Paige Duke partook in a lively and informative discussion with Mathew Stephens from eHotelier to discuss what is changing for sales teams as travel returns and occupancy creeps back to normal. Paige Duke is owner and founder of Duke Consulting and a Strategic Solutions Partner sales consultant with over 20 years of experience in leading teams to build customer relations and drive revenue results.  

The podcast highlights include:

Positive Indicators Following COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Positive signs in the US that point towards increased travel are appearing
  • Leisure travel bouncing back the most as people are eager to travel domestically
  • Business travel returning as well
  • Some hotel’s markets are seeing high occupancy

Important Changes for Hotel Sales Teams

  • Many tenured individuals  are not getting as rehired, good market for up-and-comers
  • Many management teams moving towards centralizing their teams
  • Companies may have several hotels but with proper centralization, they can respond to all hotels and are not required to be on site
  • Hotels should start by looking at short-term business and then slowly hire for long term
  • Paige discusses her surprise at how sales response has been very slow lately and that email communication is lacking
  • Due to workload or lack of staffing, communication gets lost in the inbox
  • Those that do respond or are quick to respond may end with business by default which is a that is a huge opportunity
  • It is important to help the younger generation with prospecting as they may not know how to handle clients after and during a recession
  • Daily sales reports should be customized and worked on with the sales team in order to maintain flexibility
  • Celebrating ALL accomplishments is so important for maintaining morale 

The Ever-Changing Hotel Sales Environment

  • Salespeople returning to work should understand that what was important to clients a few years ago is not as important now
  • Clients will be looking for different factors such as venue safety, and how the hotel will ensure proper sanitation
  • Important for sales team members to ask many more probing questions such as if hybrid capability is needed, what are they looking for in regards to sanitation and how much space the client needs
  • Paige mentions how last October 2020 there were many more questions asked during RFP season
  • All team members and hotels should be aware that clients need more needed flexibility in case people needed to back out of their reservation

Changes to your Markets and Segments to Consider

  • Certain businesses may need to look at taking contracts that they may not have in the past to stay relevant and busy
  • Hotel management should look at what competitors they currently have and consider expanding their competitive set to upper or lower scale hotels that may have not been considered before
  • Remaining agile in this time is so important as the competitors and market decided now could be very different in 6 months
  • Hotels should look at regional business within 500 miles to ensure more business

The Future of Hotel Site Inspections

  • It’s important to have an audience with GM during site inspection so all questions can be answered regarding and what is being done around the hotel to ensure safety
  • Storytelling is a great way to let people know what your hotel is doing
  • Consider if not done so already, getting certified in safety
  • Noting what safety measures are in place at your hotel should be noted on the website, including any certifications

Listen to the entire podcast to gain all the insightful information highlighted by Paige Duke.

This podcast was originally posted by eHotelier on April 19 and can be viewed here.