Monthly Archives: June 2013

“Sight Beyond Sight” – Guest Experience Analysis The Secret Weapon For Hotels

A few days ago in the office we were talking about what competitive advantage means for hotels, when someone said that in today’s market hotels need “sight beyond sight”. In our team we are all children of the eighties so we immediately recognized the reference to the Thundercats.

sword of omenThe Thundercats had something called the sword of omens that allowed them to see things the naked eye couldn’t detect. That was their competitive advantage. Time and time again they’d win the battle because of the insight the sword had given them.

All hotel managers could do with a sword like that, right? Well actually, hotel managers can get sight beyond sight if they want it. But I’ll get back to that (and the Thundercats) later. First, I want to consider how the competitive advantage for hotels has evolved, using the year 2000 as a point of reference for comparison. Why 2000? Because that was when TripAdvisor was founded.

The Secret to Success before 2000

In the pre-TripAdvisor world, guests had less information available to them to differentiate one hotel from another, so booking decisions were often made on the basis of the following three factors:

Star rating;

Brand; and

Travel agent recommendation.

People chose hotels based on the star rating, or the brand, because, in the absence of any better information, those factors at least gave them a general idea of what to expect. Or they chose the hotels their travel agent was familiar with, or was pushing. Guests had to put their trust in stars, brand names and travel agent recommendations because they had little else to go on.

So if we were to summarize competitive advantage in the pre-TripAdvisor years it would be “Prestige + Positioning = Success”.

But then TripAdvisor came along and all that changed.

The world begins to change

The dynamic of the industry had already started to shift, but with Tripadvisor’s introduction of mass user-generated content, the factors on which guests had previously based their decisions (and the factors that gave hotels their competitive advantage) started to pale in significance.

People rarely think about a hotel’s star rating anymore. Now they define hotels in terms of the experience that the hotel offers. For example, is it a boutique, country, adventure, eco, luxury, business or budget hotel?

Brands remain relevant, particularly in the corporate market, for travelers seeking a consistent experience across the world (be it Beijing, Bogotá or Bristol). But guests no longer choose brands because the experience at non-branded hotels is unknown. With all the information now available, tourists can get a good idea of what experience they can expect in any hotel, pretty much anywhere.

Finally, travel agents (be that the traditional model or online) remain an important means of accessing clients, and facilitating the transactions with them, but they are not a differentiator for guests when making their booking decisions.

Information – the new differentiator

So, if those factors no longer provide the key to success, then what does? Information. It’s the information that’s available to guests that will set hotels apart from the competition.

If a guest is trying to pick a hotel, they will probably make their decision based on what they see online. Hotels can do a lot to help themselves. They can, and should, make interesting content available on their website and on social media sites.

But no matter how much content the hotel creates, there’s no escaping the fact that it is now the guests who create much of the publicly available information about a hotel. And that’s just the kind of information that influences other prospective guests when making booking decisions. A 2012 Deloitte survey found that over half of guests read reviews before booking.

So what’s a hotel to do? They can take back some of the control of the message by responding to reviews. But smart hotels will know that the best way, in fact the only way, to influence what guests say is to give guests the experience they want at an appropriate price. (Because no matter how good the experience is, if it isn’t in line with the price paid guests won’t not be content.)

A Sword of Omens for Hotel Managers

So, and here’s where we get back to the Thundercats, hotels need to have “sight beyond sight”. They need to see what’s behind those reviews. Monitoring the reviews will give hotels an idea of guest sentiment, whether they’re happy or not, and some clues as to why. But it won’t give hotels the kind of deep insight they need to ensure that going forward they’ll have satisfied guests who will rave about their hotel to others.

Why not? Because satisfaction is made up of a mixture of perception and expectation. To understand exactly why guests are satisfied or not, you need to know whether the perceived quality of the experience matched the guests’ expectations (both in terms of what experience they were looking for and what experience they expected for the price paid).

To have that kind of insight, hotels need to take an intelligent approach to collating and analyzing guest feedback. They need to know what’s important to guests, and also whether the experience they’re offering guests is in line with the price paid. Simply aggregating ticks on pieces of paper won’t cut it.

Like the lovechild of Stephen Hawking and Heidi Klum

To conclude, I’ll return to another TV show that is discussed often at Hotel Trail HQ – the Big Bang Theory. If you’re not  familiar The Big Bangwith it (and if you aren’t where have you been for the past five years?), it’s a show about a group of genius scientists and their attractive, but somewhat less intelligent neighbor, Penny.

