The hotel industry is a competitive beast, with many different types of hotels vying for customers. Whether you’re the owner of a boutique bed and breakfast tucked away in the countryside or managing a chain of bustling hotels in city centers, the need to boost revenue is a constant. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to improve your sales.
Savvy hotel sales strategies can make your goals easier to achieve. In this article, we’ll look at tips and tricks for boosting revenue in the hospitality industry and how you could go about embarking on an exciting career in hospitality revenue management.
What do hotel sales teams do?
Hotel sales teams act as the public face of the business by connecting guests to accommodation options. They generate revenue in a number of ways, with some of the most common outlined below.
Leisure and corporate business – selling rooms to individual travelers for leisure, vacation or corporate purposes – is a crucial segment of hotel sales. It often involves negotiations with corporations aiming to house employees during conferences, providing enticing package deals for families planning vacations and encouraging direct bookings from hotel guests.
These are long-term arrangements directly negotiated between hotels and corporate entities that require rooms regularly throughout the year for employees or customers. Securing contracts can provide a steady stream of income even during off-peak seasons.
Sales efforts targeting groups such as conference attendees, weddings, parties, sports teams and others fall into the category of group business. These bookings are considered a winner due to the high revenue associated with the meals and amenities they use. Maximizing this segment involves identifying potential clients and effective negotiation skills.
What is the difference between hotel sales and marketing?
To craft effective hotel sales strategies, it’s important to recognise the difference between hotel sales and marketing. Although both are geared towards boosting revenue, they play different roles in hospitality. Despite shared goals, each area has distinct attributes.
Hotel sales mainly involve securing reservations, establishing contracts with corporate entities and forming relationships with individual patrons. A hotel sales team’s main aim is to secure room bookings directly from prospective individuals or organizations. This is achieved through personalized interactions, negotiation skills and a deep understanding of clients’ needs.
The objective of hotel marketing is to raise brand visibility and engage through various channels. This includes digital marketing strategies such as posting on social media platforms and targeted email campaigns. These methods are devised individually for each marketing channel to attract potential guests by showcasing the guest experience. It involves creating imagery that makes people imagine themselves using the hotel’s facilities and services.
While sales is geared towards tapping into existing demand and closing individual accounts, marketing initiatives are aimed at generating fresh interest and drawing potential customers into the initial stages of the sales process. By recognizing the relationship between sales and marketing, hotel managers can craft a comprehensive approach that seamlessly aligns both, ultimately boosting revenue streams.
Whether you want to go into hotel marketing or hotel sales, a good starting point is getting a degree from a well-renowned hospitality school.
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10 Essential hotel sales strategies
If you are developing a plan for hotel revenue growth, you should consider certain sales strategies. These may include creating virtual tours, social media engagement, and leveraging promotions.
1. Create a hotel virtual tour
Consider investing in a well-crafted virtual tour of your property. Many potential customers want to know what they will get before making any booking decisions. Give them a hint through an interactive and engaging online experience. This strategy engages members of your target market who may not have the time or resources to view your hotel in person but want an immersive experience before committing.
2. Be active on social media
From Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn for corporate guests, maintaining an active presence across various social platforms is all but essential. Keep guests informed about events, improvements or even local festivities near your establishment. Remember, consistency is key, since regular posts keep followers engaged and invested in your brand’s story while helping build anticipation for their next visit.
3. Offer promotions and loyalty programs
Promotions are great tools for stimulating sales, particularly during slow periods. Organizing promotions around holiday seasons or during off-peak times can boost revenue. Loyalty programs are also important and have become popular due to their ability to generate repeat bookings. This strategy can improve guest experience by offering a range of rewards during stays or for future reservations.
4. Take seasonality into account
You need to consider the impact of seasonality on consumer behavior and prepare accordingly with tailored offers designed to boost occupancy rates during lean times or capitalize on high-demand periods.
By accounting for internal factors (renovations) and external ones (seasonal trends), you can create optimal pricing structures that drive well-timed sales as well as limit lost income from vacancies.
5. Organize a social media competition
A clever advertising method for hotels in the digital era is social media contests. From photo competitions to giveaways, these can help you reward loyal clientele and attract new followers. Such campaigns generate free publicity and build audience engagement by inspiring followers’ participation as they compete for prizes.
