19 Sep Breakfast, Hospitality and the Sales Department
What better way to jumpstart momentum at your hotel than to enjoy a cup of coffee and great conversation with your current guests? They are your best resources for discovering local businesses, special events and other key contacts that can actually generate a lot of new business for you.
I have always been curious when staying at various hotels why I rarely see managers mingle with their guests, especially during breakfast hours. If you want to create a memorable experience for your guests and stand out from other hotels in your area, simply show up during breakfast occasionally and introduce your self.
This will do wonders for the atmosphere at your hotel. I often hear comments about managers being known simply for their name mounted on the wall near the front desk. Put a face and some genuine hospitality with that name and title.
If a hotel benefits from the manager interacting with guests, how do you suppose the sales team could also benefit, thus increasing the momentum of sales at your hotel?
First of all, it is important for all hotel employees to realize there is an element of salesmanship in every department.
For example, if your hotel is associated with a specific brand, or even if you are establishing your own hotel independently, you are actually selling the value and benefits of that brand whether or not you realize it.
Housekeepers are critical in renting your rooms each night if the rooms are consistently clean.
Maintenance helps provide a positive experience for guests by keeping the hotel running efficiently and by making sure everything is working properly.
Front desk is just as much a part of the sales team as the director of sales. They should be trained to utilize specific skills when they assist potential guests. If you could catch a glimpse at the lost potential business you had in just one month (simply because the front desk team has not been trained to think of guest service in terms of sales) you would be amazed.
That is another (upcoming) article in itself, but I hope you will start thinking outside the box a little so you can experience ongoing success at your hotel. There is no reason why your hotel cannot be sold out even during your typical slower months. To experience this, you must use every sales tool possible in the most efficient way.
Your sales team should be allowed (and encouraged) to mingle with guests in the lobby during breakfast as time allows. It does not have to be during the entire breakfast nor should it be an aggressive sales tactic.
Keep this in mind. You do not want to appear like a blood thirsty scavenger in search of new leads. In fact, when you encounter a guest and successfully engage in light conversation, they will not even suspect that your sales radar is beaming brightly above your head. If you are in sales, that radar probably never goes off, and we understand.
The idea is to make genuine connections and let the brief interactions evolve naturally. All it takes is a great question and guests will chatter away and provide you with lots of business info.
It may feel somewhat awkward at first to purposefully engage in conversations with your guests, especially since you will be listening for specific information. This is a necessary skill to promote your hotel and be successful. It takes time to develop this habit into a skill, but the benefits for your hotel are great.
Over time you will begin to notice which guests (especially business travelers) frequent your hotel. Breakfast is a perfect time to develop new business connections in a casual way. In fact, it is often the only time you will see business guests because they typically head out early to start their day.
I have put together some key points of information to take note of during your morning conversations. Make sure you take excellent mental notes and record them for future follow-up.
See if you can discover the following information:
1. What company or type of business brings them to your area? How often are they staying at your hotel?
2. What other companies do they service? (meaning what types of companies engage in business with them) Pay attention to the business name(s) they provide. These will be some of your new leads.
3. Is this the first time they have stayed at your hotel? Are they aware of all the professional services your hotel offers?
4. If you know of a local business that might benefit from their services, be sure to pass that information along to them. They will greatly appreciate that and will remember you. They will also tell their business friends.
5. Are they involved or connected in any way to a new business opening in your area? That information in itself could provide a bevy of new leads to keep in mind.
6. Are they in town for a special meeting, event or convention? Never underestimate the benefits of keeping a revolving calendar to mark annual events. If you missed this year’s event, at least you can mark it for next year and start planning your marketing strategy.
The basic idea around you being at breakfast with the guests is to gather helpful information from different people and from a variety of locations. You might be surprised to discover untapped groups and additional business contacts simply because you were present during breakfast.
Once a guest finds their way to the lobby for breakfast or their first cup of morning coffee, they are typically quite friendly and open to brief small talk. It is at the end of the day when they are tired of talking and are simply ready to find their guest room. That is why breakfast provides perfect opportunities to nurture those business relationships.
It is also a great time for you to put aside the demands of your sales job and simply extend genuine hospitality to the guests. You are just as much a part of guest service as the front desk employees.
Do not expect to generate a long list of leads from one breakfast. Joining guests for breakfast is a great way to cultivate your hospitality and communication skills while developing your prospect list over a period of time.
Enjoy your next cup of coffee and good morning prospective chit-chat!
Contributed by Writer/Blogger