotel Loyalty Programs – Are Your Customers Feeling The Love Or Asking For A Divorce?

Meet Your Complaining Customers, What Causes Them To Complain, And How Complaints Affect Your Business

Are You Ready To Change The Perspective Of Order Taker Into Sales Maker?

The Key Ingredients Of A Successful Sales Person – Plan, Approach, And Mindset

Time Management – How To Work Smarter And Not Harder

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality vertical.

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Five Steps That Will Take The Chill Out Of Cold Calling

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 2.01.03 PMI use to cold call a lot.

There were times when I’d make 30 cold calls in one hour.

Dialing away until I got someone on the other end to listen to my pitch. Searching for that proverbial needle in a haystack.

Back in those days if I didn’t sell I didn’t eat so the best way to put food on the table was ‘dialing for dollars’, talking to a warm bodies, and closing sales.

I was pretty good at knowing what to say when I had a prospect on the line because I designed scripts for all of the different types of prospects that I could possibly encounter and developed a response for any objection they could throw at me.

Then, something made me rethink my cold calling strategy.  I’m not sure when or where but I made the commitment to spend more time getting my prospects to come to me as opposed to cold calling them.

I guess I was convinced that ‘pull marketing’ could yield more business than ‘push marketing’, today’s version of  ‘Permission Marketing‘ versus ‘Interruption Marketing’ as introduced by Seth Godin.

I guess ‘Interruption Marketing’ is like cold calling.  You find a number, call Mr. Decision Maker, and invade his corporate man cave.  You’re like that bothersome neighbor who invites himself over to watch the game and finishes off your last six pack before the end of the first half.

Who is this guy and how did he end up in my basement?

See the connection?

I wonder how many sales people today are interrupting prospects like I use to?

So how do you take the chill out of cold calling?

Don’t cold call.  It’s that simple.

I’m suggesting that you commit to never making a cold call again.

“So how do I do that?”

Try these five steps on for size.

Step #1 – If you haven’t identified your prospect’s pain and challenges then you’re apt to land back at square one which is ‘Interruption marketing’.  Start with Google to find clues that will lead you to the answers.  If your prospect is in the insurance game, for example, what challenges are the insurance industry facing?  Type in “challenges the XYZ industry is facing” into Google’s search field and you’ll literally have millions of results at your fingertips.

Step#2 – You have prospects who visit your Facebook page and are following you on Twitter don’t you?  Consider becoming a subject matter expert instead of selling.  If you represent yourself as a trustworthy source of knowledge and information, you can win their trust and respect over time.  One of the best social channels to establish yourself as an ‘influencer’ is on LinkedIn.  You can do that by joining and participating in groups and/or sharing your expertise on LinkedIn Answers.

Step #3 – You network to meet people, both online and offline, so that you can build relationships, provide assistance, receive referrals, and generate new business.  Networking, when done properly, will eventually lead to more referrals which will then reduce your need to cold call.

Step #4 – Take testimonials to a new level.  You can go to Best Buy or visit Amazon.com and purchase an inexpensive HD video camera for less than $300 that will allow you to film short videos of some of your satisfied customers or you can create a campaign to invite your customers to video themselves and send you their clip to be posted on your website and your corporate channel on YouTube?

Step #5 – I have sent RFPs to hundreds of hotels over the past few years and can only place my business typically in one hotel at a time.  But what about those of you who have received my RFP but did not win the business?  I’ve reached out to you and now should be considered a ‘warm call’.  So why haven’t you picked up the phone to ask me “What would it take to win your business this or next year?”  You tell me!

Prospecting is just one of the subjects I cover in my new educational workshop Mapping the Course that is specifically designed to help hotel sales managers grow their business and generate more sales.

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality vertical.

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Premier Hotel Realty’s ‘Featured Expert Series’ Interview With Tom Costello – iGroupAdvisors

This is the audio podcast and text excerpt of the interview that was conducted today by Rick Tobin, Owner and Broker, with Premier Hotel Realty about my new Mapping the Course educational workshop.

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did participating in the interview!

