Whether it’s early in the year or you’re staring down your year-end goals, every hotel sales director is constantly working to stay on pace or beat goals from last year.
NB: This is an article from Knowland
That alone can be a challenge, especially during slower times of the year or filling specific need periods in the week. Add to that the pressure of meeting the hotel revenue management’s goals, and there is a lot to consider when trying to book accounts into your property.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date
Here are five ways hotel sales teams can bridge the gap with revenue management to set up your group properly for profitability.
1. Stop Looking at Each Booking as a One-off Sale
Inbound leads are great, but developing longer-lasting relationships with organizations that know and trust your property is critical from the revenue manager’s perspective. If you only use the Daily Business Review (DBR) to evaluate the “business of the moment,” you’ll occasionally see repeat business. Still, there’s no element of relationship-building in that process.
When inbound leads come in, be sure you really look at them and what they have previously booked to get a better idea of what they like (or don’t like) about the properties they have used before. Does this one-off group have the potential to become a repeat customer?
Develop a strategy using your CRM for tracking leads that are a good fit for your property and meeting your goals so you can start building a relationship beyond just replying to an RFP. This shows the revenue managers that you’re thinking beyond meeting your goals right now.
2. Take Time to Understand the Overall Value of Every Piece of Business
When revenue managers review the business you’re bringing in, it’s a good idea to show them a bigger picture so they can understand its overall potential value to the property. One-off group bookings can be less attractive to a revenue manager who may be able to get that same revenue in a less labor-intensive way.
Use the right tools to understand this group’s overall volume, what types of hotels they prefer, and even their preferred destinations. All of this information allows the revenue manager to make better decisions. It is highly likely they will be able to help you with pricing if they know this client could return time and again to the property.
3. Determine the Right Business Mix for Your Property
While you might have individual sales goals, your revenue manager is responsible for all hotel revenue. They have a good understanding of the demand for the whole hotel, typically by day and season. Their job is to balance all of the demand to drive the most revenue for your hotel. As the hotel sales team, you will need to provide group bookings that meet the core of the revenue for the hotel. And that means room revenue in most cases. However, if the group you’ve found will drive significant ancillary revenue, such as extensive food and beverage, ensure your revenue manager understands that.
It’s a good idea to discuss the ideal group sizes you can accommodate and the revenue they expect to generate from each one. Talking through their expectations can help you avoid spending time on deals – especially inbound leads – that cannot meet the revenue manager’s expectations. They can also tell you more about the seasons when they might expect smaller groups or groups that are one-off to fill need periods. This can help the sales team avoid frustrations in the future. You can focus more on the groups that will be the best fit.
4. Determine if Your Target Account Has Flexibility
This may seem unnecessary, but how often do you actually go into the DBR with more than one date option for a group? Having this information at the start will help fill needs at various times throughout the year. Only some groups can swing a date adjustment, especially if they announce dates well before the event. But if you can get a few date options, that will help the revenue manager identify the best time for the group. Plus, you can offer different space and event venue options throughout the property by providing multiple dates.
Being proactive at this level will also show your client that you have their best interest in mind. Developing that type of rapport between the hotel sales team and the account’s meeting planning team can be what it takes to tip the scale in your favor.
5. Use Data to Advocate for Your Piece of Business
Back up your conversations with data to help your revenue manager better understand how your piece of business will help your hotel, not just in this one instance but over the long haul. By doing this, you become your own advocate within your hotel and your customer’s best advocate. It’s the perfect recipe to win raving fans both internally and externally. Be sure you have a way to compare your property to those in your competitive set to see where you stand on group size, rooms booked, and event space occupied each month.