In one episode, one of the scientists, Leonard, speculates about what his and Penny’s children might be like. He imagines they’d have his intelligence and her good looks. Well, to have a real competitive advantage, that’s what hotels need to be like. Inside, they need to take an intelligent, analytical approach to the information they gather about the guest experience and, on the outside, they need to make sure that the experience is as attractive as possible to potential guests. When a hotel does that, it will certainly stand out from the crowd.

Caroline Doughtery

Guest contributor, Caroline Doherty, is Director of Marketing and co-founder of Hotel Trail (www.hoteltrail.com). Hotel Trail provides hotels with a simple, affordable and intelligent turnkey solution to monitor and improve guest satisfaction.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest reviews, Guest satisfaction

The Importance Of Follow Up – A “No” Strategy That Can Lead To A “Yes”

businessman-saying-yes-ID-100105082I read “Why 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales” written by Robert Clay with Marketing Wizdom that emphasizes the importance of follow up.

As a sales manager, you are tasked with contacting prospects on a daily basis in an attempt to educate them on the value proposition that your hotel has to offer but did you know that studies reveal that only two percent of sales occur when two parties meet in person or over the phone for the first time?

The two percent that are in a position to book your hotel have already conducted some prior research and already know what they are looking for.  One would assume that research included your hotel’s location, your brand, amenities and other identifiers that were made available through your hotel’s website.

That means that 98 percent of the prospects you meet or contact for the first time are not in a position to say “Yes” and will only book once a certain level of trust has been established by you.

Anyone who believes they can go into a sales situation armed with “101 sure fire sales closes” and make sales is seriously misinformed … and about 20 years behind the times. Professional sales people get to know their prospects; understand their issues; solve their prospect’s problems; and provide irrefutable proof. They build relationships and trust by engaging in on-going dialogue (otherwise known as follow-up). They don’t just peddle their products and services with an armoury of closing tricks.”

There are a variety of reasons why a prospect isn’t in a position to pull the trigger at your hotel and that’s OK because there are just psychological and transactional realities you must become aware of and recognize.  For these reasons, your follow up is key to your success in eventually winning over the prospect.

According to Clay, “Research shows, amazingly, that only 20 percent of sales leads are ever followed up … in other words 80% of potential opportunities are lost without trace simply due to lack of follow up.”

If you want to change that, read on.

Here are some stats that should open your eyes as to the importance of follow up.

  • 44 percent of sales people give up after one “No”
  • 22 percent give up after two “No’s”
  • 14 percent give up after three “No’s”
  • 12 percent give up after four “No’s”

Simply put, 92 percent of sales people throw in the towel after being rejected four times and only eight percent of sales people put themselves in a position to ask for the order a fifth time.

That means that eight percent of the sales people are getting 80 percent of the sales.

Consider developing a “No” strategy

Think of it this way.  If you contact a prospect on five different occasions, he will most likely say “No” four out of five times so if you design a strategy that includes a fifth contact at some point in time you will have a better chance in either solidifying your relationship and/or potentially booking business in the future.

Where are your “No’s” and how can you begin to transition them into a “Yes”?

How many leads come to your hotel direct, via an eRFP channel or through another source?  When you can’t place the business in your hotel for whatever reason, what happens with that lead?

The first place you need to look is in your hotel’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Once you have identified those who said “No”, you will need to develop what Clay calls a ‘Five No’s’ strategy that will help to put you in a better position to convert that prospect over a period between nine and twelve months.

If you struck out once, the idea is that you will have to contact that prospect over the suggested timeframe four more times.

Your contact strategy should include a compilation of telephone, email, handwritten note, and an invitation to visit your hotel for breakfast/lunch/dinner/site inspection/FAM trip (whatever the budget will allow).

First, send a compelling email that contains a personal message from you and a call to action that is designed to produce a response.  Before you construct your email, read about these 4 Email Fails That Hotel Sales Managers Must Avoid.

Example:

Hi Bill,

This is Mary Jones from the ABC Hotel.  

We were unsuccessful in placing your annual business meeting at our hotel and would welcome the opportunity to work with you again in the future.

The ABC Hotel has (insert your value proposition here).

I will follow up with you again in the near future but in the meantime, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

PS (insert a call to action here)

Mary Jones

Follow up the email with a personal call and make sure that you have something of value to discuss with the prospect other than just calling to check in.  If you follow the prospect, on say LinkedIn, you can glean something from his profile or his company’s page that can spark an intelligent conversation.

