Trip Advisor and other expenses we don’t need

Trip advisor and advertising and expenses we don’t need

There is currently a push by the brands to use Trip Advisor business listings.   I see they are even pushing in the U.K. as well.    Now I have never had any good experience with Trip Advisor business listings and I’ve actually given them a try at several different hotels because the Owner thought it would be a sure money make because the brand was pushing it.

Sometime owner have to learn the hard way that the brand does what is good for the brand and not necessarily what is good for your hotel.  But I digress.

Trip Advisor tells you that you need four months before it starts paying off for you.  Really! What is the booking window at your hotel I’ll bet it not four months out.

Do the exit guides coupon books take four months before they have an effect?  If they did I don’t think we would be using them.   But it not just Trip Advisor I got a call today from AT&T wanting me to renew an ad for the hotel.  I did not and of course the sales person could not believe it. The hotel has always had an ad.   Why is my question have your ever looked for a hotel in the yellow pages?

The same thing with the BBB, sure you get a sticker to display where a guest can see it. You pay over $400.00 for this window cling.  When the last time is the BBB sold a room for you or has any prospect ever asked you; are you a member of the BBB?  Most hotels never even get a complaint from the BBB let alone any business.

The typical business should spend 15 to 20 percent on advertising or 12% of last year’s revenue minus rent or mortgage.  Hotels are not typical business but we seem to be trying to treat them as if they are.   If you’re a Plumbing company or heating and air conditioning company I would check to see if you were a member of the BBB and I might check AT&T or the yellow pages for your company but not a hotel.

You might want to take a close look at some of the things you are paying for and ask yourself why what’s the return on this am I doing because we always have?

After all your not a Heating & Air Conditioning company are you?

Why Sales should be out sourced

Sales management should be outsourced.  Most hotels especially independent do not have formal sales programs in place.  By that I mean having all the tools needed   Professional sales scripts PDF’s.  A formal program where all contacts are recorded all e-mails sent are recorded and daily recap is sent to the manager and ownership.   Gorilla sales is usually only done half hartley if at all.  Even thou it is one of the best methods there is for producing room nights on a consist bases.   Sales needs to be micro-managed and the general manager is usually not in a position to do so concisely day in and day out.  Plus it puts some distance between the general manager and the sale person.  The sales person’s performance is being reviewed daily by someone not on property.


Most sales manager at hotels are really just order takers and usually when you don’t need order taking.  When there is a big event in town and everybody and his brother wants a room.  You don’t need someone who during these times usually wants to offer discounts and says I had all these people wanting rooms but you said no.


In fact I would venture most general managers and especially owner have no idea what their sale person is supposedly working on, and if you asked the sales person you would get vague answers with no decision dates no real data phone number e-mail address etc.


With a professional sales program management by an outside company your sales person is held accountable on a daily bases.   Instead of attending meeting held by this group or that group which very seldom produce any rooms.  They are hitting 10 to 15 accounts on a daily bases.  Seeds are planted and watered regularly and you know

When an account has truly been cultivated and not just happen stance.  Plus the data is

Kept for the hotel and should the sales person leave you still have a record of every phone call every e-mail sent you know what the conversations were and you get to keep all of the contact information.

Access to Globa accounts

Access to global accounts:

Things are always changing in the hotel world.  One of the latest twists is access to global accounts.   That brands have started something called tire II revenue management.  They are pushing to create a secondary revenue stream for the brands.

They are trying to tell hotel owners that they are not capable nor are the hotel general managers capable of managing the revenue / rates at the hotel level.

I remember sitting in a meeting for La Quinta were the VP of franchising compared it to the medical field.   He said the General Manager was your family doctor and you didn’t go to your family doctor for heart surgery.   That the hotels who had signed up revenue  management with the brand did X percent better than those that did not. So for $12,000.00 to $17,000.00 you got a few percent better performances than before. but for how long and your not getting a decated revenue manger your one of say 25 hotels he now has in the area.

Not to single out La Quinta all the brands seem to be doing it now.   What they are not telling you is they are also signing up or trying to sign up all of the competing hotel in the area and you are not the only hotel they have signed up.  If you’re a Choice Brand there could be many competing hotel Names within the brand competing for the same business;  and there is only so much business from the global accounts to go around plus they usually have corporate hotels in same area competing  with you as well.

