Formalized Hotel Sales Training is a Must

hotel sales training

Hotel sales training must be taught on a systematized basis.

Hospitality salespeople rarely receive any formal training in how to sell, particularly as it applies to their specific market. This is especially true when there is not a strong corporate presence that provides the hotel sales training. This is actually the reason that I built my hotel sales training firm.

When I started selling in hotels, I was very fortunate and worked for a Director of Sales who took the time to show me how to do it. Others in hotel sales that got lucky turned out to have successful careers too.

However, if they didn’t get lucky, they’re still trying to figure it out through trial and error.

I was with Hyatt Hotels for over 14 years, and as my time with the company went on, I got a reputation as one who was very strong in hotel sales training. I was viewed as a real expert and frankly, that just was not true. When I reflect on those times many years go, I’m embarrassed at how weak my hotel sales training skills actually were.

man with straight tieBack then, it wasn’t much of an exaggeration to say that our idea of good hotel sales training was to just hire correctly. If the person had the “look” then they were a prime candidate. Preliminary qualifications included such difficult tests as whether they smiled, had their tie on straight, had their hair just right, etc. It was all about the image. Then we’d further qualify them with tough interview questions such as “Why do you want to get into sales?”

The answer that everyone gives is typically “Because I really love working with people.” And since they got the right answer, they were hired. Oh, also they had to pass another test — if they had a pulse they qualified as outstanding candidates.

From that point, our new hires received little hotel sales training. We put them at the front desk for half a day since people in sales NEED the people at the front desk. After all, they are the people who fix all our errors on our rooming lists and billing. Then we’d move the new hires on to a half day of training in the reservations department because they need to understand all the codes, the category 14s, the best available rate, what is markup, etc.

After that full day of “hotel sales training” we turn them loose by sending them back to their office or cubicle, sit them down at their desk and computer, and wish them Godspeed. Of course, they’re also told that the boss’s door is always open for any questions.

But if you think that a new sales hire is going to camp on the manager’s doorstep and ask questions… well, it’s not going to happen.

How can they do that when they just used all their charm to convince the manager in the interview that they were up to the task? So for the first month or two they rely on their people skills to get them through. And this new hire is either so scared or so clueless that he or she is hoping that they will acquire the skills needed, and fast. They are almost always in the dark about such concepts as the identification of new accounts, making effective presentations, removing resistance at the point of sale, negotiating and closing.

These days things have become much more complex and only true professionals survive and excel in hotel sales. And that’s why a formalized hotel sales training program is crucial. Obviously we think that our training videos and blog posts on our website aid in that process.

But the process needs to be systematized so that a complete hotel sales training program is put into place, from the general to the specific. There are a number of common denominators that the true hotel sales professionals have in common, something that I’ve spoken of often. And those factors form the basis of our hotel sales training programs, including on this website and on-location in-person in various hotels. Also, we have customized training available where we provide live training over the phone to answer your particular questions of concerns.

How can we best help you?


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