Hotel sales pitfall: excessive administrative chores

phone sales

Sales managers have too many administrative duties

For the typical hotel sales pro, a significant time-waster that keeps them from high productivity is lots of administrative tasks, and this typically means that they do not spend most of their day selling. And as we all like to point out, hotel sales people are hired to sell, not do administrative chores.

Hotel sales managers these days are so burdened with activities that are not related to selling that they have to work extra hard if they want to hit their numbers. With such a heavy administrative burden, they just do not spend the majority of their day selling.

I’m a hospitality sales guy.

For me, the shortest distance between A and B is the route I want to take. I don’t care about all the other routes and detours I can take. Instead I just want to be as efficient as possible.

There are three things that we can do with our day.

  • First, we can sell.
  • Second, we can service those accounts you’ve sold.
  • Third, we can administer.

Selling, servicing, and administering are just about all there is. That’s it. Anything else you’re doing simply doesn’t have much to do with your job description as a hotel sales manager. Instead, you’re doing somebody else’s job.

Now let me be precise; we’re not above doing the chores that contribute to the well-being and profitability of the hotel. We are team players. Especially at some smaller hotels, sales people are often asked to contribute in some non-selling ways, to be sure.

Now I want to give you a definitive definition of a hotel sales person. If you find yourself doing anything other than these three duties, you are just not selling. To be “selling” you must be:

  • with or
  • on the phone with your customer.

There are no other conditions or criteria that can be considered selling. Please notice, e-mail is not on the short list.

We did a study on hotel sales people and the amount of time that they were selling, as defined above. Are you ready?

If you are a typical hotel sales person in the US today, you send about 14% of your day actually selling (again, according to our definition).

The converse of that of course, is that 86% of your day is spent on non-selling activities. That means for every hour on the job, you are NOT selling for almost 52 minutes of it. meeting

By the way, the PCMA  (Professional Conference Management Association) did their own survey and they were within one percentage point of us. So basically, we’ve validated each other’s study.

Let me make it clear, that I am not saying spending less than 100% of your work time selling is a bad thing.

I’m not saying that at all. Servicing existing clients, for example, is hugely important to developing relationships for future selling.

But it is NOT selling as we have defined it.

In addition to selling and servicing, you can spend time on administrative tasks. At its most basic,  every time you touch a piece of paper, keyboard or a mouse, you are doing administrative duties. For example, sales meetings fall in that category. Does your staff have sales meetings between 9am and 5pm? Or maybe you attend sales meetings on Thursdays at 2:30?

So here is the bottom line: how many of you have ever booked a great piece of business while you were attending a sales meeting? None of you, right? Or have you attended menu readings with a chef or go over the BEOs? How many of you have ever landed a solid piece of business while attending one of those meetings? Yet we continue to hold our meetings between 9 and 5.

That’s flat-out counterproductive. I have lots of sympathy for those of you in hotel sales. Realistically, we can’t show up at work at 7 every morning and stay until 9 every night so that we have time for administrative tasks. But I’m just saying that every time you touch a piece of paper or your computer, of if you attend a meeting between 9 and 5, it’s a moment that you could have reaching out to a new previously unsold account — and you didn’t.

Since every hotel situation is unique, I’ll leave it to you to find the solution that works best for your property or venue. But I urge you to meet with your manager to explore how you can rearrange schedules or otherwise offload your administrative chores. The payoff will be impactful and immediate.

Don’t wait.

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