Negotiation, not compromise

time for negotiation

Negotiation is not the same thing as compromise.

When it comes to hotel sales, many people in out profession think that being ready to enter a negotiation is the same thing as preparing to compromise over a piece of business. They are actually not the same thing. Knowing the difference between the two is more than just semantic — it forms a primary building block of your job description as a hospitality sales person.

Here’s the definition of negotiation as it applies to hospitality sales.

When a hotel sales person in involved in an negotiation, he or she needs to get something in return for giving something up. If all that is done is to give something away, that may have well been the correct business decision, but there was no negotiation here. Hospitality sales people must receive something back if they want to call it negotiation. The top item when it come to negotiation is the dates that the client stays in your hotel.

The best hospitality sales people book business on the dates that their hotel needs the business, which is often NOT the dates that the customer requests.

negotiation time

Each and every time that you try to book a group into your hotel, you have to look at offering alternate dates if it works better for your hotel. And typically hotels will want to even out their bookings rather than have them come in bunches. Operationally, it is better for the hotel not to have 2 or 3 major groups at the hotel one week, with none the week following.

Do you know your sales books 90 to 120 days out well enough so that when you have a client request one of those already-booked dates, it sets off an alarm in your head?

When a client requests a date when your hotel already is full (or close to it), you should  say to yourself “I’ve got to see if I have a chance at moving this booking into dates where we’re less full.” And to be able to move the client’s dates, you’ll become involved in a negotiation. You’ll need to give them something that gives them an incentive to move their dates if it will help your hotel. This makes you incredibly valuable to the bottom line of your hotel.

Now to be sure, many times your client will not have date flexibility. But the possibility of entering into a negotiation to move them to another time slot should always be on your radar.

As an aside, we have readers of these training blog posts all over the world. And it just might be that Americans are among the worst at negotiation, because we just don’t grow up with it as part of our mindset. Here’s a terrific short book that really underscores how negotiation is really a part of our daily lives, and I recommend it highly. It’s “The One Minute Negotiator” by Don Hutson and George Lucas.



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