Industry Update
Opinion Article25 November 2020

How hotel sales teams can do more with less during times of change

By Ryan Hamilton, Co-Founder, SalesAndCatering.com and Bluebuzzard Technology Group

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Few have felt the impacts of COVID-19 more than the hotel industry. Fortunately, however, recovery seems to be on the horizon. Recently, U.S. hotel weekly occupancy hit 50% for the second time since the pandemic's low point, according to STR's latest data.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic implications aren't merely economic or financial — they're also social. Over the last six months, hoteliers have had to look beyond the obvious business and financial challenges brought on by the pandemic to recognize the impact the uncertainty has on the people who drive the organization. Those employees who have remained steadfast in their roles now enter the workplace with heightened responsibilities and, in many cases, limited resources. And at the helm of the ship, we have the sales team who, in the coming months, will be tested more than ever before.

With this in mind, hoteliers are encouraged to look at their technology through a new lens. How can you better leverage available platforms to do the heavy lifting for sales professionals and, in turn, allow them to focus on other tasks that help to drive revenue? To maintain forward momentum on a path to recovery, hoteliers need to empower their sales staff with tools and platforms that, quite simply, allow them to do more with less.

The problem

Building efficiencies into hotel sales managers' daily work lives starts with the technology and software they are using. Unfortunately, not having the proper tools needed to succeed contributes to an inefficient work environment and frustrations. These challenges include:

  • Outdated software
  • Over-engineered software
  • Systems with limited functionality
  • A newly introduced system that is still in their infancy stage
  • No software at all
  • Software no one likes to use

Having the wrong system, or no system, in place, can be the enemy of staff productivity. And although this isn't a new observation, it bears repeating as hotels brace to 'return to business' with a smaller staff, heightened guest expectations, and a longer list of safety protocols to adhere to.

Perhaps one of the most actionable things leadership can do is to ask: "How can we change things around here to help you be more effective?

The solution

Today, and in the coming months, hotel sales teams will require access to technology to enhance automation effectively, streamline workflows, intuitively organize tasks, identify data trends, and communicate seamlessly to maintain strong guest relationships. While recognizing that budgets are limited, and there is a lesser scope for spending for most hoteliers, a case can still be made around the benefits of investing in new technology or replacing less cost-effective systems.

From a sales and catering perspective, hoteliers should seek out an easy to use, easy to implement, cloud-based platform that enables their sales team to centralize and automate processes. The benefits of automation could be seen straight away and can significantly lift the burden on sales managers, many of whom are spending too much time on manual tasks. A mundane and inefficient layer of work would be replaced with speed and innovative technology to help staff proactively respond to leads, manage accounts, drive conversions, and facilitate exceptional relationships with event planners. It also helps over-burdened teams manage their diverse needs at a time when resources are stretched thin, yet demands continue to come in.

Utilizing technology can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profits — which is especially pivotal. We look to events and small meetings in a post-COVID era to represent a significant revenue stream for hotels and venue spaces over the next year. And when it comes to hotel sales managers, building efficiencies into their daily work lives starts with giving them the support they need to succeed. After all, staff confidence and team morale are, arguably, more important now than ever before.

So, hoteliers, ask yourself — are you setting your sales team up for success in 2021 and beyond?

Ryan Hamilton

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