The New Role of Today's Hotel Salesperson
By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | February 2018
We know the phones seem to ring less and we seem to get more RFP requests, that it's a little harder to get a response from cold calls and some people seem to spend a lot more time on LinkedIn, but fundamentally, what has changed and should it really matter to hotel salespeople?
Sometime in the 90's, if you were working in the DC hotel market, you knew that one person controlled about 30,000 room nights for the World Bank and one other person controlled about 20,000 room nights coming into the same market for Boeing. If you got to know those two individuals, meeting your sales quotas would get a lot easier. The key back then was to somehow develop a great relationship with the key decision makers and the room nights would follow.
Today, not so much. In fact, for a typical corporate purchase, there are now on average 6.8 people involved with the purchasing decision. Often the purchase may be as small as $25,000, and there are still almost seven people with some say in the matter. That's a big change.
Even in the early 2000's, when someone was charged with planning a meeting their first response was to pick up a phone and call a hotel salesperson. They had no choice, where else could they find out information?
Today, again, not so much. Now buyers do not involve salespeople until between 65-80% of the decision-making process is complete. They are doing their research without us! They can collect information, and plenty of it, without a single bit of advice from a salesperson.
It seems obvious that we need to figure out a way to insert ourselves into the process earlier – because if we don't, chances are good they may never invite us in. They may be bringing in your competitor for that last stretch.