Rick Tobin (RT)

Hello and welcome to this edition of Premier Hotel Realty’s Featured Expert Series my name is Rick Tobin, Owner & Broker at Premier Hotel Realty in Sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida and my guest today is Tom Costello, CEO and Managing Director at iGroupAdvisors in Houston, Texas.

Welcome to the show, Tom.

Tom Costello (TC)

Thanks for having me Rick.

RT

Tom, could you share a little background information about yourself and iGroupAdvisors with my listeners?

TC

Absolutely.

I have been involved in the hospitality and travel verticals for more than 15 years and I operate two companies.

Groups International, which is a full-service meetings and events management company that provides site selection a procurement services to our corporate, association, and government clients.

And a consulting division that I recently launched, iGroupAdvisors, which is a performance improvement consulting firm that works with hotel owners, GMs, and their sales teams to help them grow their business and generate more revenue.

RT

Tom, you and I are connected through various hospitality-related groups on LinkedIn and I noticed your announcement about a new workshop that you’ve recently developed called “Mapping the Course for Greater Hotel Sales Productivity”.

Tell our listeners about that.

TC

I developed ‘Mapping the Course’, which is an educational workshop, based on the principles of my new book ‘Prepare for Liftoff’ based on my interactions with hotel and hospitality sales professionals over the past 15 years.

RT

So what does the workshop entail?

TC

Well, Mapping the Course covers six steps that are all designed to help hotel sales managers chart their course for greater sales productivity.

What’s different about the workshop is that it’s a ‘holistic’ approach where each of the steps serve as a link in a chain, if you will, that rely on each other to provide strength and connection.

RT

So give our listeners more details about the workshop.

TC

Certainly.

Step number 1 is the importance of ‘Setting Goals’ because they serve as a road map for a successful career in sales.  But the question becomes, are a sales manager’s goals something that are floating around in his or her head or are they in writing along with a plan to achieve them?

Rick, I’ll bet you that if I asked your listeners the question “How many of you have set goals, put them in writing along with a plan to achieve them?”, less than 10 percent of your listeners would raise their hands.

Those who have set goals, put them in writing along with a plan to achieve them can expect to out produce 80 to 90 percent of their peers!

That number is staggering isn’t it?

RT

That’s amazing.  I wasn’t aware of that!

TC

Step number 2 covers the principles of what I call ‘Pre-Sales Mental Conditioning’.

I’ve uncovered one of the secrets of top producing sales professionals and that is that they possess four common traits that allow them to better navigate the twists and turns of the sales cycle than those who don’t practice pre-sale mental conditioning.

Rick, you and I are both in sales, it’s a fact that 80 percent of sales is what goes on between your ears and 20 percent is everything else.

RT

Absolutely!  I agree!

TC

A hotel sales manager can be smart, well-trained and know their hotel inside and out but none of that is worth a hill of beans if their mind isn’t focused on the daily responsibilities that goes with his or her job!

Step number 3 is ‘Time Management’ and it’s a daily challenge for many hotel sales managers because of a number of factors that happen each day that robs them of their time if they don’t know how to manage their time properly.

RT

Right…right

TC

In the ‘Time Management‘ segment I identify, among many things, what will kill a sales manager’s time and solutions that will help them make the most of their time.

Step number 4 is ‘Prospecting’.  Are you beginning to see how all of this fits together Rick?

RT

Yes.  Go on.

TC

Think about this.

If you don’t have goals in writing, and a plan to achieve them, then how can you achieve your sales quota?

If you can’t manage your time, you won’t have the necessary time that it takes to prospect for new business.

If you don’t take five minutes in the morning to mentally prepare yourself for your day, then how can you effectively perform under pressure on the telephone, at a meeting or contract negotiation?

RT

Yes.  Makes total sense to me.

TC

OK back to prospecting.  Rick, the reason why so many hotel sales managers don’t make their quota is not necessarily tied to the economy.

It’s because they don’t prospect consistently, effectively, and efficiently and I spend a great deal of time discussing what a prospecting self-discipline looks like, prospecting strategies, scripts, prospecting exercises, so when they go back to their office they use these tips and techniques that will help them to build a successful pipeline of new prospects through their ‘hunting’ activities.

