Archive for the ‘Hotel Sales Consulting’ category

Tips on Looking for Work

August 24th, 2011

A lot of folks are looking for work. They go on interviews for positions they will take for the money and hate getting up to. They settle while their regret eats at them and their spirit erodes. There is less of them to give to their families because they struggle for self esteem. Dreaming and a spirit of gratitude appear impossible.
For those of you in jobs that inspire and ignite you find life exciting and your magnetism floats as you rise to the top of your career. You look forward to each day as adventure unfolds and your dreams are bigger than the fabulous life you lead. People smile around you and there is an instant aura the brightens a room when you arrive.
So how do those in the first paragraph find their path to the second? This is a tough economy and the Pollyanna approach is drinking the kool-aid toward insanity. Forget about finding my purpose! I just want a JOB! And back they go to the scenario first described.
• OK so let’s go back to Pollyanna – a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything. What can we take from a spirit of irrepressible optimism? Try some of these steps and let me know how you feel. You will need pen and paper … preferably a notebook to journal your progress.
• Write down the things you enjoy in your current job. You can turn the paper over and write the things you don’t enjoy since your brain may gravitate to that side and it is good to be clear on the things that are eating you so you don’t go back there. Keep your pros on cons list so this life experience is never lost. You are on a journey now and each brick is important to recognize as part of our life and how we choose our path to greatness. You aren’t going to quit your current job until you create a solid path toward a healthy future so find those things you enjoy and your focus on those things will make them multiply.
• Write the characteristics of your dream job. What will you do in exchange for money? Obviously if your dream job is drinking beer in front of the TV you won’t earn enough to eat and I am not sure there is an abundance of those jobs out there. Describe your passions and talents and don’t worry so much about fitting a mold. Things like helping people, working with my hands, budgets, spreadsheets, numbers, creative writing, designing, working outdoors, being part of a team. Some of these resonate and some of these make you cringe.
• Write descriptive adjectives about yourself. You can choose from this list of a few samples or come up with those that really describe the unique character that is stored deep within. Analytical, witty, compassionate, loyal, independent thinker, adventurous, flexible, dependable, conceptual, optimistic, imaginative, prepared, logical, spontaneous, sincere, concerned, inventive, impactful, personal, organized, curious, competitive, enthusiastic, thorough. We are all colors!
• Take an interests exam. Invest that much in yourself to identify your passion and the careers associated with those. I took the Strong Campbell Interest exam when I first decided to work on a career path as opposed to finding a job. It led me to the medical field because I enjoy helping others. Hospitals and hospitality are kin. They are both healing centers but one makes you laugh and the other makes you think. My life long journey has been hospitality and I have enjoyed a career mere mortals could not dream about.
• Learn the skills you need to fulfill your dream. Sometimes that means classes, workshops, tech school. Sometimes it is finding a mentor or 3 and adding value to their lives while they inject wisdom and spirit into yours. Sometimes it is being open to learn your craft on the lowest level and allow life to unfold while you have a clear but flexible path outlined. You may find a volunteer role that allows you to practice and gain related experience. I engaged all of these suggestions throughout all sectors of my career.
• KEEP DREAMING. Create a vision board. Set goals. Associate with positive people. Keep your affirmations in front of you reminding yourself how good you are and enjoy the journey. Turn off the TV and try very hard to eliminate the negative forces in your life. Worry and fear will tear you down. Take a proactive approach to those things that cause concern and get excited about working through the details.
In closing I share a couple of famous quotes and my own sparkle of truth. “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” Ralph Waldo Emerson “We tell the real truth of our life by the stories we repeatedly tell. Dare to dream of your great success. Become intimate with those things which deeply motivate you and regularly work toward the realization of that mission.” Mary Anne Radmacher
To thine own self be true. We are only going around once so let’s grab all the gusto we can get. Be memorable and leave a legacy.

Fam Trip, Group Site Tour, Hosted Buyer Program … When can YOU go!

March 7th, 2010

DSC_6698Regardless of what you call it, be sure you really are a qualified attendee. Don’t go if there is no chance you will book the venue in the foreseeable future. No one wants to be part of a trip where an unqualified buyer is taking advantage of the venue. In my last hotel we did 6 group site tours or familiarization trips in one year and each group was comprised of 10 – 12 planners.

It is a lot of work to organize flights, ground transportation, special dietary needs, gifts, a theme and an agenda where everyone gets to know new people and it is still educational and fun. We created the format once and duplicated it 4 times for just captive meeting professionals and twice for independent meeting professionals with their client. We did not invite significant others to keep it very business focused and found a Thursday – Saturday program worked best in that it did not cut into too much personal time.

To get 12 attendees, you need to invite at least 50 planners. Having several dates to offer helped to get qualified planners in at a time that best suits their schedule. We made it casual, interactive and left an afternoon for optional activities to show the variety of what your attendees can do in their spare time. Spa appointments were always a huge hit but city tours, attractions or special events can also be worthwhile. We kept it personal and focused so each guest felt like we recognized the most important person in the world. The cost is usually over $1,000 per planner so expect a well orchestrated follow up plan to track the success.

It is also wonderful if the local Convention & Visitors Bureau attends to talk about the destination, partner opportunities and the type of services they provide. Any preferred vendors should also participate to showcase their offering.

Depending on the ratio of business from the local market, it is fun to attend a “Show the Love” event that is a single meal with educational content or a dinner and overnight event. If you are doing a fair amount of business with a local venue, you should occasionally “shop” the venue to experience the service when the sales team is not around. That is the service that your guests receive.

No matter what you call these types of events, they can be an extremely effective use of your time in planning a meeting or event and build an amA2Zing lifetime relationship bond between the venue team and the professional meeting planner.

Are You Memorable?

