The General Manager is key to getting new salespeople onboard

18 November 2021
Experienced hotel salespersons have left the industry during the pandemic and are now very difficult to find. As a result, hotels have no other option than to hire young people and train them to become great in sales. The General Manager has a crucial role in training and coaching the new young generation to become passionate about the hospitality industry.
The recovery is on its way, and to fully recover, every hotel needs salespeople to bring in more revenue in heavy competition with other hotels. The hotel best organized for sales with well-developed workflows and salespersons will win over the competition. All General Managers responsible for delivering a profit should make an effort to rebuild a solid sales function in their hotels.
 
The main job for hotel sales is to sign contracts with corporations, travel agents, tour operators, and others for future room nights and bring in ad-hoc deals such as MICE and groups.

Demand is coming back

Start by analyzing the future demand for the business segment. Recent forecasts from GBTA show a steady recovery over the following years to a full recovery in 2024. However, even if the business volumes are not the same as 2019 for a few years, hotels need to nurture customers to still be in the game.
 
Next is to analyze future demand for the contracted leisure segment. This segment will return faster and likely soon surpass 2019 levels. The need for leisure travel is strong after people have been spending almost two years at home. People have also saved a lot of money and are ready to pay. International leisure group business might take a bit longer to recover, but nurturing operators and agents is vital to stay in the game when volumes are coming back.
 
The conclusion is that the slower recovery of business segments and a quicker recovery of leisure segments means that hotels need salespeople to stay competitive in the market.

Rebuild hotel sales

Many hotels had to let their salespeople go since there was no revenue at all for some months. Therefore, the General Manager needs to recruit new salespersons, train them, coach them, and make them productive. It is challenging to find skilled and experienced salespeople, so many hotels will need to recruit young and less experienced people. To become effective, a person starting a career in hotel sales needs more training, coaching, and a solid structure with well-designed workflows. A young person also expects easy-to-use tools readily accessible in the smartphone. The General Manager needs to manage these five things to help the newly hired salesperson to succeed.
 
  1. Define the most critical workflows for sales, such as the contracting process.
  2. Train the new salesperson in how to follow the process.
  3. Set goals for the salesperson, such as the number of activities and room night production.
  4. Provide the right easy-to-use tools to keep track of the progress. For example, every hotel needs a good Sales CRM to drive sales to bring in more revenue.
  5. Coach the salesperson (a person new to the industry probably needs a lot of coaching) to reach the goals.
 
Working with young inexperienced people is new to the General Manager. Before the pandemic, sales just worked as a clock without any interference by the General Manager. Now, the General Manager is the key to rebuilding the sales capacity, skills, and knowledge in the hotel. So it is a different story.