The way forward for hotel B2B sales - salespeople on demand

11 January 2022
Hotel sales teams had become too large and did not work proactively before the pandemic. This approach does not work anymore. Reactive hotel sales teams will have difficulty winning customers in heavy competition with proactive hotel sales teams. Today, hotels require a higher skill set than before to focus on hunting and data-driven sales.

From reactive to proactive sales

Many hotel companies now have fewer salespeople in their sales teams than before the pandemic. Because the teams will likely stay smaller for the next couple of years, sales teams need to be equipped with systems and tools to make them more productive.
 
The keyword for the recovery is proactive. Hotels need to develop short-term and long-term strategies to capture the business available right now and prepare for an upturn later this year or next year. Sales reps on demand might be a way forward to find the right target markets.

Data-driven sales

Data-driven seems overwhelming, complex, or even a bit scary for salespeople. It is not about becoming data scientists instead of salespersons. It is as simple as having the correct data about the customer account to have a meaningful discussion about the need for hotel rooms and other products and services in the future. Building a trusting relationship with the customer is more challenging without the correct data.

Use the available data

Data-driven also means that by using available data in the hotel PMS, a salesperson will find prospects or existing customers to strengthen the relationship between the hotel and the customer. Prospecting is part of being proactive and will be a more significant part of the sales job during the recovery. Another aspect of prospecting is to target the right customers for the hotel. Going after potential customers who are not a good fit for the hotel wastes time and personnel resources that hotels cannot spare.

360-degree views

Before the pandemic, it was good enough to know how many room nights and how much room revenue each customer produced. Today, hotels need more granular information about customers' purchases, such as room, rate, and other products and services. Hotels also need to understand customer behavior, such as booking windows, cancellations, and stay patterns. Finally, hotels need to know the customer better, such as where they come from, preferred room type, and market segment. A complete 360-degree view of each customer will build a tighter relationship and drive more business to the hotel from every customer.

Historical data still relevant

Historical data is by no means irrelevant in B2B sales. On the contrary, sales teams need the data to set a baseline to understand the business potential for the coming years. In the case of MICE, historical data is even more valuable now when hotel teams have to reconnect to the current or previous customers for prospecting.

Systems must be easy to use

Finally, even if everyone in the sales team has access to the data, often in the hotel PMS, all salespeople must know how to maximize the use of data. For most hotels, the PMS cannot provide all the data or easy access to data, so hotels need to implement other systems and tools to make the sales job more productive. In addition, the turnover of salespeople is high in the industry, so even if systems are easy to learn and use, hotel salespeople need proper training to maximize the use of technology.

Rebuild the sales team

It is time for hotels to rebuild the sales team to be prepared for the group, MICE, and corporate travel to return, even if the numbers will need a few years to return to pre-covid levels. If hotels wait too long to change from reactive to proactive selling, other hotels will win the business, and it might be too late to rebuild strong customer relationships. If it is difficult to find salespeople, try to find salespeople on demand so there is at least someone creating demand for the hotel.