How to Market Your Hotel in 5 Hours a Week.
Liz Beneski ~ President & CEO InnCredible Hospitality Inc
Monday, 3rd November 2003
You can afford five hours a week, right? That's one hour a day- or maybe a couple of hours one day, and a few the next.

Bottomline is, you can find five hours a week. Now, if you made just one sales call in each of those hours, you'd make 5 sales calls a week- 20 a month- 260 a year.

And if just half of those sales calls resulted in bookings, let's say 5 rooms at an ADR of $60, you'd have found $42,225. Do I have your attention yet?

Make an action plan & commit to it. It is as important as making a daily deposit or locking all the doors. DON'T EXPECT RESULTS IN SHORT TERM. NO PAYOFF GTD IN FIRST MONTHS. COMMIT TO LONG HAUL- YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN

  • The days of if you build it, they will come are over. There are no brand guarantees
  • Know your market before you start. Do SWOT, shop comp set, assess own property
  • Shop all rates- CRS, Internet, and direct. Check positioning
  • Focus on value and benefits- not price. Sell solutions, not differences
  • Be customer focused at all times- and sell that as a feature and benefit
  • Identify targets and forget segments you cannot service. Don't try to be everything to everyone
  • Embrace CRM- people buy from people they trust and like personally
  • Decisions are made on emotion, not price
  • Sell YOU- and strengthen CRM.
You must strengthen the relationships with your current customers, repair the ones with your past customers, and earn them with your potential guests. Let's talk about how you can do this. I am going to give you some ideas, and you should consider how you can use these to achieve your own hotel's goals.

Most importantly, lay them out on an action plan. People do what they have bothered to write down on paper. It may seem like a lot, but if you do a bit at a time, you will see how effective you can be.

So here are some action plan ideas:

Start with your current clients. Make contact your current clients. Don't just call them when business is slow or when you are increasing the rate- call them regularly. A good rule of thumb is every quarter. Bring them a small gift-take them to lunch- remember to send them a birthday card, Christmas card, etc.

Always call to say thanks for the business first, and then ask what can you provide to meet their current and future needs? Remember- this is customer focused selling- it's their wants and needs that must be met- not the hotels.

After you've built (or rebuilt) a good rapport with your current customers, work the corporate hierarchy within their companies. Contact the main office of the client, and make a call to the purchasing agent, human resources department, and accounting department.

You should commit to calling at least one new contact in an existing client's hierarchy once a week. You likely will find that departments within large companies rarely communicate- and you can use your goodwill with your existing client to earn new business

Look at your past clients. Find out why they aren't using you anymore. If they have a complaint, they will tell you. Apologize and ask directly how you can make amends. This is no time for pride. The guest is always right. It could be that their needs have changed- can you fulfill them? Or, worse, did they simply get wooed away by a competitor?

Remember, your past clients already know your hotel. If they simply have forgotten you, you can build on the previous goodwill. It's much easier to sell to people who already know you than to sell to the unknown!

Join your local Chamber of Commerce and CVB- and get active. I cannot emphasize how important this is! People buy from people they know and like. You don't know how many weddings, soccer tournaments, and business referrals you can cultivate from getting to know your fellow members.

When you initially start attending meetings, hand out your business card and introduce yourself- but DON'T be a salesperson. Work more on the relationships- they will value that more. Then, after you've known them awhile, go ahead and ask them for referrals- sneak it into a "times are tough" conversation- they will value your relationship and they will know someone who needs something somewhere- or at least refer you when asked.

Make sure you have current flyers at your local and state visitor centers. Make sure they are bright, simple, and catchy. Get to know the staff. People stop at these centers for referrals- and people who know you, recommend you.

Make sure your brochure is current, and attractive. Don't have a brochure? Get one. And everyone should have a website by now. If you don't- get one. It's the electronic brochure- instead of having to send someone your info, you can tell them to log on and see your hotel. Much quicker and effective.

Create a fact sheet. It should have all the pertinent details of your hotel, and include things like directions, area attractions, restaurant info, and the like. You can fax that to anyone who makes an inquiry- and don't forget your web address.

Don't overlook small companies! Take a map, mark your hotel on it, and mark all your competitors as well. Connect the dots. This is your backyard. Own it. Why would you let even one room stay at your competition? Get to know your backyard neighbors. Make it a goal to visit at least 2 backyard neighbors a week. Do it while you're out on errands- quick & easy!

While you're shopping your competition, ask them for referrals. Making friends with your enemy isn't a bad idea when you might pick up business. Be sure you're the one the GM, DOS, and desk clerks refer to when they are sold out or don't have the available meeting space.

·Make sure your desk agents are getting the company name on every check-in! Compile a list of those new leads and follow up with either a thank you call or letter- work on building good will! Imagine the impression you make when Joe Blow is called at his office, just so you can say thanks and hope he'll stay again when he comes through the area. Remember, 1 room or 1000 rooms, it shouldn't matter- every room counts.

Send thank you notes to your top ten travel agents. Travel agents appreciate being remembered! Call them- thank them for booking a specific client, and ask if they know if his company has other people who stay in the area. This is networking your travel agents- and it works!

Make sure you market to the unusual- set up a Compassion Rate for families- create a flyer and bring to funeral homes. Contact hospitals and surgery centers- doctors have clients who follow them and need a place to stay. Also, hospitals have salespeople visiting them- get the referrals! And of course, market the wedding market.

Create a flyer and distribute to bridal stores, caterers, limo companies, etc. Read your local newspaper; if it lists the engagement, look up the brides address and send her a congratulatory note and a hotel brochure—everyone has a cousin from out of town!

Contact your Parks and Rec department. Do they have tourneys?

Contact any shrine, auditorium, or meeting facility- they will have events where people will ask where to stay.

Contact all the retailers and restaurants in the immediate area- they all have area managers that need an occasional room night, and sometimes they have meetings too.

Relocation: contact realtors, new housing developments, companies.

This article is property of InnCredible Hospitality Inc- Roswell GA. It may not be reproduced or copied in any fashion without the express written consent of IHI- infringement of said intellectual properties rights is subject to legal action.

Liz Beneski ~ President & CEO InnCredible Hospitality Inc
After identifying a gap between owners and their chosen franchisors, Liz Beneski decided that she wanted to help address that need. InnCredible Hospitality was launched in 1999 with the mission to help owners and their managers achieve their best operational goals, one hotel at a time.

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