Do you have a well-functioning commercial team?

25 June 2019
Do you have a commercial team at your hotel? Do you know how you create a commercial team that is well-functioning? It is of utmost importance to create a well-functional commercial team through common goals in order to maximize the collaboration to increase and maximize the revenue.

Teamwork instead of working in silos

If you do not have a well-functioning team, one works in silos and risk having contra productive goals for the different departments and roles at the hotel. One function does not know what the other is doing and maybe they don’t even share the same goal or way of looking at how to reach the goal. That means a waste of time and resources, but also that one does not get as much output as possible of the time spent by different key functions in their attempt to maximize the revenue. There can also be a situation when one department is offering the rooms to cheap as they are not fully in line with the guidelines and policies which is decided by the revenue management, which leads to diversion from decided strategies. This can indirectly be harmful to the trademark of the hotel when the staff is taking non coherent decisions and not communicating in a consistent way towards the customers. The potential loss of not working in commercial teams is big. The biggest loss is for sure that one cannot maximize the revenue as would have been the case if having had a united view on how to reach the goals and working systematically towards the goals in a team.

Thus, how to proceed in order to create a well-functioning commercial team? I was listening to our expert in revenue management, Ognjen Lauseger, when he was holding a speech about how to create a well-functioning commercial team out of common goal. He gave many hands-on advices regarding how to act and work to be successful.

Define the goals together

Primarily, it is important to define the goals together and to communicate them internally. To start with, everyone has to define the goals together, that is most important in order to succeed. Additionally, one has to break down the goals so that it is very clear to all the departments and people working at the hotel what the goals are. It is also as important to communicate the goals to all of the team.

Responsibilities and roles

Then one has to decide who is accountable for what and clearly define the different roles, i.e. who is doing what. And not least, it is important to communicate the responsibilities. What is revenue management and market- and sales responsible for? Who does what?

Activities to reach the goals

The third step is to decide about activities which has to be done. One simply has to agree about what has to be done to reach the goals.

The value of structured meetings

The fourth step in order to be successful is to agree upon which input is needed, and from who, regarding every activity decided upon. It is about deciding which meetings to have and – not the least – have a clear meeting structure and agenda for all the meetings. One should never enter into a meeting without previously having decided a clear purpose of the meeting, i.e. knowing what should be decided at the meeting. Meetings without agenda and structure are often contra productive and a waste of time. No meetings should be held only to have a meeting without a clear goal of the meeting itself. This is the case regardless if it is a status meeting to discuss forecasts, if it is a knowledge meeting in order to draw conclusions from the previous months result or if it is an activity meeting to plan activities.

Different types of meetings

This leads us to the different types of meetings which one needs to have with the commercial team in order for the team to be well-functioning and have a good and continuing dialogue and consensus.

Status meetings

A status meeting is aiming to reach a consensus and to give everyone in the team input to the forecasting work. Revenue management does not work at its best when working in silos. Thus, the value of having a consensus and continuously working together towards a common goal in the daily business could not be emphasized enough. It could also be the case that one wants to discuss sales and pricing for the upcoming weeks. These meetings are important to make sure that market- and sales should be able to give revenue management continuous information and input about what their opinions are. You will need to have documents for such a meeting which indicates the hotels forecast and room forecast so everyone is having the same information and figures when discussing.

Knowledge meetings

A knowledge meeting intends to be a possibility to draw conclusions from last month’s result. You need to analyze the result and get an evaluation over how the result was compared to the last year but also in relation to the Comp Set. Only by using information to be able to analyze last month’s result and by evaluating the activities that has been conducted, you can learn lessons from what was less wise decisions and what you maybe should do more of in the future. You can analyze different segments in order to evaluate the result and try finding reasons to potential revenue reduction. Is there a corporate agreement which has not delivered as expected? Or are there groups which has cancelled their bookings? There is a lot to learn from going through the information about last month’s result together in order to see what your hotel could have been done better or differently.

Activity meetings

Activity meetings aims for two different things: to be retrospective – to analyze and evaluate reasons to diversions from activities planned output - and to be looking ahead – to plan and revise activities and not the least to unite in a common future objective. You should, among other things, have a revision of the “pick-up” and “on the books” to have something to work on.

Once again, all meetings are aiming at everyone, and then we really mean everyone, should be participating and contribute to sharpen the organization’s common and including work towards the common objective.

Strategy meetings

Finally, you should have strategy meetings to revise the strategy and guidelines all together. By using the learnings and conclusions having been drawn during the knowledge- and activities meetings, you can sharpen your strategy and maybe even change it if needed. That could be regarding the “Business strategy”, “Rates strategy” as well as “Contracted Corporate strategy” which could be needing a change in order to be able to reach the goals set.

Taking the right future decisions through increased understanding and common view

All these meetings have one purpose – increased understanding and information about the result and how come you have not achieved the planned result. You look at the market and how it has delivered and compare with your own RevPAR. Most important is to identify why the hotel has not delivered as planned, that is if the market itself is unchanged. After that you can dig further into and identify the changes which have led to the lacking result and above all, dig deeper into and try finding out the reason to the change.

Only by working together analyzing and changing the way you work; you can make a change in the future. A bad result is fact and something one could not change afterwards. However, regarding future results you have all the chances in the world to change them for the better by taking the right decisions and improve result. Not least one cannot emphasize enough that everyone is on the same page and have a common understanding regarding everything from goals, strategies and activities which is conducted. With more information and analyze which leads to conclusions and a common understanding about what you can improve, you can take the right decisions which maximizes the revenue and therefore also the profit. By working together in a structured and systematic way in a well-functioning commercial team that is fully possible, if not even easy.

How do you work in your hotel? Does your hotel have a well-functioning commercial team? If not, it is definitely about time to create that. Because would not it be a shame not to take that chance to maximize the time you all use working towards the same goal?

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