Hotel sales people can fail due to poor written presentations

hotel sales pros submit great proposals

Hotel sales pros use finely crafted printed and electronic sales presentations.

When it comes time for the hotel sales person to submit a proposal to the client, many of them fail. Nothing quite turns off a meeting planner like poorly written material. There are two basically kinds of hotel sales proposals: those which we put in the mail and send, and those which we send via e-mail.

God bless e-proposals and e-brochures. They have allowed hotel sales people to take shortcuts, but in a way we’re right back to where we were fifteen years ago when we were sending out form letters. I can’t tell you how often I see e-proposals that really look too much like form letters and even full of typos and grammatical mistakes. We’re just taking out Mr. Jones and putting in Mrs. Smith and we’re really not changing much else. A real hotel sales pro doesn’t do that.

I really encourage you to make your hotel sales proposal really good so that you will distinguish yourself from three other proposals that the customer is receiving. First, make sure you proof it; read it through thoroughly. Does it really recap the conversation; act as a genuine selling device?

We do so many hotel sales test calls for hotel companies and we never do tricks — we want you to do well. But often, posing as a planner, we’ll say to the hotel sales person, “Look, there are two other things that I need you to address…do you provide complimentary high-speed internet access and do you charge for parking? A lot of times I show up and forget to ask that and my members have to pay $20 a night for parking or $12.95 for internet, so be sure to include that in the proposal, because those are important decision making factors.” And then we get the hotel sales proposal and there’s no mention of parking or high-speed internet access. Hey, don’t scratch your head on that one if you didn’t comply with the proposal. In this case, it’s sloppy, poorly written material.

It is my opinion that every one of you should have a digital camera in your sales office, and every time you’re taking a customer on a sales inspection you’re taking pictures like crazy: there’s Mr. Planner in the ball room, there’s Mr. Planner with the General Manager, there’s Mr. Planner in the Presidential Suite, there’s Mr. Planner in the break-out room, there’s Mr. Planner with the chef, there’s Mr. Planner at the front desk. And then in addition to whatever price and other information you’re going to send them, by the time Mr. Planner gets back to his office, you’ve got five or more pictures of himself in and around the hotel.

We need to do a better job putting the customer inside of our product.

Do you know who does a great job putting the customer inside the product? Car sales people. Do you like the car? Do you like the color? It is a good color on you. Do you really think they care what color car you drive out in?  They could care less. Would you like to take it for a drive?  And then we drive the car. What’s the truth? What can you really find out about a car when you drive three city blocks out one highway exit, back one highway exit…how do you like it? It smelled pretty, pretty…once you smell that car, that new car smell is really something, isn’t it?

So why don’t we as a hotel sales person do the same thing? Here’s Mr. Planner in the ball room, with the general manager, with the chef, and the e-mail says, ‘Mr. Planner, thank you so much for coming by for lunch and a tour this afternoon. At your suggestion, I will follow-up later with a more formal proposal. In the mean time I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing some of the pictures we took today.”

How good your hotel sales site inspection is not that important. How much better your site inspection is than every other site inspection they took that day is going to be the criteria for measurement. How many hotel sales reps sent the customers pictures of themselves? If there is one picture I am always guaranteed to stop and look at it’s one of me. It’s human nature.

It is my opinion that every one of you should have a decent printer in your hotel; one that prints four-color. How cool would your presentation look that was leather-bound, gold embossed, and lacquered? That would put you miles ahead of the competition. Often we can just click “send,” and sometimes it requires something fancier, especially in the association market or large corporate business, and the RFPs. Those deserve something more than an e-proposal. You can’t go fancy for every Tom, Dick or Harry with your hotel sales proposal but for the blue-chip accounts, you want something special. You might tell them “Look, I’m going to e-mail you the proposal, but I’d also like to put my best foot forward, I’d like to hand-deliver it the formal proposal tomorrow afternoon.” And then you show up with leather bound, foil-stamped, 4-color pictures copies of the proposal. Your hotel sales proposal will blow their socks off.

This is absolutely the key to getting noticed by a selection committee. I’ll have more on that topic in a future blog post.

Posted 12/10/12

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