KTN’s hotel sales and catering sales training program is entitled Hotel Sales QUEST. This program first reminds participants that the journey to hotel sales excellence is an ongoing journey and that in sales, we are only as good as the results of our last quarter, month, and week. This program covers an interesting mix of content that reinforces the core fundamentals of hotel sales and that also introduces new sales ideas, tactics and operational strategies.
Participants first explore the history of hotel sales, focusing on how the process has evolved over the years. Whereas in the past most meeting planners researched hotels via guide books such as the Hotel and Travel Index and Meetings and Conventions, most these days start their search online. Historically, planners phoned up three or four hotels to check availability and rates; now most use online tools such as CVENT, Starcite, Lanyon and a host of others to send their RFP to a long list of hotel sales departments. Simultaneously, the use of independent third party meeting planners has emerged. The end result is that many hotel salespeople are experiencing what Doug Kennedy calls “Sales Lead Fatigue,” as each piece of business has become a lead for a dozen or more hotels. This has resulted in what Doug calls the “Vanillaization” of hotel sales responses where there is huge opportunity for those who are enlightened to stand-out from the competition. As Doug says, “If you want to get just as much business as everyone else gets, do the same things everyone else is doing. You will then get your fair market share, and that’s all.”
The workshop then uses the "Hotel Sales Cycle of Service" model to present best practices that will make it easy to stand out from the competition and close more business. These address both the timing of and also the personalization and customization of the responses by using "hi-tech" for "old school relationship building." Examples include doing more than just responding in the online RFP platform (such as also replying by phone and/or email), conducting virtual site tours when prospects cannot stop by in person, and using dynamic new tools such as video email.
For first time clients, Doug Kennedy arrives prior to the training for an introductory consultative meeting. He offers advice about how to better-utilize the hotel’s current sales lead tracking system, whether it is Delpi, Opera, Salesforce, or a more manual process. For clients who are interested, Doug also offers a Sales Process Assessment prior to the training, during which he tracks how leads from the past were acted upon throughout the actual sales cycle. First, he randomly selects 5-8 leads from 90-120 days back. Next, he sits with each sales manager as they research and document their action steps specific to that lead, including calls, email exchanges and responses in various lead platforms. Later, Doug presents a recap report detailing how each salesperson performed in terms of timeliness and personalization.
As with all KTN hotel training workshops, the content is customized for the needs of the client hotel or lodging company based on their market segment, property type, brand or company philosophies, and any unique operational needs.