March 03, 2020
By Laura Fredericks

Does your hotel sales team have everything they need to succeed? You’ve worked hard to have the best onboarding program, hired a skilled team, taken a hard look at your sales strategy, and put all of the technology in place for your team to surpass their goals. But when it comes to hotel sales collateral, you could be coming up short.

You may have more sales data than ever, but are you turning it into the insights and information your customers need? In reality, 54% of organizations have not figured out how to generate actionable insights from sales asset data. And many teams feel that they don’t have all the assets they need to answer buyer questions, fill customer needs, and close group business sales effectively. 

Your group sales team needs to offer more than charisma and sharp closing skills. They must be armed with stunning sales enablement materials to make an impression on meeting planners and group organizers and to differentiate your property.

It’s time to take a thorough look at your current sales and marketing materials for group business. Are they speaking to the concerns of today’s planners? Or are they simply touting your venue space? 

With the strategies below, you can develop powerful collateral that aligns with your buyers’ purchase process, so your sales team can answer your prospects’ questions with credible information that matches their current decision-making stage.

Each item has a specific role to play in the overall sales funnel, and should be created to fulfill that role in the most effective way possible. Sales materials that are not effective could end up costing you event sales and customers. You’ll need to start with a solid sales asset management strategy so you have a good idea of your goals and objectives with your sales collateral. Once your strategy is in place, consider a few questions for each piece of collateral:

  • Does this help move your planners closer to signing with your property? If not, what's holding it back?

  • Does this fit into the hotel's overall sales strategy? Or is it a stand-alone piece with no context?

  • Does it communicate the message clearly and without ambiguity?

  • Does it meet hotel brand guidelines, and is it consistent with your overall vision?

Explore the hotel sales collateral your team should have:

1. Intuitive website

Your hotel website needs great curb appeal and intuitive navigation in order to stand out from the crowd and represent your property in its best light. While not always considered sales collateral, parts of your website will definitely be used in the sales process. Including destination content familiarizes your audience with your location and helps them visualize their event there. Meanwhile FAQs, images of events in action, and meeting space diagrams will all help buyers get the information they need. Most of the sales collateral on this list could appear on your website, as long as it makes sense for your sales cycle and audience.

2. Video tour of meeting spaces

Video content is far more engaging than words or pictures alone and truly allows planners to visualize their own events in your space. A high-quality video tour of event spaces, meeting spaces, public spaces, and rooms captures the essence of your brand and makes your property shine. You can include this tour on your website for buyers just starting their relationship with you, as well as sending it to buyers further along in the process who want to see how the space flows. 

3. Event flash reel

If a video tour sets the stage, a flash reel is the lights, sound, and action. A flash reel is a quick, action-packed glimpse of your property, including short shots of events that showcase your vision. With the right music, well-chosen clips, and a strong call-to-action, these videos can capture buyers’ attention and get them thinking positively about your unique property. These videos work well at the beginning of the buyer journey and are great to include in a first or second email as an introduction. As a bonus, they can be easily shared by the event planner with their clients and the rest of their team.

Use sales collateral to grow your business

4. Meeting space diagrams and data sheets

Early in the sales process, planners will want to look at your space from a technical perspective to make sure that it will meet their needs. Event space diagrams and data sheets should provide all the information they need to make this decision. Make these diagrams customizable and interactive to get prospects involved in the process and keep them engaged, or embrace future technology by using virtual reality to tour your event space. A simple version of your diagrams can be shown on your website for early in the sales process, but leave the detailed version with all the data for later.

5. Event checklist

A strong sales relationship is built on trust and value. One way to build on both is to provide the information and resources buyers need to pull off a great event. An event checklist outlines everything a planner needs to run a great event at your hotel. You know the ins and outs of your space and can provide information the planner may not have thought about. This can be provided as a downloadable resource and is great for the middle of the buyer’s journey when lots of event decisions are taking place.

6. Food and beverage menus and options

The food and beverage for an event can really determine the tone and setting. By highlighting your food and beverage offerings in your first few conversations with a prospect, and narrowing them down near the end of the sales cycle, you can become a trusted partner in the planning of the event and help your buyer better execute on their vision. Make sure this information is easily digestible, visual, and shareable so that the buyer’s team can coordinate on the options they would like to choose.

