Many of our hotels are rooms only, bank owned, limited service, and have small management staff’s. I get it. I have worn your shoes, managed hotels of similar calibre and been responsible for everything from soup to nuts. You have a lot on your plate and your time management skills must be stellar in order to keep everything on track, running smoothly, all while maintaining your sanity. No, you do not have time to be a “full-time sales manager”, but I know you do have time to do a “little sales”.
Why not embrace it? It just might be a nice diversion from the daily routine.
This, in my opinion, is the importance of a sales and marketing plan – even for a General Manager who is wholly responsible for sales for his/her property along with everything else. Think of the sales and marketing plan as you think of your operations budget. You create a budget based on historical performance and set goals for each month/year. A sales plan does the same thing…. it set goals based on historical performance. So budgeting some time to do sales should produce noticeable improvements in your GOP.
Couldn’t you find 2 hours per week to dedicate to sales: looking for business, prospecting, networking, driving the comp set (maybe on the way back from the bank), etc. After all, you are at the front desk, you see and talk to customers every day. Visit the CVB, join a networking group, attend Business After Hours, call on a new business you drive by every day on your way to work! Invite a customer to breakfast on property – it’s free, it’s easy and well, heck – you just might book some business.
Try it – you might like it! If you would like me to visit and go out on calls with you – let me know!
On a side note,
If you are one of the hotels in the portfolio that has a full time/part time dedicated sales person, count your blessings. But don’t count yourself out of the sales picture….. you are still an important cog in that wheel. You should occasionally go out on sales calls with your sales person and pick up the phone and thank a particularly good customer. Read the article below for testimonial to that fact! You are important to the process.
The Sales-Focused General Manager
By Kevin Buchanan, GM, Hilton Garden Inn Providence Airport
(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)
As general managers, we are responsible for leading everything at the hotel and delivering the results to contribute to its overall success. We help to drive sales and profitability as well as guest and team member satisfaction and ensure brand standards are met. To achieve that mission, it is important that general managers are involved in sales and that they make sales a priority on a daily basis.
Sales is about building relationships, and that means a lot of smart sales calls, entertaining and, of course, networking events. As a focused-service general manager, sales has always been a part of what I do on a daily basis. Whether it is visiting key accounts, attending networking events with the sales team or even prospecting potential business on a regular basis, the general manager must be a part of the sales department to the fullest.
Supporting the sales team by meeting clients and picking up the phone and thanking them for the business goes a long way. Sales involvement from the general manager also can play an important role in relationship building for group business. Imagine a group that meets a general manager before making a decision — this could help the meeting planner make that purchasing decision because they would know the hotel has the ability to service the needs of their groups, and the general manager can offer that reassurance. It also doesn’t hurt when groups are on property to make sure your presence is known.
Of course we have to remember that sales is about building relationships and that people do business with people they know, like and trust, so it is also important that the general manager is assisting the sales team and adding value and support for the department, not hurting a relationship that a sales team member has built.