Jul 7, 2013
Increase Hotel Revenue By Using A Multi-Prong Approach
The hospitality industry is slowly waking up from a slumber it was forced into due to the recent economic downturn. Thankfully, things are looking up now and hotels are not wasting time making up for the low occupancy they had to endure. Incidentally, there are number of things that hotels can do to increase sales. The trick is to use a multi-pronged approach.
Discussed here are some strategic ways through which hotels can increase their sales and profit margin:
Smart and Systematic Approaches
Hotels need to adopt intelligent and organized approaches when it comes to increasing sales. This means using the resources they have or acquiring new resources to get the best outcomes.
- Use of an Intelligent Call Center Team: Every individual working in a hotel has specific tasks to perform. These individuals are trained for their jobs. Delegating work that is outside their sphere of expertise decreases efficiency and is a waste of time and resources. This is why hotels too should make use of call centers to answer calls. Typically, hotel call centers are responsible for handling reservations and providing answers to queries. However, professional call center staff is provided with intensive sales training. This puts them in a better position to reach customers and up-sell.
- Having Regular Meetings with Sales Staff: While it is easy to have meetings with hotel staff on a daily basis, the same does not hold true for sales staff. The reason is simple. Hotel sales staff does not work from the hotel. Instead they are spread across the country. Hence, having meetings with them like you do with normal hotel employees is difficult. These meetings are still important though because they give the sales associates road map to follow. The only way to have meetings though is through organizing conference calls on a weekly basis. Ensure that the agenda for these ‘meetings’ reaches the staff a couple of days in advance so that they know what to expect. These conference calls will allow you to look for ways to improve sales and close sales from generated leads. The meetings should establish a better understanding of the current market and address existing situations and how to increase sales under prevailing circumstances.
- High Quality Customer Service: When guests stay in hotels, they interact with front desk staff, housekeeping and kitchen staff. The type and quality of interaction they have with these various departments has a profound effect on guests. Accordingly, they form an opinion of the hotel. It therefore makes sense to train staff members in customer service. Encourage your staff to create the wow-factor with every interaction they have with guests.
- Forecast Realistically: It is important for hotel management to make forecasts as it helps them to ascertain their staffing needs. While hotels should give themselves competitive goals, forecasting should be realistic. This will prevent hotels from splurging and causing unnecessary waste. While it may be difficult to forecast in this fluctuating economic climate, ensuring that you have near accurate figures will allow you to utilize your resources the right way.
- Audits for Systems and Processes: It is necessary that hotels have regular audits, as it will allow them to close loopholes and streamline processes. While conducting an audit, make sure that you do not forget the booking system. Performing an audit of the booking system will allow the hotel to understand customers’ booking habits and patterns. This will help in making adjustments to maximize profits and will also allow you to gauge trends, identify possible problems and take corrective measures.
Focus on Customers
While hotels are looking to increase sales, they often forget to concentrate on their long-term, loyal customers. This is a big mistake. These people are repeat customers and help increase sales.
- Enticing Old Customers Back: Typically, hotels maintain records of customers that go back several years. Never discard these records. Instead, sit down and study them to find out what it was that brought these customers to your hotel. You can get the hotel call center to get in touch with these customers to find out why they stopped using your hotel. You can entice them back with a tempting offer.
- Get Current Customers to Return: Do not look at your existing customers based on their current purchases. Instead think of ways you can sell other services and products to them to get them to return to your hotel.
- Find Fresh New Customers: If you have tried attracting old customers back and current ones are not interested, it is time to start afresh and attract a new set. Learn from past mistakes and do not repeat them this time around. Getting new customers to stay in hotels is often a time-consuming and costly affair. So have a target market in mind before you embark on this job. If you have a proper plan in place to attract new customers to the hotel, you will get good return on your investment.
Increase Revenue with New Goals
It often feels safe to stay within your comfort zone. However, if you want to increase the revenue of your hotel, you have to set up new goals for hotel’s general manager and sales department. When new goals are established, they can help increase the hotel’s revenue, but only if these goals are incorporated into the sales process.
- Use Audio-Visuals: Technology has advanced substantially and your hotel’s online presence can further be enhanced by using audio-visuals. It will allow you to highlight the beauty of the hotel and other aspects to potential customers. Get your hotel’s sales team to use audio-visuals to up-sell different services that the hotel has to offer. Give them goals so that they know what they have to achieve and by when. Audio-visuals can give your hotel a competitive edge.
- Have a Full-fledged Business Center: Many hotel guests require certain services, such as printing, making photocopies and using the internet. It would be advisable to have Wi-Fi available at the hotel as many people now use smartphones and need wireless internet connectivity. This is a valuable service that your customers will appreciate, especially business travelers. Business travelers prefer hotels that can make their lives easy by providing facilities such as fax machines, spare laptops and printers. They can easily become repeat customers if they have a good experience and will not be averse to recommending the hotel to others.
- Provide Banquet Facilities: Many hotels forget that they can also market their banquet facilities to customers. By hosting wine tastings, special menus and food fairs, the hotel can attract more people. Encouraging offices, corporations and large groups to host private banquet dinners, get-together and meetings at the hotel is also highly recommended as it works as another source of income.
- Hotel Review Websites: Today, travelers no longer check listings in guidebooks. They prefer going online and checking hotel reviews that other guests have written on hotel review sites. Hotels should participate actively in these sites by responding to every review, be it positive or negative. It proves to readers that the hotel cares, and they in turn will be more likely to consider such a place. Furthermore, in weekly meetings the negative reviews should be discussed and brainstorming should be done to come up with adequate solutions. Responding to reviews allows a hotel to build a long-term relationship with their guests. By checking the responses the hotel issues to reviews, potential guests can learn a lot about the hotel’s ambiance and staff.
Even in a thriving economy, hotels need to be on their toes to ensure bookings. Strategic moves and smart use of a sales force can help bring in profits. Hotels can make use of a combination of the above listed strategies, depending on their specific requirements, and create a winning sales plan. Strong efforts in the right direction will definitely help increase sales and profits.
Hospitality, Hospitality Industry, Hotel Manager, Hotels
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