Hotel sales pros and the anticipatable objection

Hotel sales pros defeat the anticpatable objection

Hotel sales pros remove resistance at the point of sale: type 2

Posted 8/13/12

The second kind of resistance that a hotel sales pro encounters is far more difficult than the simple request for information. It’s called an anticipatable objection. It’s something about your property that, even though you are a hotel sales pro, you know is a very difficult problem to sell around. By definition, it’s a reason a customer will either not use your property; or even worse, having used your property, will never come back. It’s an anticipatable objection, and hotel sales pros learn to deal with them.

Let me give you an example. Early in my career when I was at the Hyatt Hotel in San Jose, California, our largest barroom was called the Mediterranean Center. It was 8,000 square feet divided into four equal sections of 2,000 square feet each; twenty two and a half foot ceiling and a 1200 square foot pre-function area. We had a big problem with this Mediterranean Center. It had big pillars in the middle of the ballroom. They were huge, and when the ballroom was not divided, but was configured as just one room, it had terrible sight lines and the pillars were a huge obstruction. And of course, they held up all the floors above, so taking them out was obviously not an option.

So we as hotel sales pros tried everything we could to overcome this problem. We put mirrors on them to make them look less obvious. We even tried that invisibility coating that’s pretty hot — you know that invisible paint that everyone is talking about. OK,  just kidding, but I wanted to make the point that as hotel sales pros we wanted to solve this, were desperate for a solution, and would’ve tried just about anything.

Well, we were at a sales meeting one day and we were discussing lost and turned-down business. Just as an aside, whatever you’re discussing at your sales meetings, this is one of those things that hotel sales pros should definitely be talking about.

And a young woman, Kathy Bargert from Michigan, she said “You know, I lost a piece of business because of those big pillars in the ballroom. Here we are in San Jose in the middle of the high-tech world. We have rearview projection, we’re having all kinds of LCD, we’re having all kinds of PowerPoint displays, and we’re just not high tech. We’ve got these pillars in the ballroom.”

I said, “You know, I lost a piece of business too because of that.” We went around the table; each salesperson had lost a piece of business because of the pillars in the ballroom. So you know what we decided to do? We decided to come in on a Saturday, and we met with the housemen and the setup folks, and we took a thousand chairs and we want into that Mediterranean center and we set that room ten different times ten different ways to see if there wasn’t a way we could set it to make sure no person’s vision was impaired. And sure enough we did. We found several different ways we could set the room; we had to angle some things, we had some blind spots we had to eliminate, but sure enough, we solved it.

So now, on a site inspection, we would say this: “Sheila, this is the Mediterranean Center. It’s a 8000 square foot ballroom divides equally into four sections of 2000 square foot each; twenty two and a half foot ceiling and a 1200 square foot pre-function area for registration, tabletop exhibits, coat check, whatever you might want. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Gee, are these pillars going to be a problem?” Well let me tell you, I have set this room personally with my staff, and I can set this room any way you want and make sure not one single person’s vision is impaired. Now over here we have the pre-function area, right?” And move on.

This is what hotel sales professionals call defusing an anticipatable objection. You attack it, and attack it again. But as a hotel sales pro, you’d better have an answer though.


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