Feel free to leave a voicemail message that refers back to your previous email along with a call to action at the end of your message.

Follow up your call within 30 days with a handwritten note and another call to action.

Follow up your call with an email or other form of communication and invite the prospect to personally visit your hotel using any of the suggestions referred to above.

Your turn.  What other strategies would you include in this campaign?

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Best practices, hotel strategies, Sales Strategies, Sales Tips

The Characteristics Of A Good Leader

I asked members of various groups on LinkedIn to share their thoughts on what they believe are the “Characteristics of a Good Leader?”  Here are the results.

Regulthafus Andrikus A good leader has an exemplary character, excited about their work, confident, tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose, keeping the main goal in focus, is able to think analytically and committed to excellence.

Ken Vincent I believe, Tom, that in the purest sense and definition management and leadership can be separated. However, I’ve never known a good GM that didn’t have some leadership talent too. Of course, one can manage the mechanical tasks of being a manager without being a leader but to me that is not management in the full sense. Managing a hotel, or company, is more about managing the people than the paper and that takes leadership. One can learn the mechanics of waiting tables too, but that doesn’t make him/her a good waiter.

Nic Marks Facilitative, autonomy-supportive, listening, clear, consistent, human, humane, positive.

Create the conditions for a happy high performing team/organization and the rest will take care of itself … too many images of “heroic” leaders for me … Tony Hseih of Zappos.com says a leader should be like a gardener – not an action hero.

Kapil Notra To me, a leader has the following 2 distinguished qualities:
1. Ability to create more leaders
2. Ability to take decisions

Ronald Rocha Good, I would like to include also:
1 – Server
2 – Share responsibilities and victories
3 – A leader IS and do not need a JOB Position to STAY as a Leader.

Nandakumar R Should have Integrity, be supportive to his subordinates and stand by them.

Suzy Aya Honesty, respect and good communication

Tom Taylor All of these are great characteristics and we could fill a book with words/descriptions that describe leaders. But, in my opinion, the one most significant characteristic of great leaders is their ability to get others to “take action”. Talk is cheap, but action is fundamental to organizational success. If we study the best of the best, they have this incredible ability to get others moving, taking action and achieving goals/objectives. These are not titled managerial positions, but incredible shakers and bakers – leaders of people. I am so amazed how great leaders impact others and help their organization become “best in class” in their industries. Just my opinion after studying great leaders for 35+ years.

Tom Sand I like what Tom has presented. I would add:
Strategy Development – Determining business direction in a changing environment and setting the course to achieve competitive advantage.
Financial Management – Making business decisions that result in meeting business unit profit objectives and increase value to shareholders.
Stakeholder Management – Building and maintaining the working relationships and communications required to achieve business goals.
Transformative Leadership – Creating an environment that enables change and brings out the talent and commitment of employees.
Human Resource Management – Ensuring the availability of a diverse workforce that has the knowledge and skills to perform in changing, competitive environment.
Operations Management – Producing products and delivering service to meet or exceed customer expectations at a reasonable cost.
Project Management – Accomplishing large-scale projects in a timely manner to produce desired business results.
Managing Personal Growth – Continually learning and growing through self-awareness and focusing on personal life goals.

Jeff Golden I would add social and emotional intelligence and multiple ways to communicate ideas.

Bruce “Brew” Harrell Courage, loyalty, knowledge, effective communication skills, emotional intelligence, confidence, willing to listen, solution oriented, ability to develop and communicate effective vision, action oriented! In the USMC we used to summarize leadership this way: 1. Never, eat, sleep, or drink before your Marines do! 2. Never ask them to do anything you cannot or will not do! 3. ALWAYS lead from the front! 4. Treat them with RESPECT! 5. Be fair……..NOT a bad leadership summary, at all, and it works in business! OH yeah, don’t forget endurance! Great leaders get there early and leave late!

Chris Irish •Listening to differing views and then making a decision and accepting responsibility.  Trustworthy, they follow through and offer transparency to those they work with and for.

What would you like to add?

Tom Costello is the President and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a hotel consulting and sales training company that helps hotel owners and their sales teams grow their business and generate more sales.

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership

How Can Hotels Reach Out To The New Breed Of Transactional Web Users To Impact Their Wedding Revenues?

1876-mediumBenjamin Franklin once famously said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” But, unless you are a tax accountant or a funeral director, how do you grow your business in challenging economic times?

