12 Ways to Become a Better Hotel Sales Manager
What does a Sales Manager do?
Hotel Sales Managers are responsible for developing business using direct sales, marketing, mailings and social media to create strategic plans that drive sales revenue for their employer.
They must be able to identify areas of opportunity and be familiar with sales training programs, trends in the industry and tools to optimize the performance of their sales team… as well as properly use all the sales and marketing resources available to them.
What skills and experience do you need to be successful?
In terms of experience and education, most Sales Managers already have a proven track record in a similar role, are warm and confident people, well-organized and with a strong attention to detail. They typically have a degree in Business Administration, Marketing or Hotel Management and at least 3 to 4 years of experience in sales and marketing.
What can you do to be a better Sales Manager or increase your chances of being hired for a Sales Manager job?
- Know your product: Know what your hotel has to offer in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, especially as it compares to your competition. Make sure you regularly walk the property and are able to assess it through the eyes of potential customers.
- Know who your target customer is: Hotels are often designed with a particular market segment in mind. A high-end property with exclusive amenities is not going to appeal to the budget traveler, and vice versa. Be sure your staff is selling to your strengths.
- Be organized: Good attention to detail inspires confidence, and the little things add up to big wins over time. For example, be sure you and your team are on top of dates, details and spelling of names and titles for conferences, which equipment is needed for meetings and who the decision-makers are.
- Have integrity: Be sure to do what you say you will. If something unforeseen happens, communicate clearly and quickly to resolve issues. You inspire loyalty when you help your staff to overcome any problems that arise and support the relationships they’ve built with meeting planners and other customers.
- Listen: The number one way to truly understand the needs of your customers is to listen. Sales people can be so enthusiastic about what they offer that they jump in with all the features before they know what the customer wants or needs. Make sure you and your staff are asking the right questions and know what’s most important to the client and sell to those needs.
- Monitor your sales/marketing metrics daily: These reports drive your performance. Even if you’re at full capacity one week, don’t forget to check the numbers and stay on top of the hotel’s reviews and sentiment comments.
- Respond to customer comments/concerns: Social media platforms are a great way to interact with guests who love you and address any concerns that come up. Make sure you and the staff are on top of sites like Yelp, Facebook and Trip Advisor and you’re interacting with those who are commenting.
- Make sure you attend conferences/meetings you host and walk the floor: Talk with attendees and mingle with presenters and decision-makers. Get feedback about what is going well and what needs improvement, and make some notes for future meetings.
- Foster relationships with other hotel staff and departments: It may seem to the front desk staff that your sales team has it made. Maybe they don’t work weekends and they seem to come and go all day having lunches, meeting for drinks in the bar and having a grand time entertaining. The rest of the staff needs to know how important their roles are to the successful meetings, conferences and group stays that drive revenue. The fact is that a sale is everyone’s job.
- Make almost any request come true: You’d be surprised how going outside the standard policy to create a really unique event can reap great rewards. The best sales managers assist the sales staff in making dreams come true for the customer… and that often results in rave reviews on social platforms, referrals to friends and families as well as a lot of repeat business.
- Look after your staff: Be the manager who cares. The way you treat your employees is a good indicator of how they will treat your customers. Celebrate successes and acknowledge all the wins, big and small.
- Stay on top of trends and new technology: Be alert to what’s new in your market and industry so your strategies can evolve with changing conditions. Be curious, find new ways to solve challenges and always find some time to learn and improve. The internet has had a tremendous impact on how hotel sales is conducted – collect the data and dominate your competition with it.