Hospitality Sales - An Interview With Rupesh Patel

April 18, 2020
Hospitality Sales - An Interview With Rupesh Patel
Hospitality Sales

Hospitality Sales

An Interview With Rupesh Patel, Zenique Hotels

1 - How to create a hospitality sales strategy
What are the main things you think about when building a hospitality sales strategy?

You need to think about the demand generators for your specific market, and what price point your property is in. Go after the business in which you can fit their needs, while they fill your needs. Look at what your need dates or days of the week are, and attack business that fits that criteria.

What are the main things that hotel salespeople miss?

They miss selling based on the clients needs and instead, generally focus just on rate they can offer. They should be looking at what amenities or services would be beneficial to the client and sell those. They also miss looking at the RIGHT business.

For Example, if you are generally sold out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you want to see if there are accounts that are displacing revenue. Replace those with higher rated business on those days. Another example is if you are maximized in revenue on Tuesdays and Wednesday, then look for business that fills in your shoulder dates.

2 - Prospecting
How do you create a prospect list?

We use various reports such as Agency360 to uncover business that is coming into the market. Search for business in your area that could potentially have travelers coming into town. Look at your In House Guest Lists and reach out to them. The key here is getting the company names and contact info at check in.

How do you plan out your team's sales activities?

This will be based on the strategy each hotel sales professional has; however, you have to prioritize your prospects and attack in order. Do not get hung up on one client. You must attack multiple contacts at the same time as you never know when someone will respond. Prospecting is a numbers game in a sense.

How do you measure success?

STR Report indexes, Agency360 indexes, Demand360 rankings

3 - Relationships
What do you do to build relationships with guests on-property?

Talk to them. Be human and care about them. Most sales professionals miss the relationship part of this business and strictly focus on selling. I have always found that selling is easier when you have taken the time to build a meaningful relationship with someone.

How do you drive word of mouth business?

If you have a relationship with a client or clients, they are more likely to spread the word. For me, it comes back to the importance of cultivating long-term relationships.

What on-property sales activities do you and your team do?

Review "guest in house by company reports" daily, review "arrival reports" daily, and put notes in each reservation that you need to get more information from. It's my philosophy that everyone on property needs to do sales. Just talking to your in-house guests will uncover a lot of sales opportunities. Sales is a way of life and a way of doing business, rather than a specific set of tactics. That is one thing that has enabled us to be successful. It's something we focus our entire team on.

hotel sales guide
4 - Tools
How do you use tools in the hotel sales process?

We use our Hotel Sales CRM to keep all records organized and to keep sales strategies moving forward. It allows for less opportunities to fall through the cracks. We also use Agency360 to see what rates a specific client may be paying in the market already. In my experience, there is not just one single program you can use and be efficient though. You must combine data from various areas to get the complete picture.

What are your go-to hospitality sales tools?

Agency360, LinkedIn, Demand360, STR, Event Temple

Why do you use them?

Agency360 shows you your “report card” of how well you are doing against your competitors. For Event Temple, we use the system to keep records all in one place. With turnover or PTO, you always want to ensure someone can pick up right where the previous person left off. That is one major benefit to using a sales system like Event Temple at each of our properties. We never have to worry that we might lose all of our sales data if a team member moves on.

5 - Hospitality Sales Tips
How you think about hiring salespeople?

I look for those that are relationship-based sales people, not the “used car sales” type people. Relationship-based sales people are more genuine and will be sure to take care of the clients needs. I focus on the personality and values of the person when hiring. I am looking for a mix of hospitality, service and relationship-building skills versus a "hard closer".

How you align Sales, Marketing + Revenue Management?

They all go hand in hand. Marketing drives hotel sales leads and leads turn into bookings. Our Sales team negotiates with the client leads and the Revenue Manager advises on the best rate to offer the client. Revenue Management will also review Marketing spend to see what is effective and what is not.

Rupesh Patel - Zenique Hotels
Rupesh Patel And Zenique Hotels

Rupesh Patel is the visionary behind Zenique Hotels. Patel has used his skill set to shape a hospitality company that is innovative, cutting edge, and unique. It is well known that Zenique operates with their PEOPLE in mind, which is a result of Rupesh’s desire to create a company with a joyful, transparent, and positive, family like culture.

His angle of conducting business by building relationships is a direct reflection of his Father, Raman Patel’s approach. At a young age, his father began teaching him about the family business exposing him to more and more as he grew older. He learned how to maintain a dedicated, focused, and ‘work hard’ mentality while building relationships along the way. His Father always taught him, that relationships are more valuable than any dollar amount; thus, the primary focus should always be PEOPLE.

In his current role as President and Chief Operating Officer, he has been trusted to oversee the portfolios operations as well as the company’s acquisitions and developments. His firm understanding of raw numbers has helped him analyze hotel data to find opportunities to develop and operate profitable hotels.

He will continue to grow Zenique; however, the desire for rapid growth is outweighed by his desire to lead a company that his people truly enjoy, feel involved, and feel like family. The number hotels Zenique has in their portfolio is not the key metric for Rupesh. What is, is the happiness of his team with organic, sustainable growth. Patel built his solid foundation at San Diego State University (SDSU), where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Public Administration and City Planning.

At SDSU, Patel learned at an early point in his career the inter-workings of how fundamental developments occurred to ensure a successful and prosperous future with his family’s company. He used his learnings from his father by forging key relationships and became close with collegiate athletes, many of which have gone on to play professionally. He has harnessed those relationships and learned how to keep the hunger of success alive day in and day out. He learned how to overcome obstacles and setbacks, as well as how to overcome barriers that seemed like they were impossible to climb. His strong belief in understanding views from others in various professions, has taught him how to be versatile and able to adapt to curve balls that come his way.

When Rupesh is not creating positive impacts for Zenique, he enjoys playing basketball, watching professional sports, and enjoying time with friends and family. He is a die-hard Golden State Warriors fan and attends games whenever he gets a chance. He is a car enthusiast and appreciates the uniqueness of rare classics as well as modern day super cars. With so much to enjoy his life, Rupesh notes that it has all been possible because of his parents; whom he gives all the credit to.

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