Since I have talked about goal setting this entire month, I thought I would end January with thoughts on how to actually succeed. Everywhere you look businesses are focusing on getting back to basics, and yet there are some leaders in the hospitality arena who are still trying to be ‘cutting edge’ without considering the actual customer or guest.
Let’s take the actual customer journey in sales and catering in the hotel industry. If you are in a different industry, there are many similarities to what I will share. General Managers, VPs of Sales, and Regional VP’s need to step into the life of a sales professional today. The inquiries, RFP’s and technology tools (like Cvent, Knowland and LinkedIn) have changed the competitive landscape. Selling in the industry today takes a ‘back to basics’ approach. Stop trying to complicate the sales and customer journey with convoluted sales strategies. Make sure your phones are answered by ‘live people with energy’ instead of having calls go to an automated message. Make sure there are sales professionals available to take the calls, have proactive sellers finding new business and stop making it difficult for a sales person to quote a rate or a price.
Every focus group we have done in the past 6 months with clients has supported these same thoughts. Stop making this so hard! We are in the hospitality business and we have lost the art good ol' fashion hospitality. Let’s find it!
It doesn’t stop at sales. We need General Managers to act as hosts again, meeting with guests and clients. We need guest rooms that are comfortable and workable. If you have the latest in AI technology and Alexa (who knows my every wish), GREAT! BUT - when the room is so cold and I can’t figure out how to change the temperature without an engineering degree, that is a real problem.
Beyond self-driving cars and robots serving your breakfast, maybe it is time to shake a hand, give a smile and welcome a guest back to your hotel.