Step number 5 is ‘Networking’.  Rick, hotel sales managers can only become truly successful while networking when they understand that networking is as an extension of their marketing strategy and not their sales strategy.

Every hotel sales managers that puts into practice all of the networking components that I address in the workshop will become a trusted resource within their networking communities and that means more referrals.

Everyone can use more referrals can’t they?

RT

Yes, Tom, referrals are a key to anyone’s success in sales!

TC

And finally Rick, I’ll share an in-depth look into ‘Social Media’ and how to use it effectively to communicate, connect and convert customers through the major social media channels along with new tools and technologies that will help lead to more online and offline conversions.

RT

Wow what a fantastic workshop, Tom.  How can our listeners find out more about the workshop or to get in contact with you?

TC

If they’d like additional details about the Mapping the Course workshop or my consulting practice, they can reach me by telephone, my direct telephone number is 832-721-4288.  Or they send me an email, that address is tom@igroupadvisors.com.  Or visit the iGroupAdvisors website at www.igroupadvisors.com.

RT

Thanks to my guest, Tom Costello with iGroupAdvisors, and to you my listeners.

I hope you enjoyed Premier Hotel Realty’s Featured Expert interview today with Tom Costello and that you’ll tune in next time for another Featured Expert.   And of course, if you want to buy or sell a hospitality property, contact us at 954-892-5580, visit our website, or email me at Rick@PremierHotelRealty.com

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality vertical.

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iGroupAdvisors To Produce ‘Front & Center’ A New Hospitality Video Podcast

Houston, TX (December 10, 2012)  Front & Center is a new video podcast show that will feature hospitality professionals and industry thought-leaders and syndicated through video, social media and industry-related sites.

Tom Costello, CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, will host each Front & Center episode that will provide a forum where guests can share their knowledge and insight with an international audience.

If you would like to appear on Front & Center we invite you to submit an overview of your topic along with 10 questions that members of the audience might ask you if they were with you face-to-face.

Following a brief pre-production telephone call to discuss your proposed topic, arrangements will be made to conduct a live interview that will take place over Skype and that Front & Center episode will be syndicated within seven to fourteen days from the initial interview.

There is no cost or fee to appear on Front & Center which is tentatively scheduled to air in the first quarter of 2013.  All you need is a Skype account and a webcam connected to your computer.

If you would like to appear on Front & Center, please forward your contact information and a brief overview of your topic and description of your target audience to info (at) igroupadvisors (dot) com and you will be contacted within 48 hours to discuss.

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Poll – What Is Your Feeling About The General Business Climate For Hotels In 2013?

I posed this question to a couple of my LinkedIn groups and invite you to read their response and cast your vote!

Peter M. Delmas • I believe true growth will not come until the second quarter. Though many will have to re-invent themselves to stay relevant. The progressive, with new ideas and different procedures will flourish and thrive and others will wilt on the vine. Higher rates are welcomed, but we must be sure the value is there. Bigger organizations will naturally survive and thrive, smaller indepenmdents will need help.

Pedrito Quiamjot • Philippines hotels and resorts growth will be better in 2013. With more infrastructure nearing completion in the provincial destinations. New airports, roads and bridges are all on stream. Bigger convention halls are also now operational that should give a lift to the convention and MICE market.

Axel Kohl • Slightly worse overall and only the quality hotels offering excellent service will survive…mistakes and wrong customer service will not be forgiven by the client. Details…details..details

Alex Lyus • From a MICE perspective, hotels need to be more flexible in terms of accommodation blocks associated with meetings. Some clients are choosing to stay closer to home or in the city where their primary employees work and reduce the accommodation block. The event itself should still be very profitable for the venue, however venues can be reluctant to confirm large meeting groups that take out the bulk of meeting space without a large accompanying accommodation block guarantee. A sure fire way to lose business in this climate.