I know your thinking that’s what we pay franchise fee for.  Well not anymore it’s become A pay to play world.   Not only are more and more of the prime business like BP or Shell going though and agency like Carlson Wagenlit to negotiate the with hotels for them.  You now have to pay the brands to get access to the big accounts plus pay the commission on it as well.

A better plan is back to the basics.    Contacting every major business in your area and making them aware of your hotel and what it has to offer them.  Contacting the localChurches, Funeral Homes etc, and just plain stealing it from your competition by completing driving around and then reaching out to those business and turning them into clients.    I’m not telling anything you don’t already know.  The problem is far too many hotels truly have no idea what the sales person is doing each day.  Nor do they have a formal program in place that will tell them what the sales person did on daily basics.

I’ll cove this in more detail on my next post.

Have Billboards gone the way of the AAA Book

Are you still paying for Billboard advertising?  Do you track it properly? I am constantly amazed at the things we do in the hotel business out of habit or desperation.   I often see billboards for hotels that are 10 or more miles from the hotel.  Yet we know that to be effective a billboard needs to be within 3 to 7 miles of the hotel.  Even then if the billboard is not just before the next exit odds are they’ll forget or miss the exit.  I have often seen billboards for hotels that are on the outskirts of a major market, The billboard will be on the opposite side of the highway hard to read and way past the destination market heading out-of-town.  Yet the whole goal or focus of the hotels marketing campaign is reach the guest coming to the destination city.  The only guest the billboard is reaching is  that the guest just drove past your targeted market heading somewhere else.

Maybe you haven’t noticed but things have changed.   Remember when the guest use to show up in your lobby holding their AAA Book?  When is the last time you saw that? or how about they had the brand directory that told them how to get to you. When is the last time someone wanted to know if you had an updated directory?   Now we don’t even put them in the rooms anymore.

Well that’s not the only thing that changed.  How they go over the river and though the woods to grandma house has too.  What? What do you mean? I’ll bet even you have changed how you get somewhere you haven’t been to before.  Do you get out your Rand McNally map? I doubt it.  You might go over the lobby in the computer and map quest it.  But have noticed guest are not doing that much anymore either.  Well what are the doing?   They are getting in the car and turning on the GPS unit typing in the destination address.  So how are they deciding on what hotel to spend the night at  when they decide to stop for the night.  They touch the POI  (Point of Interest) button and select hotel.  If your hotel is not listed you pretty much don’t exist as far as they are concerned.  If they saw your billboard at all it was mostly likely by accident.

I believe you might be better off making sure your are listed on the GPS’s POI and sending the money on things that make your guest want to choose your hotel over the competitions in the first place.  How much are you sending on say just one billboard.  On the cheap $15,000.00 a year, but more likely around $25,000.00 just for one billboard that most likely produces very little.   If we were spending that much on anything else we tack it hard. We would know what age the person who saw it, What time of day it was and maybe even the kind of shoes they were wearing.

But because it has been a fixture in our business and we have always done it we will keep on doing it even though it really doesn’t make sense.  I am not saying some billboards are not a viable part of a business model but more often than not I belive the money could be put to better use.

How much would $25,000.00 more a year being spent on a great breakfast or even better evening snacks or say departure thank you gifts benefit your hotel?  Make it more memorial in the gust mind, make them want to come back.  Improve you ranking within the brand.

You could even take the money being spent on something that does not have much of a return and invest in hiring a competent sales person!

How to steal business from the Competition

How to Steal
From Your Competition!

A sales and marketing survival guide
The business model that teaches managers how to steal and get away with it.

In today’s slower economy, there are three
ways to improve profits:

  1. Find
    new things to sell. You can try to expand your markets by acquiring new
    products and services. If you have deep pockets and gambler’s instincts,
    this is the high-risk, high reward model. Exciting and challenging.
  2. If
    resources are tight, you can cut expenses to the bone, shrink down until
    better times. Sometimes this works, as you preserve cash. Other times,
    unfortunately, this may merely prolongs the inevitable in a slow and
    painful way.
  3. You can stop whining about the state of the economy and recognize that, even in the worst downturns, most companies and individuals are still buying and growing. In order to grow you business when the overall market is shrinking, start stealing from the competition.

