How to win a hotel competition

get to know the hotel competition

How can you win a hotel competition if you’ve never been to your competitor’s hotel?

I’ve always been a huge proponent of helping your customer make an informed decision, so that when you’re in a hotel competition, the planner can see that your hotel is the best solution. But by defiinition, a hotel competition is only valid if they can compare your proposal with that of other hotels. Your proposal doesn’t really mean anything in isolation. Your proposal only means something in the context of a hotel competition; when you compare it to the other proposals that are being delivered.

You know that you have to custom design every proposal. So when you are getting ready to hit the “send” button on your proposal, I’m really encouraging you to slow down.

In our test calls, hotel sales managers rarely ask about the hotel competition involved…what other hotels are you looking at? In response a client may just say to you “Hey, that’s none of your business, just give me your best proposal.”

OK, fine. But don’t just give us and slink away to your computer.Your response: “Where have you met in the past, then?  Give me an idea, are you a Starwood points member, are you a Starwood rewards member? Are you a Hilton Honors member?” That’ll speaks volumes to me. There are lots of ways to get the information about the hotel competition, so don’t just hit that send button until you’ve done your due diligence.

On a related matter, you know I can go to any hotel in the world and all I have to do is look at the in-room collateral to know if this is an experience I’m going to enjoy or not. If this is a fresh room-service menu that looks appetizing, and the tent cards up on the TV and near the ice bucket are clean and neat and crisp and still have the same color that they had when they were put out, I know that there’s some attention to detail. If, however, I go in and the first thing I do is open up the room service menu and it’s nasty, there’s stains on it, the tent cards are ugly, they’re all faded and crummy…

So you’ve got to do some snooping. Go to your competition and get a room. Eat in their restaurants. Have you ever attended a banquet at your biggest competitor? Have you really evaluated the food? Do you have a copy of their menus in your desk drawer? If you do, good. If not, how can you possibly say “My hotel will meet your needs, I will develop a better relationship, I am more business friendly,” than the competition?

I realize that this hotel competition road trip can cost you money, and I’m not trying to burn your budget. But you can come up with economical ways to do this research and share it with the sales staff. If you check into a room every few years, take some pictures or videos and share it with the others on the sales staff. Or if you have out of town town guests coming to see you, have them get a room there (maybe help them with the cost?) and go visit them at that hotel. Or perhaps some of your hotel staff members have meetings, banquets or other reasons to be on the hotel competition’s property?

And be sure to share what you learn with other hotel staff members, including your general manager, rooms exec, executive housekeeper and so on. This has the added benefit of helping to draw them into your sales process and make them more sales oriented.

But remember, if you want to win a hotel competition, you have to know what you’re competing against.

Posted 7/30/12

 

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