How To Train Your Guest Service Staff To Turn Every Conversation Into A Sales & Marketing Opportunity — Source: Kennedy Training Network (KTN)

Register your team and participate live, or view the recording, of Doug Kennedy’s next 40-minute training webcast scheduled for Monday, July 22, from Noon – 12:45pm EST. REGISTER HERE

As tech solutions continue to replace “touch points” in the guest’s “cycle of service,” each remaining “conversation” becomes ever more important, especially since guests are more likely to reach out to our humans either when things go wrong, or when they have a special request or need.

With so many guests booking online, often through third parties, with an ever-increasing number using self-check-in, and with the use of texting platforms for in-house guests, any remaining human interaction might be the one and only chance to put a ‘face’ on your brand. It’s come down to random encounters in a corridor, walkway, or elevator that create heartfelt connections that foster guest loyalty. KTN President Doug Kennedy

This webcast covers:

  • How to turn inbound emails, chat messages with “quick questions,” and in-app message exchanges on OTA’s into opportunities to convert a new booking, cross-sell, or upsell.
  • Maintenance techs and housekeeping inspectors may be the face of your company and in the best position to encourage a positive guest review of social media posts, especially for guests who check-in via an app or keyless entry.
  • These days, it is often the random encounter in a corridor, walkway, or elevator that creates the best opportunity to humanize your brand.
  • It’s everyone’s job to “know the product,” which is of course the overall experience, not the room, suite, or vacation home. Answering questions is good, but proactively offering “local insider’s tips” is a true gesture of hospitality.
  • It’s the “people parts” that make the difference to guests. So, in that sense, everybody sells!

Everyone who registers receives a link to the recording, even if they cannot attend. The 40-minute format is perfect for “lunch and learns” or excerpts can be shared at staff meetings. The target audience is anyone who is interested in upskilling themselves or others, and the topic areas are broad enough to be relevant for all sectors of the lodging industry.

We are grateful to the generosity of our sponsors who have allowed us to offer complimentary admission, said Kennedy. It takes a lot of time to design, promote, and deliver these events, and so we would normally charge at least $99 registration per person, but this series is now completely free to all.

Sponsors include: Travel Outlook, the only KTN Certified call center, Better Talent, a subscription-based talent acquisition company serving the lodging sector, and Track Hospitality Software, a TravelNet Solution, whose products include a PMS and CRM.

Complimentary registration can be accessed at Here are the dates for the additional topics scheduled so far.

Hotel Sales Habitudes For Booking More Groups, Conferences, and Events

Friday, August 16 (Noon EDT)


Today’s hotel and event salespeople work in completely different environments than most of their leaders experienced. Meeting planning and event booking sites have created a flood of leads, which can be overwhelming for salespeople working within a sales role still designed for the era when most leads came in by phone or website inquiry forms. When revenues drop, salespeople are required to meet prospecting quotas, based on a set number of calls, sent emails, or door knocks. Yet those calls go to voicemail, emails go to spam, and the office doors are either locked, or if open, there's no one at the receptionist station. Self-serving “thought leaders” are pushing RFP automation and AI-powered prospecting, both of which lead to generic, spammy-feeling sales correspondence. If these challenges sound familiar, join us as Doug shares actionable, real-world training habits and mind-shifting attitudes for booking more business.

  • When Product, Price, and Place are all essentially the same, which they are these days, it’s the People that make the difference. As a salesperson, YOU are your hotel’s superpower.
  • Embrace your CRM and make it work for you. It’s the only way to follow-up in a way that is both tenacious and personalized.
  • Sort and prioritize incoming leads. Craft more authentic, thoughtful responses to the hottest leads.
  • Yet respond to all leads. This will require you to think creatively to get the help you need, and it may be outside of your “silo” of the hotel sales department.
  • Use a “tech for touch” approach. Embrace tech solutions, but use them in ways that keep the human touch in hotel sales.
  • Sure, subscription-based tools like Knowland and ZoomInfo can help, but you already own the best sources for contacts to prospect; previous clients and prospects, including those who did not book with you the first time.
  • How to build the habit of prospecting into your daily sales routine, versus training to “find” that time when you can make all those cold calls.

How To Turn Inbound Reservations Calls Into Outbound Direct Sales Opportunities

Friday, September 20 (Noon EDT)


Most marketing and distribution leaders tend to think the role of reservations agents is to field inbound calls, answer questions, and close bookings. Yet when you look at the phone logs at resorts and vacation rental companies, many - and perhaps most - guests call multiple times prior to booking. The longer the stay, the higher the rates, the larger the party, the more accommodation types to consider, and most importantly, the more emotionally invested the guest is in their travel planning, the more likely it is that several conversations will be required to get a caller across the finish line. This webcast covers:

  • Reasons why guests may not be ready to book during their first call.
  • The importance of using a tracking system to organize call notes and trace leads on follow-up task lists.
  • Advantages of using a reservations CRM, but also how to get in the game right now by making your own form in Excel or Sheets.
  • How to help callers narrow down their options during conversations, rather than emailing a long list of all available accommodations that will leave them feeling overwhelmed.
  • How to ask for their email address and phone number in a way that ensures they provide it!
  • Sample dialogue and verbiage to use to personalize follow-up email templates.
  • How to follow-up tenaciously without seeming pushy and annoying.
  • Sample phrasing for personalizing your follow-up calls and emails.

Get Your Guest Services Staff Onboard The Tricycle of Guest Service Excellence!

Monday, October 21 (Noon EDT)


As anyone who has ever attended a convention or a class knows, speakers, professors, and hospitality trainers use tangible, physical objects to represent intangible concepts. The KTN training team uses a tricycle as a model to represent the components that must work together for a guest to have an overall excellent stay.

Join in as Doug Kennedy explains how a tricycle is the perfect model. For one, it has three wheels, just like the three components of a memorable guest stay. The back wheels represent “Technology and Systems” and a quality “Physical Product,” while the front wheel, which is the largest and leads the way, represents guest hospitality, which can only be delivered by way of human interactions.

  • Regardless of what “wheel” the work you do is represented by, each must roll together in harmony for a guest to have a good experience.
  • Guest services jobs require everyone to have a key role in keeping all three “wheels” rolling!
  • The “product” wheel is certainly essential. Guest satisfaction starts with a clean, updated, well-maintained accommodation. Being attentive to housekeeping and maintenance is everyone’s job.
  • The “systems” wheel is also important. No guest will be happy if we don’t operate efficiently. Everyone has a role in offering suggestions and ideas to evolve our processes.
  • Yet it’s the front wheel, representing hospitality experiences, that is the largest and which leads the way. It’s this wheel that truly helps your lodging experiences stand out in the minds of guests, creating loyalty, encouraging word-of-mouth advertising and favorable social media posts.
  • In the end, it’s humans like us who sit down, grab the handlebars, and start pumping those pedals in order to drive excellent guest experiences daily!

For additional details, contact KTN at [email protected] or by phone (01) 954.533.9130

*Sponsored By Travel Outlook, Better Talent, and Track Hospitality Software.

About Kennedy Training Network Inc.

KTN is the lodging and hospitality industry's best source for hotel training programs and supportive services in topic areas of hotel sales, catering/event sales, hotel reservations sales, and hospitality & guest service excellence. KTN President Doug Kennedy has been a fixture on the lodging and tourism conference speaking circuit for decades. Hoteliers worldwide read his monthly hotel, tourism and hospitality industry sales training articles in this publication and elsewhere. Visit or call (01) 954-533-9130.

Doug Kennedy
Kennedy Training Network (KTN)