Hospitality sales and the internet

hotel sales use the internet well

Hospitality sales pros are careful about their use of the internet.

This week’s topic might offend some of you hospitality sales pros, but hear me out. I don’t want to be harsh, but, yeah there is a problem with our internet usage and it is getting worse, not better. Now, the internet is still a relatively new phenomenon on the timeline of mankind. We haven’t had the internet on the planet for very long.

But one of the problems with e-mail is so many of us, hospitality sales people included, are prisoners to it. You can’t go to dinner without your smart phone. We’re checking our smart phone all the time. I don’t know what you’re checking it for — I can see what the weather is. I don’t need to check my smart phone for the weather. Just look outside.

You’re checking your email all the time because it could be something good. But actually, if you’re typical, well over 70% of the e-mail you get is not work-related. I’m not making a judgment there, I also have trouble separating the two out. I’ll take both personal and business emails together, and that’s fine.

The key is — I simply don’t respond to both at once. Here’s the rule: a hospitality sales pro only needs to check his or her e-mail once an hour. They don’t need to check it every minute. Just check it once an hour. It’s an amazing time-waster to stop a productive task and look at your emails. It takes you some time to get back on track after you are distracted by your email (or anything else for that matter.) Besides, has anybody out there ever really lost a piece of hospitality sales business because they failed to get back to a customer within an hour after the e-email was received? Even when marked urgent? (And there are some people out there who mark urgent, urgent, urgent — it’s not urgent). Now if it is truly urgent the client will call, and you can stop what you’re doing and handle it. But stop being prisoners to your email.

Second, stop with the abbreviations. Stop with the abbreviation stuff on texting, certainly for your business texts. How many of you text customers now? I probably do 50% of my smart phone charges are now texting, and the other 50% is e-mail. I interview lots of meeting planners and I get feedback all the time that hospitality sales people should cut it out with trying to act young, hip, teen-age — the junior high stuff. Cut out the happy face, smiley face, dot-dot-dot, parenthesis, semi-colon. Don’t do that, it’s very unprofessional. Remain a hospitality sales professional. Watch your grammar, watch your spelling. I’ve got friends who, because their thumbs are big, they put at the end of their blackberry or iPhone signature, that there’s a high-probability there’s a typo or spelling, my thumbs are really big, please forgive me… You know what? You should probably consider leaving the hospitality sales field because when a customer sees that you’re sloppy with that, they’re also going to assume that you’re sloppy with the details. And if you’re sloppy with the details, it’s really difficult to trust you, and, treat you as a bonafide professional.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist about this, but this is deadly-serious. This is an enormous malaise in our industry today. Crappy written correspondence, crappy e-mail, and frivolous texts. When in doubt, ask “what would a true hospitality sales professional do?” because all things being equal the hospitality sales professional is going to beat the competition, hands down.

Posted 11/26/12

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