We recently had a chance to chat with Mike Francis, Business Consulting Manager at ZS, about his upcoming presentation at the HSMAI Sales Leader Forum on Revolutionizing Hotel Sales Today and Tomorrow.

Tell us a bit about the experiences that have shaped your expertise in this area.

For seven years, I have been a management consultant focused on the Travel & Hospitality industry and worked with hospitality brands, airlines, travel management companies, entertainment companies, industry utilities, and many players in between.

Seeing across the travel value chain has helped me to see the common pain points that exist to best enable a sales force with insights and tools to best position their offering’s value proposition and win business. The digital pressures on companies continue to rise as consumer expectations for a seamless, omnichannel journey has become the norm. A clunky B2B process juxtaposed to a seamless B2C process (sometimes from the same company!) is no longer competitive in the market.

Over the last few years, I’ve helped Travel & Hospitality organizations begin or accelerate their digital transformation to create a digitally enabled sales team and to both more efficiently and effectively serve key segments.

What are the key insights attendees can expect from your session?

Overall, the buyer’s journey has evolved, and they are not beginning their search with a sales conversation or even by visiting brand.com. This means that by the time that you’re able to touch a customer, they have likely gathered 3rd party research and have a good idea of what they think they want. This functionally means that your sales process means to evolve to capture as much information you can from a prospect’s digital footprint before your sales team has their initial contact, which is deeper down the sales funnel than in the past. So, sellers need to be familiar with new tools and adapt their sales approach to meet buyers where they are.

Why is your session important for our audience at Sales Leader Forum?

Digitization of sales is a hot topic across my clients and one that is increasingly important because your revenue goals are at risk if not done well combined with the cost risk of investing in the wrong tools and platforms for your use case. Digital investments have the attention of executive leader their decisions will reverberate down through every sales touchpoint.

Will you be sharing any real-world applications?

In the session, I will be highlighting a Small and Medium Business (SMB) use case application for a large US airline which allowed them to target and win at scale with the SMB segment that was not accessible through existing sales channels (too high cost of coverage for revenue opportunity) and required a streamlined, digital channel (demand center) to unlock this highly valuable segment.

What resources would you recommend?

Check out the ZS HBR article on demand centers. You can also reach out to me to learn more and discuss how a demand center may be able to help your organization!

HSMAI’s Sales Leader Forum is being held in Long Beach, CA on November 8 , 2023. Learn more.


HSMAI is a global organization of sales, marketing, and revenue optimization professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI leads the way in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry. Operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and for the sales, marketing, and revenue optimization disciplines, HSMAI connects its members with customers. Founded in the United States in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization comprising 5,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. HSMAI operates around the globe via regional boards of directors and staff. There are four regions: the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, with a Latin America region under development. Each region has geographic chapters and signature programs and services for association members. HSMAI has a Global board which is made up of delegates from each region. 

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