How? Well, for starters, figure out WHO is staying
Where.  Get good valid contact
information so more dollars available to you, instead of standing by and
watching as your more aggressive competitors do it first.

Face it. The main reason for your shrinking
sales in a slowing economy is that your competitors are building their sales by
cutting into your turf.

The law of survival is that, when there is
less to eat, the more aggressive jungle animals take more from the weaker ones.
The choice is either to get mean, or get lean.

So, want to succeed, no matter what the
economy is doing? Get your mean act together. Here’s our outline to successfully
stealing from the competition. Follow this outline and you will be the one
saying that this is your best year ever:

So, how
you can increase sales at higher margins in a shrinking economy?

Recessionary strategy:

In spite of press reports, not everyone suffers from a worldwide economic

  • Many
    companies will thrive and will enjoy record sales and earnings.
  • Many
    more will see their stock reach new highs.
  • Many
    sales people will punch through last year’s “personal best” and
    will continue to live the good life.


What makes some companies
successful, while others not? This:

  • Knowledge.
  • Strategic
    marketing planning.
  • Program
    and execution.
  • Training.

This isn’t rocket science, but don’t be
afraid to get help if you need it
. Then use your industry knowledge to
partner with clients to establish and meet attainable goals. Create entire
sales and marketing programs and train your sales and marketing people to
thrive in hard times.

What you learn is not always new, but we find
that it is often reinterpreted in new ways, which is always profitable. Focus
on the key points for you to thrive while everyone around you is struggling
just to stay afloat.

Four keys
to technology selling success:

  1. Redefine
    complex technology. Make it simple so sales people can explain it to mom.
  2. Create
    structure for every sales call.
  3. Focus
    away from tech-speak and onto key fact-finding to better communicate and
    close more.
  4. Guide
    the sales process toward problem solving and away from classic feature
    wars, ending with greater customer benefits and, thus, higher dealer

Top 10
ways to teach your staff how to overrun the competition

  1. Make
    very sure you have a better trained sales army than they have at the
    competition. We use our own exclusive “Stealth Sales Training (c)
    program.” It doesn’t require us to take everyone out of the field to
    attend class.
    • If you don’t have a better trained army,
      competition will destroy you.
    • But, if you do, you will destroy them, which is
      always the more preferred choice.
  2. Make
    sure you only sell the most terrific products in your market segment.
    • If you don’t have the best product in your
      space, strategize to find a better product.
    • Or, if that isn’t an option, strategize to move
      you to a more appropriate market space. Either way, you win.
    • You do not always have the means to switch
      products mid-cycle, but it’s a rush to find out that changing the market
      focus often works better, faster and cheaper.
  3. Listen
    to your customers. You’ve heard it before, but it is still the best way to
    meet needs.
    • Sell what they need, not what you have.
    • Even when you have what they need, many sales
      people sell from the wrong prospective (It does this. It does that. It
      does this. It does that).
    • Teach your staff how to return to
      “empathy” and tell what the customer needs to hear.
    • Teach how to really find customer
      problems and then solve them.
  4. Find
    better, more aggressive sales people, or train existing ones to be more aggressive.
  5. Spend
    more time identifying prospects most likely to need what you have, before
    you make the sales call. This saves time that would usually be wasted and
    concentrates sales talent on more likely sales. We employ a unique
    copyrighted process called “Prospect Profiling, (c)” which
    identifies those prospects most likely to make our sales people
  6. Shorten
    your sales cycle by simplifying the sales proposal process
  7. Customize
    and then standardize your proposal into a generic template that is very
    customer-centric, yet quick and easy to prepare. This frees sales people
    for more time prospecting for opportunities.
  8. Teach
    your sales people how to work as a team and share successes (yes, and
    failures) effectively, to improve the “learning from mistakes”
    yield and shorten time-to-market of new training.
  9. Improve
    sales management’s ability to fill the prospect sales funnel by combining
    the best of traditional and non-traditional thinking.
  10. Practice
    “top down” aggressive management. Specialize in growing sales in
    shrinking markets by keeping the energy level very high at the highest
    levels of management. We never stop teaching how to aggressively improve
    share of the market by the process we call “steal from the

shortest guide to great web success

Here’s what works for our
clients and what doesn’t. We follow this simple guide so that your web site
will increase your business.

