As hoteliers we understand the importance of customer service – all our front of house team members will have received lots of training on how to make our guests feel special whilst they are enjoying our hospitality.
Have you thoroughly gone through customer service training with your sales teams? The teams who are the first port of call for our future guests, those who receive the telephone and email enquiries – the one’s who are back of house, but without their successes no-one would have a job to do!
With the right tools and training, we can ensure our back of house sales teams have the confidence to build rapport, deliver exceptional service and turn enquiries into confirmed guest bookings.
Re-educate your company’s ethos and core standards.
For many employees it may have been some time since they had their induction.
Now is a good time to re-iterate your hospitality business core standards, what you and your business want to achieve and what the guests’ journey should look like.
This can be done at 1:1s or morning meetings, or even at Heads of Department meetings – so that all manager’s are asked to re-iterate this to their teams.
Empower your ‘order takers’ to become successful sale people
With empowerment comes confidence and success.
As mentioned, the back-office sales teams are often the first contact for a potential new client or guest.
Remind them of the business strategy, what levels they can negotiate with (in terms of rates) or what additional negotiating tools they can use.
Which incentives can they use to convert? ……..
Organisor of large conference receives spa treatment.
Confirm by the end of the week to receive complimentary room hire.
These are just a few simple examples.
Your sales team need to understand lead times, low and high season rates and what is the ideal to achieve.
Once they are familiar with the overall business strategy, they will take ownership.
You will begin to hear different conversations in the office, more strategic. Add a whiteboard with daily/ weekly targets and the office will begin to buzz.
“The customer is the most important visitor on our premises. They are not dependent on us… we are dependent on them.– Attributed to Mahatma Ganghi but with 21st century updates !
They are not an interruption to our work; this is the purpose of it.
Our customer is not an outsider to our business, in fact they are an essential part of it.
We are not doing them a favour by serving them….they are doing us the favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Rapport breeds results
Senior management teams take it as given that all their staff can speak confidently to clients.
In actual fact ,some cases, either on the phone or by email, can be quite challenging.
It is vitally important to quickly identify the needs of the client and how much time they have to respond effectively.
Some clients may be leisure guests & need handholding when making their booking.
Others could be experienced agents who are used to dealing with hotels, thereby needing information quickly, so they can then inform their own clients.
Building a rapport will help us ask the relevant questions and identify quickly how we should respond to our clients.
Giving your team training in telephone techniques and personalising email responses will help them have the confidence to build rapport.
Just a simple statement …… “I’m thrilled that you are enquiring about our hotel”….this would be a positive and warm start for any conversation.
Close with Confidence
We can all assist our clients and guests with their purchasing decisions, answering all questions confidently and providing the relevant information about our property, services, and offerings. However, this could all be wasted if we do not have a successful closing strategy.
Sometimes we don’t feel confident to ask for the business, or not sure how to close without sounding too pushy.
It may only take asking one direct question ‘Shal I make that booking for you?’
If we have answered all the questions, identified any hesitations, provided all the information, then we, as salespeople, are now within our rights to ask for the business…… obviously in a polite and professional manner.
It goes without saying that your sales team need to love the product, property and service.
What better way than giving them the opportunity to experience what your guests experience!
It is a good idea to do this at the time of induction.
For example…. they stay an evening at the hotel, experience dinner, a spa treatment or afternoon tea.
This will ensure that they can speak confidently to your future guests about the product and service.
Recognition & Reward
Our teams need both rewards and recognition to feel fully satisfied in their jobs. It is not just about the paycheck at the end of the month.
Remember- Rewards are transactional, while recognition is relational.
Rewards tend to be tied to goals and accomplishments.
For example….. If we hit our 200-room night target for April – the sales team will be taken out for a bowling and fish supper evening.
If they hit the company yearly target, every employee will receive an end of year bonus.
It should be noted that rewards should be reserved for exceptional work and achievements.
Recognition should be offered more frequently, at that moment, and not needing to wait till the end of the month to be praised for their efforts.
Recognition is an employee led initiative and can be done with ease in the sales office.
The salesperson who achieves the highest upsell revenue could receive a personalised email from the hotel manager or owner, perhaps even cakes on Friday for their weekly performance….!
Endeavour Consulting can assist with your sales teams training from initial call handing, to closing and achieving the sale with ease.