Daniel Peterson • I believe the outlook is good overall for 2013 as long as Congress gets its act together and we avoid the fiscal cliff. Companies like Starwood have seen exceptional growth worldwide even through the recession and I believe rates and occupancy are on the rise. The better hotel companies will do well in my opinion. I do agree with Axel that exceptional service is key and Alex’s point regarding flexibility for group rates and guarantees is also good. People have more and more choices all the time and I believe we need to flex with the current climate. Companies are more and more cost conscious.

Jeff Fenton • Most city analyst will tell you the economy, UK and Europe will remain the same for the next couple years, next years buzz word will be “triple dip recession”. So not sure we will see growth

Tom Ferree • Tom, Excellent question. We have talked to lot of hospitality companies about 2013. There is cautious optimism. Expectations are for continued improvement, but like last 2 years it will be slow. Consensus seems to be: politicians will always lack the guts to really tackle unpopular topics, so the can will get kicked down the road yet again. If political climate doesn’t change, business can continue to slowly improve.

Michael Rosmarin • Instead of my normal ‘guest’ hat, I’m compelled to put on my ‘CEO’ hat. It is irrelevant what the ‘feeling’ is around 2013. What are your metrics telling you… are advanced bookings up or down? Are meeting RFP’s up or down? Are upcoming BEO’s being heavily renegotiated? I’m not in the industry, yet these and other KPI’s are certainly the data and answers I’d like to have.

Guin White • We will be fighting for ADR/RevPAR!

Greg Velasquez • I love that we are such an optimistic industry; we seem to be looking forward to some modest growth in 2013 overall. Success for resorts will depend on taking innovative approaches to service, sales and marketing and breaking away from the “this always used to work in the past” mentality. Should be an exciting year ahead!

V.K. Aravind • There will definitely be an upward trend in hotel industry in 2013. There are a number of star hotels springing up in many places across various countries. Even 7-Star ITC LEED hotel have come up in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. So the investments are being made in hotel industry as the investors hope to get a good return from it. Competition will bring out innovations in business and the hotel industry is no exception.

Dev Anand • Axel, I liked your response re Mandarin & Russian speaking in hotel being important…we distribute RT (Russia Today) and CCTV (Chinese TV) to hotels to make their guests feel a bit more at home….2013 much the same …slight improvement over 2012…patchy…slightly less patchy! interesting speaker at LHW Conference last month in Cape Town…a lot of luxury hotel’s fortune are directly affected by the airline industry and what’s happening to their flight routes…which are in serious decline, with the exception of a few…if your guests cant get to you, they cant stay with you!

Alan Newton • It’s all about the politics. Those in power have been kicking the can down the road for too long now, rather than taking decisive action and it’s had a negative impact upon business leaders, who have been behaving far more cautiously. Big business have huge amounts of cash sat on the balance sheets but whilst the economy is relatively flat, there is caution around investing it, because of the question, “for what return?”. I’m cautiously optimistic for the hotel sector. London is buzzing post Olympics and is as popular as ever, which I think will continue into 2013 and beyond, but what of the broader UK, Europe and the global picture? There is plenty of activity out there, but it’s generally on a smaller scale, which will slowly become larger as confidence returns and the news from Politicians and Economic forecasters improves. More talking up, rather than down can have a positive impact and release some of those corporate purse strings to create a trickle down effect…

Gina Doerr • From my experience working Front Desk in Washington D.C. I can tell you that there will always be large groups of people coming in from out of state to attend conferences and that hotels will have no problem booking rooms. Whether or not we fall over the fiscal cliff, politicians and big businesses will continue to travel and need hotel rooms for their clients. The hotel industry will not be hurt in 2013!

Dana Divine • As we end the 2013 RFP season, most companies are asking hotels for a rate reduction or to remain flat in 2013. I don’t think ADR will improve much in 2013. One of the big banking firms said that they will move to 3-star hotels to reduce rates. There are other companies who will only use luxury hotels but I think others will move to limited service and/or more midscale properties to reduce T&E.

Danny Efendi • In my opinion in 2013, hotels business will be better than 2012. Usually every year will be an increase. An economic also will be much better thats why there will be a good expectation for the hotels business.

Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality vertical.

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