Weddings are what I like to think of as a recession-proof life event.  Even in times of economic struggle, people continue to tie the knot; albeit perhaps in a smaller, less lavish way. Idealistic young couples still want to show the world that they are in love and, with the increase in divorce rates, second time (even third time) weddings are increasing year on year.  Civil partnerships are now firmly on the map and the rise of the “pink pound” when it comes to weddings has been well documented.

A drop in corporate bookings due to the current economic circumstances has led hoteliers to look to weddings to supplement their C&B business.  But in an increasingly competitive marketplace, how are hoteliers reaching out to newly engaged couples?  And, more importantly, how are they converting these couples into wedding revenue on the books?

User behavior online is changing as the web has moved from simply an information resource to a place where we transact daily.  We purchase flights, book hotel bedroom accommodation, shop and pay bills online every day.  According to the UK Internet Advertising Bureau, the Hospitality & Travel industry is a leading adopter of digital marketing, accounting for 10% of the entire digital advertising spend in the UK during the first 6 months of 2012.

In the realm of weddings, a recent survey we conducted suggests that 90% of couples will go online and google wedding related terms before they ever set foot in the door of a hotel.  Yes, they are researching online, but how about going further? We know that over 60% of couples set a wedding date before they decide on a venue.  How can hotels better leverage their digital marketing experience in bedroom bookings to grow their business in the niche and sometimes more complex wedding vertical?

WeddingDates is an Irish-based software company that has “married” the transactional nature of the web with the demands of the 21st century couple.  We provide hotels with software that allows couples to check availability for their chosen wedding date online.   This cleverly designed application makes it easier for couples to “transact” on hotel websites and to submit enquiries more easily via an interactive calendar tool.  The enquiries that come via the calendar are for dates that the hotel has available to sell and thus are more qualified, more targeted, more valuable, leads.

Our hotel customers are reaping the benefits.  Conversion rates of 10% are not uncommon and we give hotels the ability to track and measure the impact of the software very quickly and see the additional revenues hit the bottom line.  For one 5 star hotel, our software generated 276 leads which led to 30 converted wedding bookings and revenue of €900,000 in a single calendar year.

While hotel websites have been thoroughly optimized for bedroom booking conversion, when a user goes to a weddings or events page on a hotel website, that’s usually where the interactivity stops.  Some photos, marketing text and maybe a download brochure link is what faces a bride (or groom!) when planning the happiest day of their life – not exactly an inspiring start!  Online enquiry forms have a tendency to be way too lengthy and generic (many use the same form for meetings and conferences as they do weddings and events) I don’t know about you, but I have never been a “delegate” at a wedding!

Hotels need to realize that wedding bookers want to be communicated to in a different way than corporate bookers and tailor their website accordingly.  With increased choice in the marketplace, an alternative venue is only a click away.  While you may have a stunning wedding property, we consistently hear back from brides who say the major influencer in their decision was the ease of communication with the venue or the staff member that gave them the show around.

For hotels where weddings are a key part of the revenue mix, even a slight uplift in the number of weddings per year can make a big difference.  WeddingDates customers report a 20% increase in enquiries and an improvement in enquiry quality, when they install our software on their websites. And in economically-challenging times, a 20% uplift in revenues can have a major impact on keeping the wolf from the door.

NDawe_Ciara_Crossan_120111_0029_CROPGuest contributor, Ciara Crossan, is the Founder and CEO of WeddingDates a software company that assists venues increase their wedding revenue by filling unsold inventory.  Operating with top venues across Ireland  and the UK, WeddingDates system provides real time revenue reporting and competitive benchmarking for their sector.  WeddingDates has won Best Online PR in 2011 in the Irish Social Media Awards and Ciara has been shortlisted for the UK based Women 1st SHINE Awards in the category of Outstanding Entrepreneur in June 2013.

2 Comments

Filed under Best practices, Event Planner

The Service Was Underwhelming And I Think I Know Why

bad-serviceI recently took a trip to New Orleans to celebrate my son’s 24th birthday.

I attended college in New Orleans and have placed several meetings and events in the city over the past couple of decades so I have a pretty good understanding of the lay of the land.

I hung my hat at one hotel during my three-day trip, had breakfast, lunch and dinner each day and stopped by a couple of recommended watering holes to enjoy their signature cocktails, in moderation of course.

New Orleans is a great place to visit but on this trip, there was something that I felt was missing.  Service.

Poor service is a problem that plagues the hospitality industry and good service, no exemplary service, must be a priority for any business owner, manager and his staff.

I believe that there are three underlying factors why the service was so underwhelming in the majority of the establishments that I visited in New Orleans.

