Hotel sales pros spend too much time on administration

administration is a hotel sales time robber

Hotel sales people miss out on sales time if they’re bogged down by administration.

In our studies of what makes hotel sales pros great, we also get to see what holds back the not-so-great hotel sales people. We find that far too many are so burdened with administration and other non-selling activities. Is it any wonder that they are not hitting their numbers?

You know, whenever I present the issue of wasting time with administration at my in-person hotel sales training sessions, every head nods when I bring the topic up. Most hotel sales people are very bogged down with non-selling activities. And by being burdened with administration, they can not possibly spend the majority of their day actually selling.

Think about it. In your day, there are three things that we can do with your time. First, sell of course. Second, service the accounts that you’ve sold. Finally, you can spend your time on administration. Selling, servicing, administration: that’s all there is. Those three are probably in your job description, but if you’re doing some fourth thing, you’re wasting time with some task for which you were not hired. If that’s the case, you’re doing somebody else’s job and you might as well ask for a change in job title., because you’re not a hotel sales person at that point.

Now I know that’s a bit brash, and candidly we are not above going away from our formal job description on occasion. That is especially true if you are at a smaller hotels. But the principle here is still the same. If your job says “sales” then you should try to try to maximize your selling, service and administration activities while minimizing the rest whenever possible.

My definition of hotel sales is met only by meeting one of three criteria to put you in the selling mode. If you are doing anything other than these three things you may think that you’re selling, and you may actually be supporting the sales effort. But in fact you are not selling. Because in order to sell you must be 1) in the face of, 2) over the phone with or 3) having a meal or refreshments with a customer. Notice, e-mail is not on the list.

We have studied how  much of his or her time the typical average hotel sales person spends selling. Not coincidentally, the PCMA (Professional Conference Management Association) conducted a similar study. We each had similar results. In fact there was only a one percentage point difference. The question was how much of your day do you actually spend selling, according to the 3-point definition we just gave.

Before I tell you, why don’t you guess?

If you’re a typical average hotel sales person in America today, you’re spending approximately 14 percent of your day actually selling, using the 3-point definition that I just shared. Now, let’s reverse it. What we’re saying is, if you’re a typical hotel sales person in America today, you’re spending 86 percent of you day doing something other than what you get paid to do.

Amazing isn’t it? It makes certainly should make management wonder that if you’re only spending 14 percent of your day doing what we’re paying you for.

The real problem comes with all the time spent in administration. Every time you touch a piece of paper or pound on your keyboard, that’s administration. The same thing applies to sales meetings.  How many of you attend sales meetings that are held between the hours of 9 and 5? More importantly, how many of you have ever booked a great piece of business while attending a sales meeting? If you have, let me know, because I’ve never heard of it happening in all my years in the hotel sales business.

It’s obvious that we have to schedule our sales meetings outside of prime selling time. But I do a lot of sympathy for hard working hotel sales people. We can’t come to work at 7 a.m. every day and stay till 9 every night. But I do want you to consider that whenever you touch a piece of paper, or work on your computer, or attend a meeting between 9 and 5, it’s a moment of administration that you could have contacted a previously unsold account. We’ve simply got to put off administration during selling hours as much as possible.

Posted 1/15/13

 

 

 

 

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