Hotel sales and date flexibility, part 2

Flexibility is key to book business when you need it

The whole issue of date flexibility in hotel sales is a complex one.

As I mentioned last week,  the automatic question that should come out of the hotel sales rep’s mouth is not “Are your dates flexible?” Instead try “Are your dates flexible, and let me tell you why.” It works 10 times better.

If you really want to excel at hotel sales, put yourself in the planner’s shoes.

If a hotel sales person were to ask the client “Are your dates flexible?” that person’s natural response would be “Why, are the dates I’m asking for already booked?”

So save both of you the trouble of doing that dance by explaining the reason that you’re asking. “Sally, you have selected a Wednesday arrival and a Friday departure. Now, I’ve got those dates, but I need to tell you you’ve just selected the single most expensive timeframe you can at our hotel. We are a corporate midweek hotel. Your group is going to fit in just fine — no problem. But I’m not just your hotel sales representative — I’m your partner for this meeting. So I need to explain something about our hotel and how that can work to your advantage. In order to make sure I’ve got the rooms available for your Wednesday arrival and Friday departure, I’m killing Monday and Tuesday. Now don’t worry, I can put you in on Wednesday, but it’s going to be a little more expensive for you. Now if you could consider coming in Sunday, out Tuesday, I could really help you out on a number of things. I could probably get you upgraded to a higher floor, I could probably get you access to our club level, I could probably get you $2 off of parking, I could probably get you whatever…”

Notice there was no offer there to lower the rate from the hotel sales person. Depending on the situation at your hotel, if you book rooms coming up Sunday and Monday instead of Wednesday and Thursday, there’s a high liklihood that you can lower the rate some too.

And of course, you property might not be a corporate midweek hotel. But if you give it just a bit of thought about how this applies in your particular hotel sales situation, you’ll certainly realize that there are dates and times that you might be able to move your client’s meeting to that will benefit all concerned.

So you can be a hero for the meeting planner; someone they will grow to trust. That’s a great position to be in when you’re in hotel sales.

Posted 4/16/12

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