Meeting your hotel’s sales goals is about so much more than individual sales quotas and collecting bonuses. Whether you are a hotel sales manager or operator, booking well-suited groups requires both inbound RFP responses and proactive selling. These strategies enable you to predict group revenue more accurately. As a result, allowing more effective transient strategies for maximum profitability.
What do you need to have the right breakdown between proactive and inbound hotel sales?
Proactive Hotel Sales
Hotels that are more dependent on inbound leads can’t accurately predict group business because they are at the mercy of if/when leads come in and if/when they convert. Ultimately, this trickle-down economics model impacts every level of your rate mix.
The ecosystem of your revenue management processes should feed itself. Group bookings provide a base that drives up transient rates, in turn driving up group rates. You inherently break the ecosystem if you can’t accurately predict when and where groups will come.
Proactive selling allows your team to forecast when and where groups will come more accurately. This is the fuel that feeds your revenue management ecosystem and ultimately leads to stronger performance by your hotel.
A few ways to approach proactive sales are:
- Looking at accounts that are meeting in your market at competing hotels and reaching out.
- Understanding the segments meeting in your market or a similar market to see who would be a good fit for your meeting space.
- Researching accounts that have traditionally booked at a property that may be higher in chain scale than yours but offers a comparable quality of amenities and services. These are good targets to reach out to because they may want to save money on future events while still enjoying a high-quality property and the features of your market.
To do this, you’ll need data. If you’re unfamiliar with how to pull this information from Knowland, let us show you how.
Strategic Inbound RFP Responses
You get a lot of RFPs. And you may be required to respond to all of them. But some are more valuable to your property than others. Your sales team needs to understand the piece of business beyond the single transaction that fell into your inbox.
They need to be able to understand the following:
- How many meetings does this group plan?
- What types of hotels do they book?
- What chain scales do they prefer?
When you find the RFPs in your sweet spot, use data about this group’s previous events to create an RFP that will be more likely to hit the mark with the meeting planner.
Remember, not every lead is a good fit. So, have a process to prioritize them. Send a more “standard” reply to those less likely to book your property based on their needs or preferences, and spend more time on those more likely to choose your property or one like it.
Let the sales team do this research in a mandated time frame. Additionally, the right tool will help influence the rates offered and allow them to respond (or not) more meaningfully. Knowland can place this type of hotel sales intelligence at their fingertips.
7 Ways to Enhance Your Hotel Sales Strategy
If your hotel is playing to win in 2024, you need to ensure the sales team has an appropriate mix of proactive selling on their schedules and a strategy for responding to inbound RFPs. To be sure you’re getting the most from your sales team, here are seven tips for how to meet your goals.
1. Define your industry segments
What is a good fit for your hotel property? Specific segments are more profitable than others, but are those a fit for the attributes of your property? Are there any specific industries that tend to meet in your market that you could move to your property?
Additionally, the best fit might change seasonally. Use historical data to see recent events in your market and others.
2. Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Understand your comp set and which segments you are getting business from. Then, do an honest SWOT analysis on how to do it better. Additionally, having multiple comp sets to cover the segments you need might make sense.
3. Understand the hotel market segmentation for your property
Know where your business is currently coming from. If it’s weighted too heavily on transient, you can set appropriate goals for group business in the coming months.
4. Commit time to prospecting
While responding to inbound RFPs is a considerable part of the hotel sales team’s job, there must be time available for prospecting. Remove the obstacles preventing them from doing this regularly. Block time on their calendars, and don’t replace it with other meetings.
5. Give them the tools they need
Your team needs hotel business intelligence tools to identify new prospects. This isn’t your existing database. Not that there won’t be prospects there, but untapped accounts booking competitive properties are what you will want to identify.
6. Identify opportunities in other markets
Don’t make the mistake of thinking all of your prospects will be sourced within your market. Chances are you’re well-suited to serve organizations that meet in other markets or sub-markets. They may be interested in a change of scenery!
Your data tools should show you where meetings are being held. Your team will know what markets you’re most likely to pull from. Start here for your prospecting focus. Be sure they know how to compare your destination so they can sell effectively.
7. Hold them accountable
Create ways to track your hotel sales team’s efforts and measure their production. Agree on the metrics you will use to measure them in the short, mid, and long term because those will evolve. Your hotel business intelligence tool should have these functions in place.
Owning Your Winning Hotel Sales Strategy
If your property can effectively combine proactive selling with RFPs that close based on property match, your team will be clicking on all cylinders. This can happen in many different ways. The primary method is to build a group of data enthusiasts dedicated to identifying opportunities, nurturing accounts, and building relationships.
By shoring up your sales team’s processes and using hotel business intelligence tools, they can focus on creating new relationships and strengthening those you already have. What you do today will determine your property’s overall revenue results. See how to do all these things with the benefit of actual hotel booking data.
Updated January 2024