The magic of the hotel sales vacuum

hotel sales magic

Here’s where use of the hotel sales vacuum really works well.

A hotel sales vacuum is an environment in which you’re going to go and block off one full hour, and you’re going to do nothing but make hotel sales calls to those on your flat list.

Now here comes the magic of the hotel sales vacuum. But before you read this, be sure you read last week’s blog post introducing the hotel sales vacuum.

If I were to put you in a sales vacuum, and as an experienced hotel sales person you had a really good flat list to work from, you could do wonders. If you have 30 or 50 names on your flat list, each one of which:

  • yielded a reasonable return on your time invested, and
  • we had evidence they used hotels and they’re using hotels in your competitive set, just not using you,

how many customers do you think in an hour you could have the beginnings of a decent conversation with?

Not counting the number of messages you would have to leave, how many customers do you think you can talk to in an uninterrupted hour? On average, some days it’s 5, some days it’s 7, some days none, some days it’s 10. Give me an average over a long period of time, if you pounded it out every day for an hour…How many per hour? Can we say 5? I think as a hotel sales pro you have the ability. You might have to leave 7 messages to get to 5 live people, but do we agree we all have the ability to contact five customers a day if we block the world off of an hour?

If you agree that you have the ability to speak to five customers in an hour, and we further agree that there are five days in every week, that means that we have the ability to speak to 25 new, previously unsold accounts every week if you’ll just give it an hour a day.

If we assume that there are four weeks in every month, that means you have the ability (I didn’t say you were going to get to it) to speak to 100 new, previously unsold accounts every month if you just give it an uninterrupted hour a day. Since there are 12 months in every year, that means you have the ability to speak to 1,200 new previously unsold accounts annually.

This number got really big, really fast, didn’t it? You might be saying, “But I sure don’t book everyone I talk to.” Okay, what if you were only successful 10% of the time? That’s still 120 new bookings. If you divide that by the number of months in a year, that’s 10 additional bookings per month. That’s way over and above what you already do just by coming to work!

This is important to your whole career as a hotel sales professional.

You already have a skill set, you already really good, you already have a number of customers that you’re feeding, fostering, nurturing and growing. I get that—and this is over and above what you’re going to do, anyhow. Now, use whatever measure you want. You could use average banquet check, you could use banquet revenue, you could use number of groups, you could use average rate, you could use group-room revenue, most of us in the group side, we use room nights as our currency—so let’s go with that…what is the average number of room nights per sales booking at your hotel? 10 rooms for three nights would be 30 room nights. What is the average number of room nights per group sales booking at this hotel? Can we use 50 as an example?

So what we’re saying is you’ll give it one hour a day, that would manifest itself in 1,200 new customers contacted…at only 10% success, that’s 120 new bookings. If your average is 50 room nights per sales booking, that would manifest itself up in 6,000 room nights MORE than you are going to book already.

Let me ask you a question, if you were able to do all this and in fact, were successful, 10% of success and it manifested itself in 6000 new previously unsold room nights, would your hotel sales management or would they not erect a statue of you and put it in the lobby of this hotel?

How many salespeople do you have at your hotel? If you have 6 hotel sales people and everyone produces like that, that’s 36,000 more room nights per year! You get to 36,000 more room nights and man, your average rate goes through the ceiling because the availability of inventory becomes less, the less you have, the more it costs, and your revenue manager will all of a sudden begin to like you — lots!

The best comment I ever had on the hotel sales flat list was a woman in a hotel at Tampa, Florida. She called me three months after initiating the flat list program at her hotel, and she said, “Steve, I’ve got good news and I have bad news.”

I said, “OK, tell me the news.”

She said, “I have booked so much business as a result of using the flat list in a sales vacuum, I don’t have time to call on my flat list.” Mission accomplished!

Now perhaps you are asking yourself right now, “OK, I get the concept, but how could I have possibly spent an hour, five days a week, calling on my flat list? How could I possibly afford to spend an hour a week calling on my flat list?”

I’m sorry, but your premise is backwards. The question isn’t, how could you afford to spend an hour every day on your flat list, the question is how could you NOT afford to spend an n hour every day on your flat list?

Now for the folks in catering. There’s no way you’re going to be able to spend an hour a day on your flat list. It’s unreasonable; it’s not probable. What if you give me just one hour, one day a week, can you do that? That’s still 30 new previously unsold accounts, divided by the 12 months, that’s still 2 and a half more a month, two and a half more a month.

Let me simplify hotel sales into its easiest terms. Each of you needs to do what you’re doing, because it’s probably already really good. You would not be where you are in the hotel sales profession if you were not already very good. Most hotel sales people feel that what they need to do is just land one more good account for the whole year. One good account and they’re done, it’s party time. One more account, that’s it. This technique will blow those numbers away. It shouldn’t be rocket science. This is discipline, and it takes hard work. You won’t get to it every day. Hotel sales guys, you’re not doing this five days a week, there’s no way. What if you just did it three days a week? That still manifests itself in 3,600 more room nights. You just might get a big kiss from the GM for that!

That’s the magic of the hotel sales vacuum and the flat list.

Posted 11/19/12

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