Sell More Rooms

The 2013 VRMA Eastern Seminar in Savannah Georgia, brought industry thought leadership and expertise to the forefront. What followed was a plethora of hotelier gold; knowledgable experts and industry leaders speaking on behalf of the travel industry as a whole.

Colin Morrison, Senior System Consultant at Navis, spoke on customer service and satisfaction. Colin presented 7 non-negotiable steps to selling more rooms. These practices are simple, yet extremely effective. In his discussion, Colin stressed the importance of these steps, specifically applying them to situations that hoteliers find themselves, and their front desk staff, in everyday.

Colin began the discussion by explaining a simple sales exercise – the pen test. Simple, yet eye-opening, the pen test involves sales team members taking their shot at pitching their manager on why they should purchase a pen. The point behind the exercise? Everyone does it a little bit differently. There is little consistency, and seemingly nobody begins the pitch with a question – “What are you going to be using this pen for?” An important question in qualifying a buyer, and certainly a high value question when talking with a potential hotel guest. This exercise led Colin into his discussion about front desk customer service and how execution of the correct practices can lead to a higher conversion percentage for a property. Here are the 7 steps:

1. Use Proper Greetings – Everyone enjoys a polite approach. Whether purchasing a product, or engaging in conversation, common courtesy goes a long way. Smile – it has been proven to lead to better tone over the phone.

2. Personalize the Conversation – Once you have someone on the line, chat with them a little bit. Tell them something about yourself. People are more likely to buy from a friend. Be sure to ask the customer how you can help them.

3. Interactively Listen to the Callers Request – Listening is not enough anymore. Interactively listening involves engaging the customer in conversation, and genuinely gathering an understanding of what they are looking for. It is not a bad idea to take notes – build on everything the customer is telling you so that you can sell them their perfect experience later.

4. Convey Confidence and Pride in Your Product – Passion goes a long way in sales. Approach customers with a passion and pride for your product that will blow them away. Dig a little bit deeper here, and make sure to customize the experience to each guest. Don’t just sell the beach, spa, golf course, etc. Sell them what they want – it is different for every traveler.

5. Use Professional, Courteous Language – It can be difficult to draw the line between friendly and professional with a customer. Even if you have established strong rapport in the past, remain courteous and professional at all times.

6. Ask the Customer if you can Make the Reservation – When it comes time to sell the booking, you have earned the right to ask the customer if they would like to book. What is the worst that they can say? No?

7. Always Thank the Caller – It is critical to end every phone conversation with a simple “thank you.” Another small practice that can have a major impact. As you thank them, remind them where they are calling. Something like, “Thank you for calling ResortsandLodges.com, have a great weekend,” will suffice.

These steps are simple, and can be implemented into any front desk staff, at any hotel. Practicing these simple steps in sales training and executing them in the field will leave you with a more satisfied customer base and a happy hotel staff.

This content was presented at the 2013 VRMA Eastern Seminar. Credit Colin Morrison with the thought leadership.

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