Do Your Homework for a Hotel Sales Advantage

hotel sales advantage

You’ll have a hotel sales advantage if you do the proper research.

In hotel sales (as in sales in other industries), whoever knows the most about the other person or entity will always have the hotel sales advantage — if all other things being equal. Think about your past sales experiences. Have you ever had something similar to this happen to you? A smart meeting or travel planner calls you and says, “I need 40 quads for the 5 days after Christmas for the annual state DeMolay youth conference. These are very well behaved teens and we’ll have a chaperone for every four rooms. With the four teens to a room they can either be double/double or king beds with roll-aways. I know that because it’s the last week in December and you’re undoubtedly empty, I need a $89 flat rate. And sorry, but if you can’t take us at $89 I’ll have to go to another hotel.”

In this sales example, who has the hotel sales advantage?

If the planner has been around at all, he or she knows that if you’re lucky you’re probably running at a 10% occupancy between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and would practically kill for the business. (If you’re a destination property, this is not a good example, but I’m sure you can come up with something similar when your hotel is running near empty.) So obviously, the planner has the hotel sales advantage, or position. You are never going to gain a hotel sales advantage in a situation like that. Now it’s not a hotel sales technique issue, it’s purely a business decision to decide on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

Let’s look at another hotel sales advantage scenario.

Those of you that are in the association market or the corporate group market work with slightly larger groups than the above. And doesn’t it seem that every client thinks and says that their event is going to be the best and biggest they’ve ever done? They’re going to have a great speaker, the sessions will have the biggest attendance and so on. It’s going to be great, right?

And as a result, they block a straight line. “I’m going to have 200 rooms for 4 straight nights,” he says.

This should send up a red flag for you. Nobody in the hotel sales field ever seen a block that actually arrived with 200 on the first night and ended with 200. Without exception, there is a buildup, the peak room nights come in the middle, and then we fold out.

This is where we have to play detective – so we can regain the hotel sales advantage in the negotiations.

hotel sales advantage

All good negotiators know that detective work is a prerequisite for good negotiating. As an example, in this article from the Erupting Mind, the step 1 is that “good negotiators prepare first.”

That’s why we want to get meeting histories. When the client says he needs 200 rooms for 4 nights, you can politely challenge that with your research. But you have to acquire it first, of course. You might say “Well, I got to be honest with you. Eric, I’ve got your written history for the last few years, and I see that the most rooms that you’ve ever used is 90. Have you merged with someone?”

Your knowledge of the particular situation will help you gain the hotel sales advantage that will make you a terrific asset for your hotel. A good detective makes a great hotel sales person.


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