Hotel Sales: Do you Know Your Competition?

hotel sales competition

Hotel sales people must know their competition by going there.

As a hotel sales pro, you should always be a huge proponent of helping your client make an informed decision. Then, when you’re in a hotel sales competitive situation, the planner can see that your hotel is the best for his or her needs. But let’s look at this logically: a hotel sales competition is only valid if the customer can compare your proposal with that of other hotels. Your hotel sales proposal doesn’t really mean anything in isolation. It only means something in the context of a comparison to the other proposals that are being delivered.

In hotel sales, you have to custom design every proposal for that client and that situation. So when you are getting ready to hit the “send” button on your email proposal, take a moment and take a deep breath.

As part of our hotel sales consulting practice, we do test calls and pose as interested clients. When we do these, hotel sales managers rarely ask about the hotel competition involved. It’s rare that they inquire what other hotels the client is looking at? I think that hotel sales managers secretly fear that a client may just say “That’s none of your business. Just give me your best proposal.”

OK, fine. But don’t just give up and slink away to your computer.You should press the issue with a question such as “Tell me, where have you met in the past?  Give me an idea, are you a Starwood points member, are you a Hilton Honors member?” The answer will speak volumes to you. 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 research.

When you are competing against a hotel in your local area, your research can be relatively easy.

Go there. Do some snooping. Call your competition and book a room. Stay there. Eat in their restaurants. Have you ever attended a banquet or other function at your biggest competitor? Have you evaluated the food and service? Do you have their menus in your desk drawer? Half the time you can get them from the hotel’s website.

If you do all these things, you’re in a position to evaluate your local competition.

If not, how can you possibly say your hotel will meet their customer’s needs better than that competitor?

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

Use that as a “spying” opportunity.

Compile a dossier of your competitors and use it to train new hotel sales people and re-train with this info periodically at sales meetings.

And be sure to share what you learn not just with the hotel sales staff, but with other hotel staff members, including your general manager, rooms exec, executive housekeeper and so on. This has the extra added benefit of helping to draw them into your sales process and make them more sales oriented.

So you’ve got to do some snooping.

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

 

Posted 1/29/14

 

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