Should hotel sales managers burn competitors?

hotel sales competition

Hotel sales managers know his/her competition and uses competitive advantages.

The hotel sales manager needs to know who the competition is for a SPECIFIC piece of business. If you haven’t already read my blog post “Hotel sales people have to distinguish their hotel from the competition”,  check it out here.

But once you have the advantage, a logical follow-up question is “Does an ethical hotel sales pro outright burn the competitor when you have something that they don’t?”

The short answer is no, but let me explain.

Many years ago I worked for a general manager who escaped the Nazis in Germany, and in my book he had earned the right to say just about anything he wanted. He was totally sales oriented and made it a pont to be on every single major site inspection. He was a wonderful G.M., and at the end of every site inspection we would finish at the front door of the hotel in San Francisco, and would say “Which hotel are you going to see next for a site inspection?” And as soon as he found out, regardless of the hotel they were going to, he would always say the same thing, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I saw the pest control truck out front yesterday, but I think they got that problem taken care of.”

Now, you shouldn’t do that, but when one has eluded a Nazi death camp, he can do whatever he wants by my way of thinking. But I was a good hotel sales manager so I didn’t go to those extremes. Personally, I would just say “I need to know my competition for this business. What other hotels you’re looking at? If you’re uncomfortable giving me that information, here’s why I want to know. I want it because if I know who else you’re looking at, I can probably get you a better deal. Invest with me.”

If you have great rapport, you might say to the client “What other hotels are you looking at?”

And their response will be “Well, I’m looking at Hotel X and Hotel Y.”

Then I’ll ask, “Have you visited them yet?”

“No, I haven’t.”

At this point (as the experienced hotel sales manager), I’m smiling on the inside. This might require practice on the part of a new salesperson not to reveal your feelings, but right about now you should be saying to yourself “Alright!” All to yourself of course.

Aloud I say “OK, let’s see if we can’t knock this out right now, and you won’t have to call the competition. Think about it —  it’s going to take a lot of work on your part, and , if we can do it right now, I can save you all that trouble.”

But you’ll notice that I never burn the competition, nor should any hotel sales manager. What goes around comes around, and burning them is not necessary. And best of all, I don’t need to because I’ll just say to the client, “Look, I have this feature or amenity, and since I know what other hotel you’re looking at, I know you’re going to discover on your own that they don’t have it.”

See, I didn’t burn the competition, but I did sow some doubts. That’s about as much as I’m willing to flirt with negative karma.

A professional hotel sales manager will just state the facts in a case like that, and the client will not only be grateful that you saved him or her the time, but there’s a great possibility that you’ll get the business.


Posted 6/24/13


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