Jay Hartz, CHA is a former member of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants.
Is Your Hotel Sales Training a Train Wreck?
Hotel sales training is important, and as Ben Franklin quoted, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” I’m a lifelong veteran in the hotel industry, and over time, I’ve seen that not all hotel owners see training and development as an investment in their business. Some of the best hotel companies I’ve worked for invested in this training, but the inferior hotel groups did not. They saw this investment in training as an expense. Those hotel groups are what as I refer to as a train wreck.
There are many questions that we have to ask to try and determine why some hotel companies look at knowledge as an investment and others look at it as an expense. While it might be impossible to come up with the answers to all of these questions, I do have some ideas for why when dealing with hotel marketing, some companies look toward hotel sales training and others do not.
- Why is it that many owners/executives in our industry do not invest in hotel front desk training and developing their team?
- Is it that they have invested in training courses in the past, yet were unable to measure the ROI?
- Could it be that they strictly rely on the property brand to train their staff? Do they think this training from the brand is automatic, sufficient, or thorough?
- Do property owners think that their general manager will train the staff? Is their general manager an expert in all areas of the field? Do they have the time and/or take the time to train?
- Does an owner think that the hiring practices of his/her general manager is so streamlined and perfected that the staff being onboarded are already fully trained to sell?
- Is the owner so Nano-focused on the NOI that he/she doesn’t want to invest in hotel front desk training programs?
In my experience, whenever I would join a new organization or when somebody new joined my organization, it was always refreshing to hear and implement new ideas. Many of us have our own life experiences and track records that influenced our success or failure rates.
Bringing in outside influences to train a staff can help you increase revenue. Even if you have had some training to help with hotel marketing, a third party company can bring knowledge that isn’t well known amongst hotel owners and employees. Nobody knows it all, and every hotel in existence have areas in which they could improve upon. A consulting firm can also help because the staff will often be more receptive and open to learning when a topic is taught from an outside professional in the field.
Not only will the hotel staff learn specific new skills, but teaching them knowledge will motivate them and make them feel valued. When you invest in your employees, they can feel that. There simply are not enough of the great hotel companies out there that invest in their employees. Unfortunately, a lack of investment leaves revenue on the table that could be gathered from successful hotel marketing that goes beyond the status quo.
For example, let’s say your guest service agents are trained on a sales lead generation program. This program has a proven track record of digging up new leads for your sales team and general manager to follow up on. In turn, this should convert more travelers to your property. You invest $3,500 into this training program, and your ADR is $100. Once you sell an incremental 35 guest rooms, you have your investment back. Any additional room revenue generated from the program is your ROI. Keeping these goals and measuring the improvement is important, and it can really help fill your hotel.
If you are a hotel group that is thinking about investing in training, my advice is to go for it. Give it a try with an outside training program. Many are low cost, and you can see the results by measuring improvement and setting goals. Hold the consultant you have hired accountable of those results, and soon enough, your hotel’s revenue will increase from hotel sales training.
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