Who do you need in your commercial team?

12 April 2022
The immediate answer to the question in the headline would be at least a marketing person, a salesperson, and a revenue management person. But it is not that easy. The problem is that no one trained these roles to work together as a team.
Traditionally, sales, marketing, and revenue management operate as separate teams with their own goals, technology tools, and databases. Hotels do not incentivize them in alignment with the hotel's overall vision, so every time they come out from their bubble, there is a conflict with the other roles. Therefore, before including anybody in the commercial team, it is essential to set the rules for the game.

Three simple rules

Almost all human beings have a hard time changing a learned and practiced behavior. Marketing, sales, and revenue do not want to change. Their way of doing things is tested and proven to be the best way. Why should anyone change to something that does not produce the same results? With this attitude towards change, it won't be easy. Therefore these three rules will come in handy.

One common goal

Align the team towards the same goals. None of the team members should have individual goals. If one or some team members have personal goals, you will soon end up in silos again, suboptimization, and fighting between the team members. Get all people in the team to work towards the same goals and share the responsibility for reaching the goals. Hotels should measure customers and the average revenue per customer. Combine these, and you have the total revenue. A secondary goal is to minimize the customer acquisition cost, including distribution, marketing, and expenses for the commercial team. Managing the customer acquisition cost is only relevant when the total revenue is high enough to motivate optimization. If the hotel has availability and as long as the customers are not competing about the availability, there will be no displacement, so take the order.

One system

All team members have to work in the same system with the same data. Different data sets and analytical models will drag each role back to the silos, and the conflicts with the other team members will soon be back. It is excellent if various roles interpret the data differently and draw different conclusions. The differences will create a meaningful discussion. Everyone then will better understand the problem and help find a solution that stands a better chance of success. Working with different data sets and models creates confusion and frustration. Working with the same data set leads to a productive dialog and a better solution that all team members are motivated to execute.

One plan

The team should put together one plan with activities that focus on acquiring customers, B2C and B2B, and increasing the average spend per customer. To create an intelligent plan, the hotel needs all expertise from the three disciplines of marketing, sales, and revenue. One example is to create an attractive offering. Marketing needs to ensure that the offering aligns with the hotel brand and concept, sales contribute with knowledge about the target groups, and revenue finds a competitive rate in the market. The collaboration between these experts will be the key to success.

Leadership

The three rules seem simple, but following the rules requires a solid and persistent leader who can ensure that none of the team members hide in their old silos and start to come up with old data sets and models. It takes an effort to drive the change process for a long time to make the new way of working a good habit to make it very hard to change back to the old way of working.