Outbound hotel sales and prospecting is a significant part of the hotel sales process. Filling the top of the funnel determines how successful the rest of the funnel becomes so the right strategy will make your inputs go a long way. We’ve talked to many hotel industry experts and director’s of hotel sales teams and have gained some insight on this topic. Continue reading for tips on how to refine your outbound hotel sales strategy.
1 – Cover your bases before the initial reach out
More often than not, when people receive a cold outreach in the form of a call, email or Linkedin message in the middle of their day, most people will glance at it and then skip through or politely excuse themselves from the conversation. These messages will typically sound generic or even spammy. Prospects will become more likely inclined to actually engage with your message if they can see that research was actually conducted when crafting the message.
Researching your prospects before initiating contact is just good business practice and is a part of an effective outbound hotel sales strategy. Research nowadays is much easier thanks to the vast information available on the internet. At the very minimum, look up your prospect’s website for some basic information. A step above that is to learn more about them on Linkedin profiles where you can find out more about your prospect’s position. Other companies subscribe to ZoomInfo and Knowland that help with the research/ prospective process.
While conducting your research, think about whether or not this prospect is suitable for your services? A main complaint from event planners is that they are being solicited by hotels that they would never be interested in due to the number of rooms, geographical limitations, size of space etc. Doing thorough research will better equip you to answer any quick objections thrown your way during a call or quick email response.
2 – Personalize and tailor your sales messages
Tailoring your sales messages (based on your research) will show your prospect that you’re not just sending the same generic spammy message to 100 prospects on a list, but rather, you’ve gone one step further than everyone else and did your homework. If you’ve done enough research, you’ll be able to even reference locations and dates of previous events. This will more likely garner engagement or a response from your prospects. At the very least, mention the company’s name and something specific about how you can bring them value. Add the prospect’s logos to your correspondence and think creatively about how you can attract their attention, perhaps customizing cover pages with their photos and color schemes to catch their attention. The less your outbound hotel sales correspondence seems like “copy+paste”, the better.
3 – Keep your introductions brief and simple
If you’re making a cold call, immediately introduce yourself and humbly ask for assistance before beginning small talk. More often than not, you’re not speaking directly with the prospect so asking the person who answered the phone “how are you today?” may be redundant.
Do: State your name, title, the hotel’s name and the reason for your call, and if they are the prospect. The person on the other side of the phone will either forward you to the best person for your inquiry or take down a message to forward.
Don’t: Boast that your hotel has ‘X’ amount of rooms and a newly renovated F&B, and ‘X’ amount of meeting space. Again, this sounds spammy and you probably are not even speaking with the intended prospect.
Unless it’s the rare occasion that you are directly speaking with the prospect and they have time to continue the conversation, save the in-depth consultative questions and share what value you can add to their business to the next conversation when it’s scheduled with your lead.
4 – Persistent, not pushy
When it comes to your outbound hotel sales strategy, there is a sweet spot when it comes to follow up correspondence and communication. Too little or too much is bad and can send the wrong message to your prospect. Potential clients appreciate a sales person who knows how to follow up on a timely basis, without being aggressive to the point of annoyance.
Here are a few tips when crafting your outreach cadence:
– If you’re able to find an accurate phone number, then use it as the first step. You’ll most likely reach a voicemail, but leave a short, simple message in a friendly, yet professional tone to start warming up your prospect. If you don’t have a phone number, email instead.
– In a day or two, follow up the voicemail with a personalized email that references that initial call.
– Call again in two or three days. After that, follow up one more time in one to two weeks.
– During this process, vary the way you’re communicating as your prospect might actually prefer a certain way over another. This also takes away from the connotation that you may be “filling up their inbox/voicemail box”
– Search up your prospect on Linkedin and send a connection request. If they are a second or third degree connection then you’ll be able to send a request with a basic, free account. However, if prospecting is your main job, the premium subscriptions are worth the investment and you will see a return based on how much you’re using it.
5 – Never guilt trip a prospect
This is one if pretty self-explanatory. You never want to imply to your prospect that they owe you any kind of response.
Do: Say “following up on our previous correspondence” or “appreciate a chance to learn more about your meetings and events”
Don’t: Be passive aggressive and say “since I haven’t heard back from you” or mention how many times you may have called or emailed.
6 – Accept rejections gracefully
You will inevitably run into some rejections in outbound hotel sales. Taking rejections is a skill in itself. When a prospect notifies you over the phone or replies to an email with a rejection, accept and offer your gratitude for their time and consideration. This leaves a positive impression on you and your hotel and should your prospect’s needs change in the future, you will be regarded in good light. Furthermore, the world is small and chances are you may be in contact with other people in their network or know someone that would benefit from your services. Sincerely responding to rejections makes for good business practice for a successful hotel sales strategy.