Sales Managers and Planner "To-Do" List While Hunkering
Well, I've washed my hands so much I'm wearing out my fingerprints! I think I found the remnants of a Walt Disney World hand-stamp from 1972! Since we are all wearing at least two hats in our jobs, I thought I'd add some reminders on how to succeed during a very strange time.
Remembering the words of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...!"
Hotel Sales Managers:
If you're on furlough or in the office in a hotel with no guests, you should use the time to get things ready for your return to work. I've been making sales calls throughout the slowdown, and it looks like there will be a lot of pent-up activity, so you'll want to be ready when things start to improve.
- Compile or review your Top 10 or Top 20 client list-- focus on end-user clients, not agencies and third parties. Touch base with all of them now, let them know you're thinking about them and looking forward to working with them when things settle down.
- Corporate mapping: This is an old, but VERY effective technique to increase your knowledge of a market and your sales. Pick a corporate account you know and do some digging. You'll find that your current client is just one of several clients in that company who plan meetings. Hoover's, Google, LinkedIn are all great places to start. Dig into the company, locate all the divisions, send e-mail intro's and call them now. You'll find clients are very available and receptive to talking about future dates.
Corporate mapping occurs when you produce an organizational chart, showing each division, with all the pertinent contacts listed.
- Organize your call-lists -- all sales managers have a file of contacts they will eventually "get around" to calling. This is called a Chicken List, since many managers are chicken when it comes to looking for new business. They prefer to work with incoming calls than call new clients. Get 2-3 lists compiled, so when you call clients, you can switch among different lists if you run into a cold streak.
- You may have paused your planning process while things are in flux. Check with your corporate or association departments to determine who needs to book something, maybe starting this Summer or this Fall, going into 2021. Hotels took a massive beating in cancelled room-nights over the last 2 months, and they are being given the direction to book anything they can to offset thousands of group cancellations for millions of room nights.
- With all the controversy about contract clauses: cancellations, attrition, force majeure, resell, rebook and other clauses, take this slower time to review your RFP and add the clauses you would request to see in the contract. Most hotels will have those clauses in their in-house library of clauses, but they typically do not include them in their standard clauses unless you know to ask for them.
- Think about booking multi-year deals with an individual hotel or hotel chain. Again, with the beating that the hotel business took over the last two months, hotels are very eager to confirm deals for new business. Be sure your attrition clause is worded to allow for cancellation due to pandemics or epidemics. Also, make sure each year is based on the successful completion of the year prior, and be sure to lock in the room rates and other financial items now. Take care that EVERY contract is page-initialed by both parties, signed and countersigned -- there has been huge staff changes in the hotel business, and many hotel managers will be moving onto other jobs or industries, even more than usual.
Finally, if you need any help, either as a Hotel Sales Manager or a Meeting planner, please call or write to me. We produce training for hotel sales and management and a host of services to meeting planners.
Stay patient, healthy and safe!