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:

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.