Group Business for 2014: Old Tricks in a New Environment
making a booking, and when communicating with attendees. Technology has also enhanced the actual meeting experience for both attendees on property as well as off site with live feeds and video streaming, and real time social media feedback. Meeting attendees take notes on tablets and take photographs and videos of presentations with their smart phones, almost eliminating the need for paper and pencils!
enhancements to the entire booking and meeting experience, but does the job end there for hoteliers? This article will address some “old tricks” in a new environment to help hoteliers get a greater share of the group business and ensure satisfaction for repeat business.
Be Your Personal Best:
Experienced athletics use the term “Personal Best” to
This item has been placed at the top of the list, as many times, there can be an attitude ofcomplacency within operations and sales. Budgets are tight so there is a lack of commitment to ensure that meeting rooms and guest rooms are in excellent repair. Or if there is difficulty in attracting staff or if there is staff cutback, then customer service standards are sometimes not maintained to the highest degree of excellence and consistency.
Every property has its market regardless of its position in the marketplace. It is still important whencatering to the group market, to have rooms that are clean and in excellent repair and excellent service provided by the staff. That is the most basic and fundamental requirement. An iPad or free Wi-Fi will not compensate for a substandard guest/meeting experience.
What better competitive advantage is there than friendly and responsive staff and a clean and well-maintained property? A budget property can still maintain high standards in its operations and quality of service with limited budgets and limited staff. Excellent management will produce the Personal Best, regardless of obstacles.
Unfortunately, it is far too common that a hotelier has never been to a
Most meeting planners and clients will still want to “see it, feel it, and
It is the skillful approach by the sales person that will uncover those issues and resolve anyconcerns, before and after the meeting takes place. And it is the smile of the housekeeper who passes the client in the hallway and the compassionate front desk clerk that will generate customer loyalty even when things go wrong. Those personal touches create a bond that is far greater than the texts, emails, and standard RFP could ever generate.
Why wait for a client to post feedback on a social media site or your
Train the Sales Staff:
Lastly, although the sales and marketing landscape has
It is the skilled and professional sales person who will develop loyalty and inspire confidence withclients, despite product deficiencies or outside factors over which the property has no control.
Skills to do the job are required in every area of the hotel. And the sales department is no different.The skilled sales person will develop new business, convert leads to actual business, and produce the highest revenues, regardless of market conditions. How much revenues are left on the table just because the sales person does not possess the product knowledge or great sales skills to sell at a higher rate? It is the most successful sales person who has a good understanding of the hotel as a business. What does a 6:00pm group check out mean to the over-all business? It typically means that expenses are significantly increased to cover the additional labor costs required to clean those rooms due to overtime. Armed with those sets of skills, the sales person is fully prepared to negotiate in the best interest of the hotel while simultaneously ensuring that the client’s needs are fully met. That winning formula will help foster client loyalty and will help minimize any issues that may have come up during the client’s stay.
A few simple steps, combined with a commitment to be your Personal Best are “old tricks “ that havewithstood the test of time. They work in any market and with any type of property, and only require the expertise of great management and expert sales and marketing. It’s never too late to start the process to ensure success for 2014!
About Brenda Fields
Brenda Fields is a strategist and sales and marketing expert
With a "who's who" roster of clients, Brenda has worked with a number of industry leaders andreal estate investment companies including Starwood Lodging Corporation, Vornado Realty Trust and Planet Hollywood, Choice Hotels International, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, Olympus Real Estate Corporation, Pew Charitable Trust Foundation and Apple Core Hotels among others. Her consulting practice for independent properties has included a wide range of clients such as The Kitano Hotel, New York; Woodlands Resort and Inn, Summerville, South Carolina; The American Club, Kohler, WI; Founders Inn and Conference Center in Virginia Beach, VA; The Addison, Boca Raton, FL; Bel Age Hotel, Los Angeles, CA; Mondrian Hotel, West Hollywood, CA; and as well as clients in international locations, i.e. Costa Rica, England, and Germany.
Brenda is a member of the prestigious International Society of Hospitality Consultants; servedon the Americas Board of Directors for HSMAI; is Immediate Past President of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International in NYC; was named one of "The Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing" by HSMAI and the "Leadership Development Award”; is a member of the Editorial Board of HotelExecutive.com; contributes regularly to international publications.
Phone: + 518 789 0117