Who isn’t always looking for a good deal? Negotiating the best price and not leaving any money on the table has been a strategy of both consumers and planners of group business travel during the past few years. Lower rates, suite upgrades, banquet upgrades and audio-visual needs have all been a part of the “bone basket” that sales managers are desperately throwing to win group business over competition.
But, it won’t conclude anytime soon. Once the economy is revived, meeting planners who have fine tuned their own negotiating skills and have become accustomed to receiving upgrades will expect hotel sales managers to still offer them perks for booking hotel group business.
In speaking to a seasoned sales professional, there are some secret tips to ensure hotel sales managers can generate revenue but still guarantee the client feels comfortable at the same time.
- Show where your value is. A basic sales tactic that can sometimes be forgotten is to show the meeting planner where the value is in booking group business at your hotel. Value is a lot different than being cheap. So, understanding the meeting planner and what they prioritize is key. Knowing what's most important to each meeting planner can also assist in the hotel marketing strategy.
- Evaluate if it’s worth dropping the price so much. Ask yourself, “Am I giving away this space?” Take a moment to see if the “Ebay effect” has taken over your sales ability and you’re so eager to win the group business that there’s no longer an opportunity for revenue. Determine if it’s worth it to wait for the next piece of business.
- Where did you come up with those numbers? Planners often have a number in mind and at times, it doesn’t always match the market. The best practice for sales managers is to simply ask, “Where did you come up with those numbers?” Because many times planners may think the market is improving at a slower pace than it really is – other factors include the destination, time and space that may not be considered in the price they have in mind.
- Upgrades: Are you still handing those out for free? Again, if there are questions about free audio-visual equipment or banquet meal upgrades, hotel sales managers should approach this one of three ways. The first is, “Let me speak with my boss and see what I can do.” A second sales approach is to list everything that’s been given to the group and go over the value that they’re receiving. And a third approach is when a sales manager knows they’re at their bottom line, he or she can simply state that everything’s been given.
Both parties should be satisfied in the end. The best sales managers make sure that the client is happy in their choice and pleased to book group business with the meeting venue again in the future. In most any sales situation, the buyer wants to feel that they’ve negotiated the best deal in booking hotel group travel, rather than to be given everything for free. Make sure these four tips are a part of the hotel sales/marketing strategy. Increase hotel group business through Cvent’s Supplier Network where planners can easily submit RFPs to book their next event at your venue.
Written by Sarah Vining.