Hospitality sales and the need for specific knowledge

hospitality sales position

The hospitality sales person with superior knowledge will have the advantage.

In hospitality sales as in other types of sales, whoever knows the most about the other will always have the position — all other things being equal. You may have had something like this happen to you. A smart meeting planner or travel planner will call you and say, “George, here’s the deal. I need 50 quads from December 26 and we’re going to be checking out December 31. This is the state DeMolay youth conference and these are all real good, well behaved kids. We’ll have a chaperone for every fourth room. Now here’s the deal: With the four kids to a room they can either be double/double or king with rollaways; I don’t care. Now, because it’s the last week in December and I know that you’re empty, I need a $69 flat rate. And frankly, if you can’t get me the rooms at $69 I’m really not interested in talking to you.”

Now, in this hospitality sales example, who has the knowledge and position? They know that you’re probably running at a 10% occupancy if you’re lucky between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. (Now, if you’re a destination, that’s an entirely different deal.) So they have the position. You’re never going to have the position on that one. Now it’s not a hospitality sales technique issue, it’s purely a business decision.

That’s why we want to get histories. Example: you hospitality sales folks that are in the association market where you’re dealing with slightly larger groups, or the corporate group market where you’re working with slightly larger groups, don’t you realize that every customer, every time they talk to you, thinks that that event is going to be the biggest and best one they’ve ever done? It’s going to be the best speaker, it’s going to have the best attendance, it’s going to be the best everything. It’s going to be super, right?

And so they block a straight line. “I’m going to have 100 rooms for 3 straight nights,” she says. Red flag: has anybody in the hospitality sales field ever seen a block that actually arrived with 100 on night 1 and ended with 100? No, there’s a buildup, there’s a couple of peak nights, and then we fold out.

So when the customer says he or she needs 100 rooms for 3 nights, you can politely challenge that with knowledge — if you have it of course. You might say “Well, I got to be honest with you. Sylvia, I’ve got your written history for the last 3 years, and I noticed the most rooms that you’ve ever used is 50. Have you merged with someone?”

Your knowledge of the particular situation will allow you to have the position in hospitality sales as well as other aspects of your life. If you have the knowledge, you’ll probably also have the position.

Posted 3/4/13


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