Click here to World’s shortest guide to great web
success page

4 rules
to fast-track improve your marketing results

  1. Always
    have a written strategy, even if you often have to change it.
  2. Always
    has a marketing mission statement that every department can live with
    (otherwise you are just kidding yourself).
  3. For
    every product you sell, identify target markets where your product:
    • Provides exceptional value.
    • Is clearly superior.
    • Captures the imagination.
    • Establishes an emotional connection with the       customer.
  4. Remember,
    branding is never about the building. It’s always about the relationship



Are your hotel sales effort effective



When I  review the sales notes of my DOS; I review overall content
and assess good or bad detail.  In reviewing this data I make sure to check the following questions:


How do track
content from report to report?
If your sales person calls one of my top
accounts (Daimler Chrysler) today and should call back in 3 weeks for proper
follow up how do you “connect the dots” and verify that this has indeed
happened? How do you review his/her efforts to see how frequently he/she is
contacting your top accounts?

If I find the effort is inconsistent. Some days your sales person is contacting 4 people,others 6 some 9 etc etc. Over time your sales person has to contact a MINIMUM of 10 customers per day IN AN ORGANIZED FASHION. Follow-up if the key to success. By now you have realized if I say I will call you/ contact you, you
receive a telephone call and / or e-mail, which has a direct impact on how you
think of me and whether or not you think I am organized – your clients do

If there is no indication of total dollar volume on accounts – if your sales person is not ascribing a dollar value to an account how is he/she going to manage his/her
schedule to concentrate on the accounts that produce the most business?

There are no decision dates anywhere??? Do I need to say any more with this?

When my DOS says they are doing blitz “Massive mailing to Motor coach Tour Groups” is it really impacting my hotel: “Will be contacting next week to see if they received my information” – if it’s “massive” then the follow up will be poor – even if your sales person called 400 motor coach groups in a week in and of itself it doesn’t achieve anything.  The effort must be measured and consistent to have an impact. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE

How is my DOS spending there time? “Other Misc” it shows “spent time calling travel agencies this morning who currently use us” this sounds good and is, however
who SPECIFICALLY did your sales person call, when is your sales person going to
follow up, who are they going to follow up with and why are they following up? If
I cannot see this to understand there direction

Is my DOS giving me too little detail…just generic terms???
– “Mailings and In-side calls, lots of appts!!!” – Again nothing in this
is QUANTIFIABLE there is no way to measure or plan the attack for follow up.

There are
numerous references to “love the executive package”:
  Unfortunately I have never seen this line item on a P & L and if the customers love the package so much, how much business is it spinning off when and at what rate????


Overall you think you have a busy sales person who is doing
some of the right things but they are not organized which is the proverbial
“kiss of death” to sales effort everywhere.
The best way to impress a client is to follow through on commitments and
meet set deadlines – if I told you “I’ll call you tomorrow” and I call back 3
weeks later would we still be talking?


If you look at JYI & HHC we can verify this through the
ACT! Notes and you’ll see time stamps, pertinent content (decision date, hot
buttons, who the competition is, where else the customer is looking, what rates
they have paid, how much volume they have etc etc).  Cross reference that with the DWM and you’ll see HARD NUMBERS indicating what the DOLLAR VALUE OF THE BUSINESS IS.


From what we have seen with most sales people is that they
are not afraid of the phone, or dealing with clients: – they need direction and
to be held accountable.  Bottom line,
long on comments short (in fact non-existent) on specifics and showing what has


Using JYI & HHC format and tools I can tell you
conclusively within 14 days of being on site whether or not your sales person
should be replaced, trained or given fundamental guidance to maximize your
ROI/NOI of the project.


And that is what you should always be asking yourself when
it comes to your sales productivity.

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