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How to organize the commercial work in an independent hotel group

18 May 2021
Every independent hotel group is unique because of the type of hotel, size, location, segment mix, and other variables. Therefore, the commercial team will have different roles and locations. With updated job descriptions, modern systems, lean processes, and timely progress reporting, a great team will shorten the recovery time.

The demand for accommodation is slowly returning to destinations around the world. Hotel guests will not come back as quickly as they disappeared when the virus outbreak hit the travel industry. The recovery will take several years and may vary depending on the type of hotel, segment mix, location, feeder markets, and other variables.

Before the pandemic, there were more guests than hotel rooms, so that hotels could charge a premium for dates with high demand. Those dates will be rare for the next couple of years, and they have probably also shifted from weekdays to weekends. Now, hotels need to make an effort to attract and capture guests in fierce competition with other hotels.

To become a winner, hotels need to have more excellent knowledge and get better organized than ever before. A group of 5-10 hotels has the opportunity to create a smooth and well-oiled organization. Even if every hotel group is unique, they need a strong commercial team. Here is an idea of organizing a hotel group with five hotels with total sales of €25 million (Rooms €15 million, Meetings €5 million, and F&B €5 million)

Hire the Commercial Manager

The most important position to run all the commercial activities in a small hotel group is the Commercial Manager. This position reports directly to the CEO of the hotel group and has full responsibility for all commercial actions in the hotel group. The commitment is the top-line or total revenue in the hotel group. The Commercial Manager is a crucial position, and therefore, every hotel group needs an A-level talent in this position.

Find the team members

The hotel group hires you as the Commercial Manager. The first mission is to set up the commercial team. Which functions should be placed centrally respectively at the hotels? The tasks that would benefit from coordination, specialist knowledge, and not specific for a hotel will benefit from being centralized as long as open communication with each hotel is possible. Marketing, attracting consumers, with responsibility for campaigns will therefore be in the centralized commercial team. Sales, responsible for contracting, will also coordinate B2B sales from a central location. The hotel with the most extensive meeting facilities needs a dedicated salesperson based at the hotel to work closely with in-house sales. One revenue manager will manage revenue for two hotels located in the same city. The other revenue manager, centrally-located, will be responsible for the other three hotels and the overall distribution setup.

The team will have six team members.

  • Commercial Manager (head of the team)
  • One marketing (central)
  • Two sales (one centrally and one locally)
  • Two revenue (one local cluster and one centrally)

Make the team productive

The next step is to define each job in a job description, set up systems, processes, meetings, and reporting to make the commercial team as productive as possible. It is much easier if all hotels use identical PMS, accounting, and commercial systems. With the same technology in all hotels, the company will save time, frustration, and energy to spend on more productive tasks.

Create the recovery plan

The final step is to work with the team and top management to create a recovery strategy to recover faster. The plan has objectives, activities, and KPIs to track the progress. The commercial team share this plan with all stakeholders within the hotel group to engage and align everyone towards the same goals.

For more ideas, download the white paper "Create a High-Performance Commercial Team."

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