Hospitality sales customers: are you calling on the wrong ones?

research your customers

When we studied the way hospitality sales people spend their time, we found that many are chasing the wrong customers.

Hospitality sales people are simply not focusing on target markets that yield the highest return on their time invested. Sometimes this means that the director of sales has his or her staff mis-deployed.

More commonly however, the hospitality sales person is in spending time chasing clients that have little or no probability of doing business with their hotel. Maybe it’s because their hotel is too big or too small,  too near or too far, too expensive or not pricey enough… You’ve got the ying, and theym don’t have the yang.

We find this particularly true with bright eyed, young bushytailed hospitality salespeople. They come up to their director of sales at the end of the day, and the DoS says, “Hey Darla, how did you do today?”

hospitality sales manager

She’ll say, “I had a pretty good day.”

The DoS says, “Well, how many customers did you speak with?” That is our currency by which we measure everything, isn’t it — how many customers do you speak with?

“Well, I talked to 20 hospitality sales customers today!”

The DoS is pleased and says “Well, that is a good day. What’d you book by the end of it?”

“Well, I, I um, er, um…”

“What did you book anything tentative?

“Well, I, er, um…”

“Well how many outside sales calls did you sell up?”

“Well, I, er, um,”

“Well how many site inspections did you set up for the customers to come over here?”

“Well, I, Um, er, uh…”

Finally the DoS has to say, “Let me see your list.”

Then he hands Darla the MPI directory, and she sees that the list has overwhelming evidence that everyone on that list has room nights for hotels, groups for hotels, bookings for hotels, catering events for hotels, but none of them could ever come to your hotel. They are just not the right hospitality sales customers.  The clients she has called on would find their hotel too big, too small, too close, too far, too expensive, not expensive enough, etc… Darla spent her whole day calling on customers that in a million years could never use her hotel!

Folks, this might sound harsh, but if you are like Darla, the way you are wasting the money the hotel pays you, you might as well  just go to the front desk, open up the cash drawer and help yourself.

The lesson: qualify the hospitality sales accounts you call on — do your research.

Posted 6/18/12

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