A lack of direction from ownership or management

In a post on the Harvard Business Review blog, “Are You Sure You’re Not A Bad Boss?”, coming in at number three on the list of the 10 flaws that contribute to a leader’s failure was:

A lack of clear vision and direction. Poor leaders have a murky view of the future, don’t know precisely what direction to take, and are (not surprisingly) unwilling to communicate about the future, leaving their subordinates with no clear path forward.”

Ownership or management is out of touch with their employees

From the “Top 10 Mistakes Managers Make Managing People“, managers should exhibit these characteristics.

  • Value people
  • Believe in two-way, frequent effective communication and listening
  • Want to create an environment in which employees are empowered to take charge of their jobs
  • Able to hold people accountable and responsible without punitive measures
  • Demonstrate leadership and clear direction
  • Believe in teamwork
  • Place the customer at the center of their reason for existence and regard reporting staff as customers

Employee work ethic suffers when their ownership or management doesn’t care about them

Staff members may say they feel a lack of connection between the rest of the staff and the management team. As a manager, be sure to promote healthy communication whenever possible. If you give direction, be sure to follow up afterward. Hold staff meetings frequently. Greet and talk with each employee daily, or as often as possible. Let staff members know what is happening in the business and make them feel that they are a part of its successes.”  Foodservice Warehouse.

So what are some of the service challenges that are facing the hospitality industry that you’d like to add?

Tom Costello is the President and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a hotel consulting and sales training company that helps hotel owners and their sales teams grow their business and generate more sales.

1 Comment

Filed under Customer Service

All Great Salespeople Sell With A Noble Purpose

Six years ago, a major biotech firm conducted a six-month double-blind study of its sales force. The goal was to determine what behaviors separated the top salespeople from the average ones. The study revealed something no one expected: The top performers all had a far more pronounced sense of purpose than their more average counterparts. The salespeople who sold with noble purpose, who truly want to make a difference to customers, consistently outsold the salespeople who focused on sales goals and money.

When firms see their sole purpose as making a profit, they tend to view their customers as objects. “Customers are no longer human beings,” says Lisa Earle McLeod, author of “Selling with noble purpose”. “They are anonymous targets and prospects whose sole purpose is to help the company make money. That kind of language creates a culture that says, we don’t exist to do something for our customers; customers exist to do something for us.

Examples of noble sales purposes

The book gives a number of examples of transitions to noble purposes.

For example, Meridian Systems used to focus on “becoming the number one provider of project management software in the world.” Meridian’s manager saw that the staff needed to reclaim their passion. Working with their senior leaders they came up with “We help people build a better world. Their NSP behaviors are: We connect. We collaborate. We care.”

CMIT Solutions is a franchise organization that provides managed information technology services for small businesses. CEO Jeff Connally says, “We went from ‘selling IT services’ to ‘We help make small businesses more successful.’ It’s a shift from being an IT provider to being a business partner.

Graham-White Manufacturing is the world’s technology leader in the drying of compressed air for locomotives and rail transit vehicles. Their tagline tagline used to be, “We provide reliable transportation solutions.” Now its purpose has become: We help make transportation safer, faster, and more reliable.”

The one question sales managers must ask

The question that sales managers must ask is often the question they don’t ask: “How will this customer be different as a result of doing business with us?” Asking  this question “ignites a chain reaction that drives outstanding sales performance.”

Asking this question helps reminding everyone about the impact products and services have on customers and preparing for the conversations salespeople will be having with customers. Having these discussions— about how customers’ lives would be different as the result of doing business with us— sheds a wholly different perspective on sales activity. What you look at not only focuses your mind but translates into your behavior, which shifts people’s perception and experience of you.

Source: Forbes

Are you a hotel sales manager who sells with a noble purpose?

Tom Costello is the President and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a hotel consulting and sales training company that helps hotel owners and their sales teams grow their business and generate more sales.

1 Comment

Filed under Sales Strategies

Cold Calling – A Sample Script For New Hotel Sales Managers

cold call script 3

Scripts are a great temporary tool, especially for those who are moving into sales from another position within a hotel or have limited experience calling on prospects.

A properly designed script allows you and your prospect to have a conversation to discuss his needs and for you to be able to identify if your hotel is the right fit for his next meeting or event.

Once you are comfortable handling objections and general questions, you should wean yourself off of the script as soon as possible.

When you take the time to conduct some basic research about your prospect, his company, corporate culture and his past meetings or events, you should know enough about him that your call becomes a conversation instead of a ‘cold’ call.

