How you sell group today could be holding you back. If you want to empower your sales team to win more share in all economic times, then you must think differently about how you sell group. This is what we learned in a poll we executed on a recent webcast.
Commoditization of Group Business
In a recent poll we did with over 200 respondents from across the nation in a variety of roles, we learned that inbound RFPs are listing multiple cities more and more frequently. While some of this might be related to internal protocols requiring multiple bids, it could also be a meeting planner stacking the deck to make the market they prefer look especially attractive. This is why it is so important for sales people to be able to understand the buying behavior of groups before they respond to these inbound RFPs. Without this level of group knowledge, the sales person often defaults to rates, dates, and availability and leads to the commoditization of group business.
Over-reliance on Inbound RFPs
This is high-risk approach to selling group is underscored by the overreliance of inbound as a top source of group business. This dependence on “perceived demand” is preventing hotels from taking a hard look at the new entrants in the market stealing their recurring business, not to mention the profit hit they take with commissions.
Over dependence on inbound RFPs as a “strategy” for selling group is a recipe for under-performance and that is what we are seeing in the market today. This is underscored by sales leaders remarking on how the winddown of the historic growth cycle is causing shortfalls in their group business. They are left with sales teams that have subpar proactive prospecting skills and struggle to make up the difference.
Source of Business Mix
We recommend shifting the primary source of business mix to proactive selling; using inbound leads as the filler not the main source. Knowland is supporting the industry’s return to a Proactive Group Sales Strategy with the expansion of the Knowland platform and creation of new capabilities, like SmartSearch, which returns control of pipeline development, revenue and profits to the hotel, where it rightfully belongs.