7. In-person meeting presentation deck

Your presentation materials will likely change slightly with each meeting to be tailored to your audience (as they should), but make sure you have a great starter deck to choose your slides from each time. This means you only need to add a few slides with specific information for your prospect, and can rely on your core slides for the rest. For more information about building that perfect deck, read our tips on running an effective in-person sales meeting.

8. Case studies and testimonials

When prospects need a little more convincing, it can be helpful to hear from their industry peers, or from past customers who have held similar events at your property. Testimonials can show up throughout your sales process as short quotes on your website, videos on your social media channels, or even downloadable case-studies for a more in-depth look at each event.

9. Third-party industry research

Research from a trusted third-party source can be incredibly persuasive for prospects and is particularly helpful for them to share with their team. This research can cover industry trends, the ROI of a particular service, or creative ideas for how others are running their events. This type of research is helpful to share as a follow-up to a sales meeting or as an excuse to get back in touch with a cooling lead.

10. Sales scripts

It goes without saying that you need great scripts for your sales calls, and that these should be updated frequently. Your scripts are a vital part of your sales collateral, even though they are an internal resource. Share them with your team, update with what’s working with your prospects, and tailor them appropriately for your audience often.

11. Competitor battle cards

Up-to-date information on your competitors is an essential internal resource as you’re speaking with prospects, and can provide helpful clues about what your buyers value. If you know that all of the properties they're considering have a focus on sustainability, you can ask if that’s important to them (and highlight your own property’s sustainability efforts). Pricing comparisons give you clues about budget that the prospect might not otherwise share. Make sure to keep your competitor information current, and try for a site visit every quarter to experience the venue yourself.

12. Segmented one-pagers

Each of your audience and event segments will require slightly different information and messaging. Create an impactful one-page summary with engaging images and data visualizations for each of your main segments. For instance, your summary for sports teams may include information about exercise facilities, airport transportation, and equipment storage, while your sheet for family reunions will include family-friendly activities, upcoming events, and a local area guide. Include all of the information that a prospect in that segment typically focuses on, and send this summary out just before or just after your first sales meeting with the prospect.

13. Add-on services and packages

Don’t forget to create collateral that will help with upselling and cross-selling to your prospects. Packages of extras and add-ons can appear on your website, in your one-page summaries, and in follow-up emails to your buyers. These are particularly helpful during the planning phase of your buyer journey when prospects have agreed in principle to use your property but still need to work out the details.

14. Thank you cards

A personal touch adds a bit of depth to the relationship you have with a prospect and will help you secure business from them for future events as well. Make sure to send a thank-you note after site visits, in-person meetings, or after their event at your property. Including a discount or add-on for future business is a nice extra touch, as is taking the time to handwrite your note.

15. Post-sales and handoff materials

Your work doesn’t end when your prospect says yes. In order to continue the relationship and secure future business and referrals, you’ll need to ensure a smooth handoff to your colleagues who will be supporting the buyer after the sale. Document all of the pain points and specific requests that came up during your sales conversations, as well as the objections that the prospect brought up. Putting all of this information in your CRM ensures everyone is on the same page and helps the rest of your team deliver a great experience.

16. Data about the event

Show buyers you're invested in their success by giving them access to helpful information and data after the event. This helps you stay top of mind and gives the buyer persuasive ROI information to take back to their executives. Make sure the information is presented in a visually impactful and shareable format to get the most bang for your buck.

17. Post-event survey or feedback request

Chances are you won’t get that coveted feedback or those important referrals without asking for them. Include a standard survey or feedback request as part of your collateral toolkit so that your team can easily follow up and find out how they did. Make it short and sweet, and focus on the things that you have control over, like response times, customer service, and customization of your sales offering.

Use these hotel sales collateral strategies to your advantage!

With all of these assets in place, your sales team will be prepared to provide value at every stage of the buyer’s journey, and your prospects will get all of the information they need to make an informed buying decision. 

Ready to send out some of your new collateral? Read on for tips on nurturing your prospects through email.

Get more insight from our team of industry experts.

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Laura Fredericks

Laura brings a decade of insight to improving marketing, as she has worked in technology since 2010. She has experience starting and scaling a business, driving customer marketing, and speaking at live events, including WeDC Fest 2018. She founded Describli and Paradigm Labs, and currently works with companies to improve their customer relationship management and content strategy.

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