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Thinking about sales keeps general managers up at night

16 March 2023
There are only two ways to grow revenue in a hotel. The first one is obvious: to bring in guests staying in the hotel. The other is to sell more to each guest by charging more for the room or selling additional products and services. Growing revenue is the sales team's job, with some help from marketing and revenue management. The job is straightforward, but in most hotels, the general manager constantly thinks of how to make the sales team more productive to increase revenue and reach the budget and the long-term goals.

From the general manager's perspective, sales efforts are hard to measure, and there seem to be endless discussions between sales and revenue about pricing. Many general managers must put much time and effort into directing sales and solving conflicts between marketing, sales, and revenue. Isn't there a better way to organize and drive sales in hotels? That is what keeps many general managers up at night.

Challenges in hotel B2B sales

Hotel salespeople may make B2B hotel sales too complex and unnecessarily challenging. There are a few challenges, but they can be easily solved. Let's look at them based on bringing in guests and selling more to each guest.

Bringing in guests

Building relationships: Establishing and maintaining strong relationships with corporate clients, travel agents, and event planners is crucial for B2B sales success in the hotel industry. This requires consistent communication, personalized service, and long-term relationship management. Building relationships is what salespeople are exceptionally good at.
High competition: The hotel industry is highly competitive, with numerous establishments offering similar services. Differentiating your hotel from competitors and demonstrating unique value propositions can be difficult. Yes, this is true, and many hotel salespeople need to sell the same generic hotel rooms as their competitors to their customers. A generic hotel room is a commodity, only about the price—the lowest price wins. The general manager has to develop ideas on how to differentiate the hotel concept, products, and services to make it easier for salespeople to bring in the business.
Navigating procurement processes: Corporate clients often have specific procurement processes and requirements that hotels must navigate, such as submitting RFPs (Requests for Proposal) or adhering to corporate travel policies. The RFP process can be tricky, but it has not changed dramatically in the past decade, so hotel salespeople know how to manage these processes.

Selling more to each guest

Price sensitivity: Hotels often face price pressure from corporate clients with strict budget constraints or seeking the best value for their money. Negotiating rates and providing competitive pricing while maintaining profitability can be challenging. Corporations that make billions of dollars in profit succeed in convincing hotels that they are under financial pressure. Hotel salespeople are the first to acknowledge this as the truth and are willing to lower their rates in exchange for more room nights. The truth is that the hotel industry is fragmented, and therefore it is easy for large buyers to play the game of saying that they got a lower rate at another hotel. After the pandemic, room rates are generally higher, so the corporate customer will have to pay a little more now than before the pandemic.
Meeting diverse needs: B2B clients in the hotel industry have a wide range of conditions, such as accommodations, meeting spaces, catering services, and other amenities. Hotels need to be flexible and adaptable to cater to these diverse requirements. This is not a challenge. The more facilities, products, and services the hotel can offer, the more excellent the opportunity to win the business. A new need is a requirement that the hotel complies with all sorts of sustainability programs.
Follow-up production: Negotiating and signing a contract for future room nights is easy, but following up on the actual production regarding room nights, room revenue, and other revenue is often challenging. Hotel salespeople need to keep nurturing the customer, so the customer produces what was promised in the contract. The challenge is getting high-quality data from the hotel PMS and other systems registering customer sales.

Make B2B sales more productive

The challenges above are not difficult to handle, so the challenge is to get the salespeople to become more productive and produce more results during the workday. Hotel salespeople cannot keep working manually and keep most of the facts in Excel or smartphones. To become more productive, hotel salespeople need a hotel B2B sales CRM specifically developed for jobs in hotel sales. A cloud-based SaaS solution for hotel B2B sales can offer numerous benefits, helping them streamline their sales processes, enhance customer relationships, and ultimately boost revenue. Some of the key benefits include.
  1. Cost-effectiveness: SaaS solutions are typically subscription-based, requiring no upfront investment in hardware or software. This can help hotels save on infrastructure and maintenance costs.
  2. Scalability: SaaS platforms can be easily scaled up or down to accommodate a hotel's changing needs, allowing them to adjust their sales management efforts as their business grows or contracts.
  3. Accessibility: SaaS solutions are cloud-based and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, allowing hotel sales teams to work remotely or on the go.
  4. Real-time data and analytics: SaaS platforms often provide real-time data and insights, which can help hotels make informed decisions about their sales strategies, identify trends, and monitor their sales pipeline.
  5. Integration: Many SaaS solutions can seamlessly integrate with a hotel's existing systems, such as property management systems (PMS) and other hotel systems, creating a unified sales ecosystem.
  6. Automation: SaaS solutions can automate various sales processes, such as lead management, pipeline tracking, and follow-ups, saving time and effort for sales teams.
  7. Improved collaboration: SaaS platforms can foster better communication and cooperation between hotel sales teams by providing a centralized space for sharing information and resources.
  8. Enhanced customer relationships: SaaS tools can help hotels better understand their client's needs, preferences, and behaviors, allowing them to offer more personalized service and build stronger relationships.
  9. Continuous updates and improvements: SaaS providers typically offer regular updates and enhancements to their platforms, ensuring that hotels always have access to the latest features and technology.
  10. Data security: Reputable SaaS providers often implement strict security measures to protect sensitive data, giving hotels peace of mind that their information is secure.
By leveraging all ten benefits, hotels can improve their B2B sales management efforts, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive more significant revenue growth.

Reflections from the general manager's perspective

A hotel salesperson costs a minimum of $50,000 per year. How can the general manager increase the return on investment for each salesperson? One way is to give salespersons the tools and systems that make them more productive. For example, a Hotel B2B Sales CRM, such as the Hotel B2B Sales CRM in Demand Calendar, costs around $2,000 per year per salesperson in a hotel with a sales team of three people. An investment of $2,000 annually to make each salesperson more productive would generate an exceptional return on investment.
In addition, it is also about minimizing the risk of loss of valuable data. The hotel will keep all the valuable data in the Hotel B2B Sales CRM, and the data stays there when the salesperson leaves for another job. A new salesperson can easily continue the work and become productive much faster since all information is readily available.