Are Mixed Reviews Jeopardizing Your Sales Team's Success? Here's what savvy hoteliers need to know.
The success of Hotel Directors of Sales and Sales Managers is highly impacted by reputation, including word of mouth, online reviews, and other social media user-generated content. In episode 8 of Get Great Guest Reviews, Amy Infante, Founder, and CEO of GitGo, talks with Adele Gutman about the role reputation plays in maximizing sales, and the role sales professionals play as advocates and leaders in creating a stellar reputation that enhances profitability.
I hope that you will take the time to listen and enjoy the full conversation.
Here are a few highlights and takeaways inspired by my discussion with Amy.
Your Reputation Proceeds You
Amy shared a statistic from Gartner that only 17% of the sales journey involves a salesperson. According to Gartner, 45% of their buying journey is spent on research, 27% online, and 18% offline. That means that a business with mixed reviews can be eliminated from consideration long before a salesperson has a chance to speak with them. It also means that a business that was not already on the radar of a planner, can rise to the forefront based on consistently enthusiastic five-star reviews and personal recommendations.
You can check out the article on Gartner's website.
Sales Professionals Play a Vital Role as Partners in Reputation Cultivation: Amy suggests that while using active salespeople to be the point person for the resolution of customer pain points or planning responses, Sales must be included in the internal conversation. As the voice of the customer before the event, they can translate client goals into actions that will wow make the process easy worry-free for bookers, and a wow experience for the guests and audience.
After the event, embrace feedback to learn what went great and what needs to be modified in our processes, products, or communications to ensure any mishaps won’t recur. If operations and marketing work together in earnest with a commitment to continuous improvement, clients can be very understanding and appreciative despite the occasional human error.
Communication is the Key to Great Relationships: Sales people do great work when they read between the lines for what their customers need that they do not know how to articulate for themselves. Elevate yourself from salesperson to expert sales consultant and trusted advisor.
Act like your hotel’s future depends on the outcome of every contract. A Salesperson may book the first contract, but creating a customer for life is a team effort. Instead of relying on your sales team to continually find new customers to replace the customers, you lost due to ho-hum experiences, operations managers must understand that they are responsible to make every experience so good, clients will automatically want to rebook, and refer your hotel to other businesses.
Let your sales team focus on how to expand the relationship as well as look for a new business to grow your revenue, not to replace lost bookings because things didn’t fully fulfill your customer’s dreams.
Delivering only the expected is a costly mistake. Hotels lose business not only because of mistakes. Delivering a product or service in a standard, transactional way makes you a commodity. While you may get a repeat booking if the price is right, transactional service won’t likely inspire long-term loyalty when new options came along, an expansion of business at higher rates and frequency, or enthusiastic referrals to help you attract new customers.
Pro Tip: Have your Sales People prepared to discuss in detail what corrective measures were implemented to prevent recurrence of issues that happened in the past. Your business and managers will gain public trust when you are able to articulate how you fixed an issue.
Pro Tip: You can go back through old review management responses to negative comments and revise those responses to share what has been done since that time to ensure that the incident has not been repeated.
Pro Tip: Have everyone in the hotel rewrite their job description based not on tasks and transactions, but on how their actions and role impacts the revenue of the hotel by creating great experiences and loyalty.
Pro Tip: We already discussed asking for feedback after a group, meeting, or event. After you have done this and if you are feeling great about how the planner is feeling about returning, why not ask your client if they would write a review, record a video, write a letter, or allow you to paraphrase their positive feedback for their approval and publication. If that person truly feels that you and your company went the extra mile for them and their company, they will likely feel delighted to go the extra mile to help you attract new customers.
Remember: The sale doesn't end when the contract is signed! Your new business tomorrow will be launched with ease off the excellence in hospitality, communication, and thoughtful operational execution of the events you have in-house today. If everyone on your property sees every event as an opportunity to grow your stellar reputation, your five-star reviews, and priceless return visits and referrals, it will give your sales team wings to soar to their highest potential for success.
Please comment and share! What are your tips for getting great client referrals, testimonials, and reviews?
If your hotel needs sales support, please contact Amy Infante and her team at GitGo.
If your hotel could benefit from more five-star reviews (and honestly, couldn't we all?), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's see how we can put you on a reputation optimization plan to meet your needs and support your goals.