Everyone's a Salesperson! Expand Your Hotel Sales Team with Evangelism Marketing

By Andrew Freeman President, Andrew Freeman & Company | May 19, 2010

Hallelujah. Feel the love and spread the word. And change your philosophy towards sales.

Your sales team can target an increasing number of potential outlets to book business and fill your hotel nowadays. New sales opportunities, like online advertising and third-party e-channels, are as viable a source of business as traditional targets, like print advertising and corporate travel planners. However, this increasing number of potential outlets also means stretching your sales team's limited resources over a greater area. Trying to develop relationships in all of these target markets can be overwhelming, if not impossible, for any hotel sales effort.

So it's time to take a creative look at how you can extend your sales and marketing team without increasing the number of people with "sales" on their business cards or making your sales budget balloon with added expenses. Sometimes known as "evangelism marketing" or "advocacy marketing," the goal is to turn everyone who comes into contact with your hotel into a salesperson. When you have people excited about their experience or interaction with your hotel and your brand, the power of their endorsement and recommendation is stronger, greater and farther-reaching than if you were to spend your entire marketing budget on paid advertising or any other sales promotion available to you. Remember, "they tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on and so on." This is evangelism marketing and it is the most powerful method of marketing you have.

Before turning guests, employees, vendors and others into evangelists for your hotel, there are two things you must do: The first is that you must be an evangelist yourself and believe your hotel is in fact everything it claims to be. If you're not passionate about your product, why should anyone else be? The second thing to do is to confirm that your foundation is solid and your concept is clear. Make sure the amenities and services of your hotel are up-to-date, relevant to who you are, and firmly in place. Be certain that your programs and other features are interesting enough to appeal to the different groups of people who come in contact with your hotel. Think of the power the buzz factor holds in building your business as you review all these elements.

Evangelism marketing can be applied to everyone because everyone fits. The most immediate opportunity to turn people into evangelists comes from your repeat guests. Since it's also their reputation on the line when making suggestions, people will only freely refer something if they believe it is the best. Those loyal guests who come back time and time again believe your hotel is the best for them, so treating them well and acknowledging their loyalty - which is your typical interaction to begin with - provides them the easy opportunity to willingly offer word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals.

Other possibilities to extend your sales team include everyone else who comes in contact with your hotel:

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Rob Rush
Victor P. Haley
Jerry Schmits
Allison Ferguson
Joy Rothschild
Steve McKee
Mike Handelsman
Jeff Guaracino
Simon Hudson
Michael Boult
Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.