Building a Guest-Centered Sales Culture

By Mike Paton Senior Vice President, Signature Worldwide | June 15, 2010

To capture a bigger share of the market, your employees must focus on delivering more bang for the buck than your competition. Otherwise, guests decide where to stay primarily based on price and location. And that means you're nothing more than a commodity to most of your customers.

Hotels with a guest-centered sales culture outperform competitors by building more value into every guest interaction. When your sales and service team is dedicated to providing a special experience for each traveler, you create preference and loyalty with your guests. And that helps you fill your hotel at a higher rate.

Sounds simple, right?

Anyone who's tried to build and maintain a sales culture knows it's not easy. But in working with more than 5,000 companies since 1986, we've found that it can be done by following three basic steps:

Use the Right Glossary

The biggest obstacle to getting your associates focused on selling is emotion. Many employees so dislike the idea of selling that they actively avoid it. You can help your team overcome that fear with a better definition of the task.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.