No Sales Director For Your Hotel? Don't Worry
Now if your running a property with more then 150 rooms, this blog post will probably not do you that much good, however it will help. Properties under 100 rooms will get more benefit from this post. If your a General Manager or Owner Operator that has a property where you do not have a Sales Director to promote your property do not worry. There are some easy things that you can be doing that will increase occupancy at your hotel while focusing on your staff and guests.
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I totally understand being a General Manager with no sales staff, and worrying about your front desk, trying to find the right housekeepers, and taking care of your guests so they have a great experience. I have been there! You then get worried because you know your occupancy might be ok, but you also know that with a sales effort it can do better. You can be the General Manager and the Sales Director all at the same time. As hotel General Managers, we are required to wear many hats. While some GMs are not comfortable with sales, there is a way for those GMs to be very proactive in increasing occupancy at their properties.
Meet Your Local Convention and Visitors Bureau
Attending CVB Meetings is one thing, but you need to be up front and personal with the sales staff at your local CVB. These are the people that are responsible for showcasing your city, attractions, hotels and other businesses to out of town guests. Know who the sales managers are and what markets they represent. Reach out to them and talk to them about what projects they are working on, and invite them to a breakfast or lunch at your hotel. If you don't have Food N Beverage, order pizza, or take them to a dinning establishment close to your property and then take them on a tour of your hotel.
You want to treat them as a VIP guest during the dinning and touring process, and introduce them to your staff. This will leave a good impression of you and your property and they will remember you for it when it comes times when they are asked where to stay. Just don't stop with that, make sure you respond to all the RFPs that are sent to you even if your property is not a good match for their client. This way you will stay in their mind for when business that does match your property comes into town.
Stay in contact with them every few months, by either calling or dropping by their office with some treats. The main thing here is to stay in their minds, so they don't forget about you.
Reach Out To Your Area Funeral Homes
Nobody wants to think about death, its not one of the most happiest moments in someone's life. However just about everybody has out of town family members, and most of the time those people need a place to stay when they come home to pay their respects.
Send out a mailing to your area funeral homes and depending if your a Economy or Midscale property, offer them a bereavement rate for their customers. Remember that most bereavement rates are usually 15% to 25% off Rack Rate depending on where your property is positioned in the market. Funerals are not something people plan for, so when they have to travel and take off work, paying for a hotel room is usually not in the budget. Hotels that offer bereavement rates 9 times out of 10 will get the business.
If you have a small meeting room, let the funeral home know that if its not being used that you will allow them to let the families use it and bring in their own food n beverage. This is a great community gesture and will put you on the inside with your local funeral establishments. You never know who will be there locally and what they do for their own jobs. I have had numerous times that I have done this, and a person from the family thought it was a very nice gesture. They ended up holding their companies sales training at my property.
Ask For Business From Your Competition
I have had a lot of newer hotel owners look at me funny when I recommend this. I am not saying go and tell your competition down the street that your hurting for business, or what your key accounts are. I am simply saying build a rapport with area hotels sales managers, GMs, and Front Desk staff so on the nights that they are full, they will recommend people that are walking in, or calling to give you a try.
You never know what kind of business will come out of a relationship like this. You could become good friends with the DOS at the Best Western and she is working on a large piece of business, but she doesn't have all the rooms that they need so she remembers her friend and gives you a call.
Social Media Facebook, Twitter and Blogs
I am going to keep beating this into the ground, because I still hear that people do not have enough time for Social Media Marketing their properties. I am here to tell you, YOU NEED TO MAKE TIME!
With Facebook having over 900 million users, and Twitter boasting over 200 million users, that is a lot of eyes that you could be bringing to your property's website. It also gives a way for your loyal satisfied guests to tell their friends about your property. I am not going to go into all the nuts and bolts of building a good presence in social media because that is all a separate ball game, but you can read an article that we wrote a few weeks back on why some Hotels are missing the boat with Facebook by clicking here.
Get to work on these items and with in a week we will post part 2 of this post so you can continue marketing your hotel with out a Sales Director.