I was going to give you my top ten and I could probably even go on but I was only given 600 words so you just get the first 5. This isn’t meant to be a “rip on the hotel” article, but more of an opportunity for improvement article. My husband loves to tell me that I can’t take constructive criticism so I won’t even use that word less people get defensive like me. Below are a few things that I feel hotels could benefit from if they made some simple adjustments in their day-to-day business practices.
1. LOVE ‘EM AND LEAVE ‘EM Hotel sales is a relationship building job, not a sell business and move on type of job. How long does it take for a hotel sales person to stop by the registration desk at SOME point during the meeting to say hi. Don’t you think this will strengthen your chances for future business?
Now that brings me to hotel chain that doesn’t house their hotel sales people on property, and you know who you are. At least train the “field” sales people on the product they sell. Many of them don’t even know if there is an office behind the existing registration desk. That doesn’t build confidence in what they are selling.
2. SITE INSPECTION. GM’s and/or Directors of Sales should at least show up for a minute to show us that you care about the meeting we are hopefully bringing to your hotel. I could do a survey on how many hotels lost business because the competition (who may not have even been competition) beat you out by being prepared for the site and showing that not only they value the business, but their management values the business.
3. WEBSITE WAKE UP. Hotels should have a quick fact sheet on the front page of their website. Many times we have very basic questions we need to know right off the bat, ie: # of sleeping rooms; # of meeting rooms; distance to the airport; is the hotel wireless. Make it easy for the planner to find that information; it may even help your transient guests.
4. HOTEL BROCHURES and even worse, bulky funky sized hotel brochures. Hotels are more than happy to send us e-proposals but why are you still giving us obnoxious hotel kits when we walk in the door. It is nice to have a few for those planners that want to see one but maybe you could come up with a user friendly space diagram brochure. One that you can actually write on with pen or pencil that doesn’t smear. Now that would be a tool worth producing. Put your glossy print budget into a better more interactive website.
5. E-PROPOSALS – WHY do hotels use e-proposals? As I sit on a plane writing this article it just reminds me how irritated I get when I receive an e-proposal. First: you can’t open it on a plane or if you aren’t in a wireless area and; second: if you want to review it a few weeks later many times the password has expired. If you are required by your management to send an e-proposal, do your homework; ask the planner first if they would like a PDF of the proposal to accompany the e-proposal.
Oh and just a side note for the national hotels chains, could you add a search button on your websites that allows planners to search by hotel size, # of rooms specifically.
If hotels would take the time to bring local planners in for “think tanks” once a year, I’m certain that the valued information they get would grow their business. There is nothing a seasoned planner likes better than to talk about how to improve the hotel experience. There are so many great changes going on in our industry, let’s work together to make the meetings the best that they can be.