Hotel sales leads are typically the first real tangible touch point your team has with a prospective client. These leads at the top of your funnel determine what eventually makes it to “closed deals” and essentially is a huge indicator of your hotel’s revenue. Knowing how to effectively manage these hotel sales leads is essential to a successful sales and revenue strategy.
The process of managing hotel sales leads involve prospecting, capturing the leads, tracking their behaviour and activities, qualifying them against criteria, warming them up and nurturing and then passing them on to the sales team when they’re ready. Read on for helpful tips and tricks to include in your best practices when it comes to managing your hotel sales leads below.
6 Tips for managing hotel sales leads
1 – Know where your leads are coming from
First off, let’s define what a “lead” is. A lead is the original touch point where the customer first hears about your company. From there, leads can enter the sales pipeline from various sources. These sources are based on your outbound and inbound efforts and can take many different forms such as:
– Blogs, press releases, and articles
– Youtube videos
– Email marketing
– Social media
– Cold outreach
– Events and networking
Each lead is unique and should be treated differently in terms of how you interact and follow up. For example, you wouldn’t follow up with a lead from paid ads the same way you would follow up with a lead from a trade show. Different leads = different context. The tradeshow lead would be much “warmer” than the paid ads lead. There would be context from the conversations between the rep and prospect to refer to and the prospect would have some foundation of knowledge about your hotel in comparison to the paid ad lead who only knows what they’ve found online. Considering where your leads came from is important when thinking about how to follow up.
2 – Apply lead scoring
Not all hotel sales leads are the same. Some leads are better than others and higher quality leads should be prioritized. Lead scoring is the process of assigning values in the form of numerical points to each lead. These values will communicate to sales teams which are more urgent to follow up with, which are more likely to close, which ones need more nurturing and so forth. The way you score your leads vary from hotel to hotel but there are some best practices to keep in mind when defining clear metrics. When developing metrics, ask yourself these questions about your hotel:
1 – What is the size of your hotel?
2 – What is our ideal customer profile?
3 – What is important to these customers?
4 – What channels do we engage with them on?
5 – What data do we have around client behaviour on our website?
Once you’ve developed your metrics, it’s time to decide on what parameters you’ll use to score your leads. A few parameters to consider:
– How recent are your interactions: The more recent, the better
– What type of interaction: Downloading an ebook is worth more than a ‘like’
– Pages viewed on the website: If you’re seeing a lead spend way more time on pricing page, it’s time to reach out quickly
– Number of interactions: The more interactions, the warmer the lead and that means the more ready they are
– Channel interactions: Email is typically the best channel
– Urgency of request: Request that are time sensitive typically score higher
– Size of the prospect’s company: Properties have their own sweet spot – know what yours is and score your ideal customers more highly
– Value of the proposal: Understand your sweet spot and score accordingly
– Stay frequency: A guest or group that has stayed with you frequently in the past is more likely to convert than a guest or group that is unfamiliar with your property
3 – Use clean data
It’s essential to use clean, relevant, up-to-date data to make informed decisions. By using clean data, you’ll be able to accurately score and follow up with your hotel sales leads. Every interaction with a prospect or customer should be recorded, tracked, and accessible to your team to ensure everyone involved in the process is aware of all previous engagements. This allows the prospect to move through the funnel and receive the appropriate amount of communication. If a prospect receives too many communications, it can lead them to unsubscribe from the email list or disinterest them entirely. A CRM helps with this as it streamlines the entire process in one application.
4 – Nurture your leads
Lead nurturing is the process of developing and engaging with your prospects at every stage of the sales funnel to develop that relationship. Hotel sales leads will enter the pipeline at various stages. The goal of your sales and marketing teams are to take the leads in their various stages and move them towards conversion. As we’ve mentioned before, every lead is unique and the way you nurture and follow up is based on what stage they’re in.
The type of communications, promotions and information you’d send to a prospect that’s in the beginning of the sales cycle will differ greatly from a prospect that is farther down the cycle who knows what product they want and is close to the buying decision. Lead nurturing can happen in varying channels but email marketing is the most common and effective.
Consider these options for lead nurturing through email:
– The ‘checking in’ email: For prospects that have cooled off and you haven’t heard back from in a while, sending a “checking in” email is a good idea to reignite interest. It’s a chance to ask your prospect if there are any questions you can answer or anything that they need clarification on.
– The promotional email: This email offers your prospect extra value in the form of a discount, upgrade, reward, or special offer or perk. Tailoring your offer to your specific customer segment is important and you can use your CRM’s data to identify what is valuable to which demographic.
– The loyalty email: Send a personalized email to your clients to keep them up-to-date on special offers and other relevant updates. Consider these as updates during the more inactive parts of the sales cycle.
5 – Review your lead management process regularly
As a best practice for all your business processes, your lead management system should be reviewed regularly. Things like new CRM software, lead management SOPs and updates are being introduced and adopted, keeping teams informed and aligned are necessary. As strategies change and evolve based on the hospitality landscape, old systems may not be as useful as they once were.
6 – Become an industry advisor
One of the most effective ways to boost hotel sales leads is to become a leader in industry knowledge and expertise. By building a reputation as a thought leader in hospitality, you’ll be rewarded with brand awareness, client loyalty and new customers. Building this reputation takes time because you gain the trust from your customers and credibility from the industry. This is done through multiple channels in your organization like who your company chooses to partner with and how you communicate with leads. Taking on a consultative approach to leads and adding value during their sales cycle will build a relationship of trust with clients and prospects that you haven’t done business with yet.
Managing your leads should be a part of every successful sales team. Working with your team to build a system revolving around a few principles like the ones listed above will give your team a solid foundation for a long term sales strategy. It’s important to understand where your leads are coming from to tailor the communications they are receiving based on their unique context. Building your credibility as an industry thought leader will also set you apart from the rest as prospective clients are more trusting of your brand and likely to convert. Lastly, constantly review your process and keep your team updated on any new changes to the process to ensure the entire process is seamless to prospective clients.