Change is no longer optional, but success is.
Let’s be honest, the last decade was good for us all. Maybe a bit too good?
The typical salesperson enjoyed the luxury of a steady stream of inbound leads. Who had the time, much less the motivation to prospect for new opportunities?
If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?
Hello it’s 1995. Can I get my Rolodex back?
2020 was a huge wake-up call as the stream has all but dried up. The phone stopped ringing and the emails trickled in.
To add insult to injury, trade shows and high-density events that salespeople used to network are all on hold for the most part. The traditional “go-to” prospecting tools are gone.
Uh oh. Now what?
Handicapped with outdated tools and technology along with a lack of tech knowledge and training made hotel sales teams less effective than salespeople in other industries.
Will hoteliers use this time to re-imagine how they are going to run their hotels in the future and place a high emphasis on ROI for all departments – or revert back to the “good ‘ole days”?
In efforts to reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies, hoteliers will have no choice but to seriously evaluate how they generate revenue.
The train has left the station, never to return.
Hey Meetings and Events, where did you go?
Experts say it could be 2023 or even 2024 before we see any significant progress in the return of large conventions and events, and with that, small groups will be a larger segment for the foreseeable future.
Traditionally small groups have been 25 people or less but now with COVID and CDC restrictions, that number is down to 10 in many areas, forcing a new trend.
This current “small group” definition could be a good thing however, allowing large venues to reimagine their space to fit multiple (socially distanced of course) smaller groups and for boutiques and smaller properties to show off all of their intimate, unique spaces and experiences.
The definition of “Small group” is still fluid though and constantly changing based on current economic and business prosperity and now even public health. Everyone has to adapt and figure out what that means within their property amenities and restraints while complying with local and state government guidelines.
Because of all this, the typical corporate group is rebounding slower than social group. While SMERF groups in the past have been less desirable for many hotels, it now appears to be a promising source of business in the immediate future.
Additionally, with advances in technology and the introduction of the hybrid meeting model (in person/virtual) there’s no question it will have an everlasting impact on the industry.
One thing is certain, there are transformative industry changes in play.
There’s a good chance that your percentage of group rooms compared to other segments may be permanently changed.
How are you going to secure a viable group base in today’s environment – for many hotels midweek corporate group is essential or is it?
Can it be replaced or morphed into something new and different yet still profitable, or even more profitable?
Traditions are meant to be broken.
Thinking outside (literally) the box in this climate is required. Turning over every rock for new business is vital. Opportunities once scoffed at, since they didn’t fit the traditional segment, are no longer off the table.
Boutique independent hotels should especially consider social groups, such as car clubs, church groups and surfing retreats within the drive markets.
Re-imagining amenities to complement these new audiences will personalize the experience.
RELATED: Small Wins with Denielle Godwin
Turning Sales Compensation on its Head
Hoteliers are looking for any way to cut costs and maintain revenue levels which can be a difficult situation when inbound demand has dwindled.
Traditionally, most sales positions have a modest salary with a lucrative commission or bonus structure. A hard pill to swallow when a lot of the expense was associated with closing business, not finding it.
Advancements in technology will soon enable a meeting or event planner to book entirely online without the need for a human touch.
In fact according to Forrester, 74% of business buyers said they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.
There’s a trend emerging, common in other industries based on a “pay for performance” model.
Almost every salesperson thrives on “the hunt” and the possibility of unlimited earning potential. Hoteliers benefit from eliminating high overhead for “order taking” and only pay a percentage based on booked business.
Think of it as an OTA model for group bookings.
Bringing it Home.
In order to be successful in 2021 and beyond, hotels and their group salespeople have no choice but to rethink their strategy, which includes the adoption of new tools and techniques.
Quite frankly, closing business will become much more challenging unless there’s an eagerness to embrace change.
The status quo is a bust and it will leave you broke.
Is it time for you to evolve?
A performance-based direct sales support program may be right for you.
Our interim program is designed specifically to help hoteliers maximize their revenue potential by utilizing proprietary technology and strategies to drive, nurture, and book opportunities during uncertain times.
Would you like to know if our services are the right fit for your hotel?