With technology innovations and younger generations moving into the workforce, HSMAI members shared their strategies for evolving hotel sales tactics and spoke on video about adapting and planning for change in 2020.
DALLAS—Cold calling doesn’t work for all sales people and customers, but a deal also can’t be done via text, which is why finding a good balance of tech and in-person communication is key for sales and marketing professionals.
During a recent think tank held in conjunction with the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Sales Leader Forum near Dallas, Jeff Weggeman, SVP of sales, marketing and e-commerce at Pyramid Hotel Group, said some sales processes are moving online, but sales and marketing professionals also need to realize the power of personal interaction with clients.
A sales expert might have 10 new leads and should call up those 10 customers, even if there’s only a response from three of them, he said.
“From there, you can begin the sales cycle. From there, you can develop a relationship. Then you can sell your unique selling platform and maybe close the piece of business,” he said, adding that it’s important to have those personal interactions and not become used to relying on technology.
Allison Handy, SVP of sales, marketing and revenue optimization at Prism Hotels & Resorts, agreed with Weggeman’s point, but added that sales experts need to sell to customers the way they want to be sold to.
She shared an example of leaving seven messages for a client and not getting one call back, but getting an immediate response once she emailed the client.
“You go to trade shows and see millennials looking down at their phones all the time, but if a customer is also looking down at their phone all the time and not comfortable having the one-to-one conversation, we do have to be conscious (of that),” she said.
Working with younger generations
Younger generations might prefer email over a call when it comes to a sale, but Weggeman said they are all about experiences, and customer and industry events are good places for them to make in-person connections.
If in-person interactions aren’t the preferred sales method for younger sellers, Cory Chambers, SVP and chief revenue officer at Hospitality Ventures Management Group, said that might not be a problem.
Currently, sales can’t be made via text and happens through some form of personal connection. Most of the time, the sellers completing large transactions are not ones who are fresh out of college, he said.
Looking to 2020
At the close of the think tank, speakers were asked to describe what 2020 will look like in a few words.
- Chris Kenney, SVP of sales and marketing: CoralTree Hospitality: Market-by-market
- Lori Kiel, chief revenue and marketing officer, Kessler Collection: Unpredictable
- LaDonna Gerhart, EVP of sales and marketing, Remington Hotels: Acceptable
- Lovell Casiero, SVP of sales and marketing, PM Hotel Group: Strategy
- Mike Grippo, VP of sales and marketing, Interstate Hotels & Resorts: Challenging
- Jill Farley, regional director of sales and marketing, First Hospitality: Productive
- Weggeman: Cautiously optimistic
- Handy: Hustle
- Chambers: Solid
Watch the video below to hear what attendees at the HSMAI Sales Leader Forum had to say about changes they expect to see in their business in 2020 and how they are preparing now.