6. Partner up with online travel agencies (OTA)
Having your hotel listed on OTA websites such as Booking.com or Expedia adds visibility and expands reach among internet-savvy travelers who are shopping around. Such tie-ins offer credibility with a trusted instant platform.
7. Offer referral codes to guests
By providing referral codes to your guests, you can motivate them to spread the word about your hotel to friends, family and acquaintances. This approach harnesses the power of word-of-mouth marketing and can turn satisfied guests into brand advocates. When a guest refers someone using their unique code, the referer and the new guest enjoy benefits such as discounted stays, complimentary services or exclusive offers. This strategy can attract new business and reward loyal guests.
8. Ask for reviews and post them on your site
Reviews have a significant impact on the booking decisions of potential guests. Encouraging satisfied customers to share their positive reviews can greatly boost your hotel’s reputation and drive sales. It’s important to actively seek feedback from guests after their stay and make it convenient for them to leave reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor and Google Reviews or on your hotel’s website. Sharing reviews promotes transparency and authenticity, enabling prospective guests to gain insights from real guests. Highlight specific aspects of their stay such as exceptional service, luxurious amenities or memorable experiences to showcase the value your hotel offers.
9. Host an event
By hosting events at your hotel, you can boost your revenue and establish your business as an appealing venue. Whether it’s conferences, seminars, workshops, weddings or themed parties, organizing events that align with the ambiance and target audience of your hotel can attract local residents and visitors from out of town. This presents opportunities for increased room reservations, bookings and catering services. Working with the events manager, you can create unforgettable experiences that have a positive impact on attendees and could result in more bookings.
10. Set clear expectations for your sales team
Effective communication and clear expectations are essential in hospitality. It’s important to clearly define sales targets, goals and key performance indicators for sales teams. You also need to provide them with the necessary tools, training and resources to excel. Create a collaborative and motivated atmosphere by offering regular feedback, recognizing achievements and promptly addressing any challenges that arise. Encourage your sales teams to understand the USPs of your hotel, its amenities and local attractions so they can effectively communicate the value proposition to potential guests. With a unified and knowledgeable sales force, you will be able to improve customer interactions, increase conversions and ultimately drive higher revenue for your hotel.
Skills needed for hotel sales strategies
Hotel sales is a demanding and fast-paced career that requires a variety of skills and abilities. Here are some of the most important hospitality skills needed to work in hotel sales. Most of these are soft skills, which you can use in any sales or hospitality role.
- Communication: Hotel sales professionals need to be excellent communicators, verbally and in writing. This includes effective cross cultural communication. Crucially, they need to be able to clearly and concisely explain the hotel’s features and benefits to potential guests
- Problem solving: You also need to be able to identify and solve problems quickly and efficiently. They may need to deal with reservation issues, cancellations, or other problems that could arise
- Negotiation: It’s important to be able to negotiate effectively with potential guests or corporations so you understand guests’ needs and can agree on fair prices
- Customer service: Hotel sales professionals must be able to provide excellent customer service, anticipating the needs of current and potential clients
- Teamwork: People in hospitality sales often work as part of a team. They need to be able to collaborate effectively with other personnel to achieve common goals
- Technology skills: You will need to be proficient in using technology. They need to be able to use customer relationship management software and other tools to manage sales activities
- Time management: It’s vital to be able to manage time effectively. You will often have multiple tasks to juggle and need to be able to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines
In addition to this, there are other skills that may be helpful in hotel sales, such as:
- Foreign language fluency: being able to speak another language can be a valuable asset and can help you communicate with potential clients from other countries
- Industry knowledge: It’s vital to have a strong understanding of the hotel industry. They need to know about different types of hotels, their features and amenities and the different markets they serve
- Sales experience: previous sales experience can be extremely useful
Most of these skills can be gained from a suitable degree course. If you are considering hotel revenue as a career, then a hospitality degree can help.
If you want to make a mark in the luxury hospitality market, our master’s provides exclusive contacts and professional expertise to move your career forward.
Hotel sales is a competitive field, but with the right strategies, hoteliers can achieve significant success. In this look at hotel marketing strategies, we’ve identified key ways to leverage sales. Hotel sales and marketing share a symbiotic relationship but are distinct from one another and, while both aim to increase the occupancy rate of hotels, sales primarily involves completing deals with customers. In contrast, marketing amplifies the reach of your brand through advertising and digital presence. If you want to learn more about hotel sales strategies and marketing, consider studying for a degree at a renowned hospitality school such as Les Roches.
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