Your Opening Greeting

The minute that your prospects answers your call you should open with a professional greeting that contains your first and last name and the name of your hotel.  If you have never spoken to the prospect it is OK to use his first name.  This will most likely keep him from putting up his guard based upon his past experience with telemarketers who historically use “Can I speak with Mr. Jones?”.

“Hi/Hello Bill.  My name is (your first and last name) and I am with (your hotel name) in (your city).”

“Do you have a quick minute/moment to speak with me?”

Your opening greeting has established three things.  One – Since you conducted some research on Bill, you are somewhat confident that he is at least one prospect within this company that could potentially book business at your hotel.  Two – You have asked Bill’s permission to continue the conversation.  I prefer the question ‘quick minute/moment to speak’ over ‘Did I catch you at a bad time’ because often there is no good time, unless you made a prior appointment to call at a specific time, and using the word ‘bad’ often brings with it a negative connotation.  Three – Bill said the word “Yes”.

I have lost count as to how many hotel sales managers who have called me over the years and went right into their pitch without asking me if it was a good time or not to talk.  Your prospect’s time is just as valuable as yours so be respectful of it and avoid bowling him over with information overload.

Thank you, Bill.  I know that you are busy so I will make this brief.

You have once again shown your respect of Bill’s time and have let him know that your intention is not to waste it by suggesting that your conversation will be brief.

If, for some unforeseen reason, your end of the conversation turns into babble at this point, you have breached what little trust Bill has placed in you and there will be little to no room to win him back.

The Qualifiers

I looked at (name of Bill’s company’s website or some other source that you have identified) and noted that (Bill’s company) holds an annual meeting/event.”

If you know where Bill’s next meeting or event will be held then continue with this statement.

This year I see that (Bill’s company) is going to (hotel name) in (city/destination).”

You have demonstrated to Bill that you have done your homework and a statement of this nature is most likely more than your what your competitor will use when he speaks to Bill.  Once again, Bill said the word “Yes”.

The more you get Bill to say the word “Yes” the more time you will be granted to ask him questions.

Are you involved in the planning/organization of that meeting/event?

It is important that you uncover who the stakeholders or decision makers are, in addition to Bill, so you don’t spin your wheels with the wrong person.

If Bill is not the stakeholder or decision maker, follow up with this simple question.

Who do you suggest that I speak with?

For this exercise let’s say Bill is your guy.

Bill is (your destination) a potential destination for your future meeting/event?

If Bill says no, then you can thank him for his time and consideration and move on to your next call.

If you are a sales manager who wants to make the most out of each call, you can always ask Bill to refer you to another individual, company or organization that might consider your hotel for a future meeting or event.

Bill, as the (Bill’s title) with (Bill’s company) you probably run into a number of others like yourself who hold meetings and events.”   

“Is there anyone else that comes to mind who you think might consider (your destination) for a meeting/event?

It’s a long shot but you never know the answer if you don’t ask the question.

Let’s proceed with Bill as the decision maker.

Could you tell me what you look for in a hotel?”

 or drill down and ask

“Could you tell me the three most important things that you look for in a hotel?”

Listen closely to his response. How does your hotel stack up.  Is your hotel in a similar location (city/airport/suburbs)?  Does your hotel have enough guest rooms (singles/doubles/suites), meeting/event space, distance from airport/hotel, shuttle service, offsite activities, rate, chain affiliation, amenities etc.?

If Bill is not spilling his guts and you feel that he is open to answer a couple of questions, ask some of the above.  If you decide to discuss rate, ask for a rate range.  If your hotel is not in his rate wheelhouse, then you can opt to end the discussion or ask for a referral.

If your hotel appears to be an option for Bill’s consideration then it’s time to move to the next step and that is to send him your hotel’s collateral or kit for his review.

Bill, can I forward you some additional information about our hotel?  Would you prefer to receive that by mail or email?”  “Email?”  “What is your address, please?

The Wrap Up

Bill thank you once again for your time and consideration and when would be the best time for me to follow up with you?

One final note.  Take the time to practice your script before you use it on a prospect.  You can record it, practice in front of a mirror or use family or friends as the prospect.

A conversation is a two-way street where people talk and listen.  When your script eventually becomes a part of you and your personality, you will have a higher success rate calling on and winning over prospects.

Tell me about your script and what other elements that you would like to share with new sales managers.

Tom Costello is the President and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a hotel consulting and sales training company that helps hotel owners and their sales teams grow their business and generate more sales.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sales Strategies, Sales Tips