Direct Sales: What to expect from your sales people and how to get results

By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | May 19, 2010

Case in point: Direct Sales typically represents 40-50% of the entire marketing expense budget. As a result, with up to 50% of the marketing budget devoted to this one line item, it is critical to ensure that each sales person is effective and productive in achieving short term results and in laying the foundation for success in the long term.

Out of all the elements of the marketing plan, Direct Sales is the most controllable and quantifiable element. In order to achieve maximum production, it is critical to:

Success in today's market is accomplished by a different game plan than when demand was at its peak. Therefore, in order to ensure effectiveness, it is useful to start with several key concepts:

Sales is a SKILL, not a personality trait

How many times have we hired personable and attractive people only to find out that they are not effective in booking business? We discover that tentative bookings rarely become definites and that any client complaint can send the sales person over the moon!

Skills are required in any other profession and in any other department in the hotel in order to perform the job. Many times, we look to hire a sales person with a "rolodex" without considering his/her ability to sell, i.e., identifying business for the property and moving that business from another hotel. Client contacts can quickly come and go, resulting in an obsolete rolodex, but effective sales skills will result in constant business and on-going client relationships.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.