Over the past 10 years, hotel sales have shifted. A decade ago, the hospitality industry was experiencing a considerable amount of growth and as a result, sales teams were able to easily meet their target revenues without a big push.
Today, things are different. Success now requires a more demanding hunt for business outside of a hotel’s typical revenue channels. To add to that, customers are more evolved and have access to more information so it’s not enough for a sales strategy to just provide information.
Has your team transitioned to sell in the current landscape?
Finding the right team members is just about as important as executing a modern sales strategy. Your team should have the right setup but also have the right skills to deliver results regardless of changes to the market and competitors.
Good customer service and relationships are, quite obviously, incremental to a hotel’s success. If your sales team is set up properly and thriving, this will shine through in your sales targets. This is why we suggest taking some time to build your sales team with intention. Work smart, not just hard!
So, let’s get into it. Here are three tips on how to build an exceptional sales team:
1- Figure Out What Kind Of Team You Need
Begin with your ideal result in mind. The end-game here is an exceptional sales team so think specifically about what that looks like for you and your hotel.
Your sales team will look different depending on your property type, hotel segment, and how many rooms you have. For example, an independent hotel will have a different sales structure than a small franchise or a 600 room hotel in the tier-one market with event space.
2- Find The Right People
Once that’s established, you can look at filling the appropriate roles for your hotel. In sales, there are two main types of profiles you’ll want to hire for:
- The hunter: someone who’s motivated, persistent, and eager to search for new opportunities.
- The farmer: someone who’s able to foster relationships, deliver great customer service, and build a good rapport with prospects.
Ideally, everyone on your sales team should encompass all qualities of a hunter and farmer but certain personalities will naturally flourish more in one of these profiles. So, cater your job positions to those personality traits.
Seek out traits in someone who is a ‘hunter’ if your hotel sales strategy needs improvement in bringing in new business. Realistically, this can always be improved which is why you’ll need to find someone who’s motivated. Ask candidates questions related to their prospecting strategies and ability to deliver and measure success when seeking out new business.
Other areas of opportunity in your overall sales strategy should involve having someone with the Farmer’s qualities. Having an organized, attentive, and understanding team player is good for building relationships and driving repeat business.
Overall, knowing what you need is the first step to building your dream team. Set your intentions early so you know what qualities you can look for in candidates. Ask specific questions about metrics, situations, and look for personalities that match the role you’re looking to fill.
3 – Establish An Onboarding Process
If you’ve found the right people, you’re on the right track but there are still some things to consider.
Think about how your sales team members are set up for their position.
Just because you’ve hired the right people with the right skills, doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be able to thrive. Start your new hires off on the right path by having a fully established onboarding process.
Employees appreciate a warm welcome so be prepared for their arrival. It’s helpful, for instance, to provide your team members with context by explaining the big picture of your hotel. This could be things like the history of your hotel, the main attractions, the location, the customer base, and your mission/vision. If your sales team understands the big goals of your hotel, the culture, and the values, they’ll be better at doing their job.
Training should be designed for each department and each role. Employees should understand what their role is, how they’ll be evaluated, and how they fit into the big picture.
According to Aberdeen Group, 62% of companies claimed a higher time-to-productivity ratio and 54% reported higher employee engagement with an onboarding process. In short, don’t underestimate the power it has in building a strong sales team.
4 – Build Engagement With Your Team
According to a study by Gallup, for the first time in about 10 years, employee engagement has decreased. “Just over one-third of employees (34%) were engaged, and 16% were actively disengaged in their work and workplace, based on a random sample of 57,022 full- and part-time employees throughout the year.”
Employees feel corporations have lost sight of the basics of having any job. For instance, simple things like having clear expectations and opportunities to do their best aren’t always there and this affects your employee engagement.
So when it comes to your hotel, how do you engage your sales team?
You make expectations clear. Employees should understand how their performance is going to be evaluated, how they can communicate with their manager, and how they can expect feedback.
It’s also good to think about training as an ongoing process. Setting time aside for employees to discuss the big picture of their role will make sure everyone is aligned and able to reach their potential.
Look for ways to celebrate successes and let employees know the value they add to the team. It sounds simple but it can go a long way. It’s human nature to want to feel appreciated.
Hiring the right people in sales can make all the difference no matter what industry you’re in. For hotels, the right sales team helps to foster a healthy business culture, drives revenue, and contributes to a great experience for all stakeholders.
The hospitality industry has evolved from a mostly growth-oriented market to one that’s more volatile. By strategizing how you set up your hotel sales team, you can build strong bones so you can bring in business no matter what the market looks like.