It can be difficult to come across quality information and resources from the hospitality industry – and it’s even more challenging to find thought leaders and experts who can contribute to the ongoing conversation about excellence in our industry.
This blog series is our effort to add to the discussion productively and learn from the innovators and trailblazers in our industry.
In the first of hopefully many blog posts, we interviewed Jos Schaap – the man who invented StayNTouch, a cloud-based software that serves over 90,000 hotel rooms globally.
Here’s what we learned:
When it Comes to Hotel Sales Where Would You Start?
According to Jos, all hoteliers should have a few essential tools in their repertoire to ensure that their businesses continue uninterrupted. It is crucial that you:
- Get a PMS – to track inventory and pricings for your estate;
- Make a website – to build an online presence;
- Connect the site to a channel manager – to market across many channels, and;
- Get an RMS – to expose the availability of rooms across all such channels.
CRM Is Vital For Corporate Sales
When inquired about managing corporate bookings, Jos’s point-of-view was that sales and catering are a significant component for hotels and even more so for corporate bookings. According to him, a reliable CRM system is vital to the success of businesses because it helps manage conference rooms, venues, and parties as well as other aspects of corporate bookings.
It also aids sales managers to derive and convert new prospects into booked deals.
Also, he suggested that hotels should hire several corporate sales managers who can drive corporate sales to your door and handle them from interest to close.
Further emphasis was laid on integrating an excellent sales and catering system. A good example would be Event Temple to take care of the prospects, devise proposals, finalize a plan, and close the deal for you.
The Importance Of Corporate Bookings
The launch year of any hotel is spent finding new methods and tactics to cover up the cost of the hotel, which is why it’s crucial to attract corporate sales from the get-go.
It might turn into an extended lead chase as they are not readily available. But, if you manage to close even one big corporate booking, it’ll give you a guaranteed number of nights per year. This will help your hotel cover all the necessary expenses and yield pure profit, over and above.
How Does Revenue Management Help You?
Jos Schaap explained that even if you’re a new hotel, you’d have other hotels around you. Go online and research the prices of rooms in other hotels in your vicinity. Make sure that your offerings are competitively priced so you can compete with the already established names in the market.
Further, your website should be highly visible, and maximum resources should be allocated to promote it and to attract traffic. Once your website starts getting organic traffic, it’ll reduce the commission fees paid to third parties for the same purpose.
Moreover, hotels should always have a loyalty program that offers additional perks and freebies to members. These incentives encourage your guests to return to you the next time they’re in town.
How To Outrun Competitors?
Your hotel needs to provide an exceptional experience to beat the competition and attract corporate leads – have a host facilitate every guest and make sure that your concierge services are the best in business.
The idea is to make the guest feel appreciated and compel them to choose your hotel over others.
Additionally, people love to stay at places that are new and technologically advanced; yet, many hoteliers are reluctant to invest in new hotel technology. They still prefer their businesses to run in an old-fashioned way.
Hence, to improve business, people need to step away from the old processes and adopt a new way of business conduct. For example, develop an app that handles bookings and check-ins for the guest.
How can you use your existing hotel technology to your advantage??
PMS or Property Management Systems provides historical data about everyone that stayed at your hotel – it can be mined for information about old and current guests, especially the ones with the potential to be converted into corporate leads. If you’re already using this type of hotel technology, make it work for you!
This is an effective way of searching for leads instead of looking for them elsewhere.
How To Retain Customers?
Finally, the key to retaining customers is:
- better service
- highly competitive pricing
- Never overcharging in slow periods
Hotel managers need to learn where they sit with the competition and then try to be better than them. They need to examine their service and determine what sets them apart – is it excellent food, or is it their hotel technology?
In short, if something attracts your guests, you do more of it, and if something is out-dated, you change it.