Hospitality sales pros sell date flexibility

Flexibility is key to book business when you need it

Great hospitality sales managers should explore client date flexibility, and negotiate alternate dates to benefit the hotel or venue.

Hospitality sales managers should do all they can to find out if their client is flexible on the their booking dates, and try to more them to other dates if it works best for the hotel. But to get the date flexibility from your client, hospitality sales managers will probably need to offer something to this meeting planner in exchange. But don’t say to the planner “Are your dates flexible?” That’s a bad question.

When the hospitality sales manager offers the planner alternate dates, it works much better. The hospitality sales manager might say something like this: “I understand that you’ve selected this week in July. I’m looking at my books right now. I do have a couple of other groups in house then.  It won’t affect your group at all. I’ve got what you want, but I’m looking at my books the week before, and I have nothing on the books. For the right deal, could I talk to you about the week before? Do you have some date flexibility that would help us both?”

Using date flexibility to your hotel’s advantage is real genuine sales, and that of course, is the true job of the hospitality sales manager. As seen in the example above, it can work to the benefit of both the hotel and the meeting planner. Of course the dates are not always flexible, but it’s sad how many hospitality sales managers just take the planner’s dates as given without even trying to bring them in on dates that can be a winner for everyone.

Here’s the big take-away: great hospitality sales managers book business over the dates that their hotels most need the business, which may or may not be the same dates the customers requested. That’s the difference between selling and order taking. Suggest alternate dates and be prepared to negotiate. Date flexibility can be a real win-win for the hospitality sales manager and the client as well.

Posted 6/2/13

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