January 19th, 2010

We are all looking for business and ways to get the word out.

How can you be sure your message is being heard?

Get Aggressive with Your Marketing

  • Have a great website that really demonstrates your expertise
  • Create a weblog (Blog)
  • Toot your horn on what is so great about you
  • Have a great brochure
  • Have the best business card you can get

Focus on Customer Service

  • Be attentive to your customer’s uniqueness
  • Outline in clear terms what your agreement is
  • Ask for 3 things when you deliver a great product or service
    • Testimonial
    • Referral
    • Repeat business

Schmooze

  • Network
    • Get to know THEM first
    • Don’t “data dump”
    • Be ready with your elevator pitch
  • Build compatible partnerships and praise their work
  • Know your competition and when they might be a great choice

Get Involved

  • Don’t just be a card carrying member
  • Embrace every opportunity to be on panels or do public speaking
  • Join networking groups that stimulate growth
  • Volunteer your talents for the benefit of your industry

Sharpen Your Skills

  • Read journals on your industry and related industries
  • Join social online networks and contribute to group blogs
  • Learn a new skill that will enhance your product or service
  • Ask for advise
  • Attend webinars

Stand Out

  • Dress for success
  • Do your homework in getting to know them and allow them to “paint the canvas”
  • Be a problem solver
  • Tell them a story about how your product or service was helpful to another client

A Powerful Elevator Pitch
The goal of creating an elevator pitch is to craft a statement that explains to someone — without any experience in your industry —
what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. It should be straightforward and easy to understand and digest.
Here is a really simple formula you can use as a basis for a powerful elevator pitch:

  • Part I: Ask the other person a question that identifies a common problem. This engages them and gives you a lead-in to Part II.
  • Part II: Give a boiled down version of what you do and how it solves the problem you identified in Part I.
  • Part III: Provide a call to action that specifically tells the other person what you want them to do now.

What’s your elevator pitch?

Now serving number 44 …

August 16th, 2009


Do you ever feel like just a number?

So many hoteliers are wondering why group business is so far behind last year. The canned answer is the economy. Groups are smaller in size because fewer people are allowed to attend; they are not spending as much on training and development; there are fewer employees because sales are down; groups can’t go to places that have spa or resort in their name; non-essential travel has been cut. While all of these things may be true for several markets, there are markets that continue to travel and the hotel sales team should be prospecting for new business on an ongoing basis.

As an independent meeting planner, I am amazed by the lack of passion and sense of urgency I have experienced in the site selection process. Frequently I have to call the hotel to ask if someone would please respond to my request for a proposal. Once I receive the proposed bid, I have to call back to address several key points that were requested and not addressed. My request for a proposal has not been examined to see how they can best accommodate MY needs … it is just a matter of offering space, rates and dates without satisfying any emotional needs. It is rare that I encounter a benefits sales approach or even a genuine interest in the “pain” that I need help solving … I am simply a number.

I have spent my adult life in the hospitality industry. I love working with my clients and so many become dear friends. That doesn’t happen simply responding to requests with the “take it or leave it” quote. If business is so bad out there, what is the sales team doing that is more important than responding to a request in a memorable way? It isn’t about the lowest rate or the most attachments to documents that I have to sift through to get answers to my questions. It is about being excited to create a lifelong relationship, being thorough in responding to specific needs that are mentioned, asking valuable questions that let me know you understand my goals and being creative in presenting the additional benefits that put the icing on a well thought out proposal.

Because of the experience described above and my lifelong network of professional colleagues throughout the world, I saw a need to design a sales training program for hotels. What would it take to ignite the sales team? Just as the needs of each meeting planner is different, so are the needs of each hotel sales team. first analyze the needs of sales organization.

Phase one is a mystery shopping service where we contact the hotel with 5 different types of groups from various areas of the country and varying market segments in an attempt to shop 5 different group or catering sales managers. These 5 leads all come through different lead sources to also shop the effectiveness of 5 major revenue streams. The results are given on a standards scorecard as well as the complete written dialogue of the mystery shopping experience. Each shop experience gives a written recommendation on ways to enhance the marketing tool and suggestions for how that proposal could have been improved.

BONUS ~ At least two of the shopping experiences will also include competitive responses to the same lead. Here you will see how quickly primary and secondary competitors are responding as well as the way they have addressed the specific needs and to what degree they engage in a benefits sales approach. The results do not reveal competitor rates that were quoted.

Phase two is a customized on-site training program. Based on the results from Phase One, we know which areas required the greatest amount of attention and each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Some of the training is done on an individual one-on-one basis and some can be conducted as a group. Several support pieces are required from the hotel prior to arrival to point me in the right direction. A complete checklist is requested in my initial proposal to the executive responsible for deciding on engaging my services.

BONUS ~ The sales staff helps to write a living training program that can be used as a refresher course or taught when new members join the team. The standards that are set and tools that are designed truly clarify the roles, goals and responsibilities of each team member and it gets them back on course in a positive uplifting environment. The sales staff recognizes the investment in their training and it stimulates new excitement for the property and several new, creative ideas.

All of this training impacts the customer experience in a positive way. The client will recognize the smile and the genuine interest in the response they receive. If they need to leave a voicemail for the sales manager at your hotel, the client will smile at the creative prompt to leave a message rather than groan until they hear the beep. If a voicemail is left for them, the client will want to get back to that sales manager because they respect one another and are building a bond. The client will look forward to booking business at your hotel this time and in the future. They become part of the sales team and look for other opportunities within their organization or will provide outside introductions and referrals if asked.

Selling is not just taking an order. It’s not about getting to the “close”. Selling is step one to building a relationship. It is about finding the need and genuinely responding to the “pain” in a way that encourages a partnership ~ not just for this time but for a lifetime.