Let’s ask Google …
What is the role of sales and marketing in the hospitality industry?
“A Sales and marketing manager is responsible for maximizing a hotel’s revenues by developing programmes to increase occupancy and make profitable use of its accommodation, meeting and leisure facilities. … The Sales and marketing team has a substantial influence on the profitability of the business”.
Is that the result you expected to return onto your screen ?
“A substantial influence on the profitability of the business”. Responsible for “maximizing revenues”. How does such responsibility make the sales and marketer feel and indeed the business owner who must entrust an individual with this degree of responsibility?
Does the responsibility of the role weigh heavily on that individual and indeed equally do others understand the purpose of their job fully? It is a huge amount of responsibility. Or is it?
What about the overall team and the belief that we are “in it together”? A team that is united in their objective to maximize revenues. I firmly believe a united team is more likely to succeed, than the employees who separate out into an ethos of ‘my job’ and ‘your job’. Yes, we each have our function don’t get me wrong, but survival and success is ultimately the responsibility of all.
Yes, sales and marketing are an art and a skill which must be taught and which with life learning can be enhanced and empowered. Therefore, accountability for decisions reached must lie within the sales and marketing team. Indeed, many sales and marketing people regardless of their ability often feel powerless to promote growth and change if the culture around them doesn’t operate in an inclusive manner. So, let’s break it down. Who is responsible for the “profitability of the business” and how can we together “increase revenues” and generate profitability within a positively charged and sustainable business environment?
The operational team on the ground is paramount to ensuring delivery and standards, any customer can show up on our doorstep once, provided of course you have a good product and / or a good sales and marketing team that finds you that initial customer! But to obtain repeat custom becomes the responsibility of the customer facing operational team, they must pull out all the stops and ensure that customer will want to return.
Then we have our events teams, reservations revenue team and indeed our sales and marketing teams. How do we get them all to work together and ensure the business is reaching its maximum potential?
As a sales and marketing consultant I have been asked on numerous occasions to provide a presentation to senior management on the importance of sales and marketing. My first question always is “do you want a presentation where the onus is on all the team to make it happen?” As in; what is your core value as the most senior person in the organization? If everyone sees their worth and value, both in themselves and their colleagues, then the battle to succeed is half won before my input. So, once I know everyone is ready to get on board then ultimately for me, it’s firstly to turn our focus on identifying market segments relevant to the business.
A hotel reliant on the corporate market for strong accommodation sales, intertwined with leisure, family leisure, conference and tour operator business is ultimately going to need a good revenue manager that is very tightly interlinked with the sales and marketing team.
A hotel with a strong wedding trade is heavily reliant on the operations team if they are going to build on the number of weddings they host per annum and indeed if they are going to be able to drive the rate charged per guest in attendance.
So now we’ve covered off market segments relevant to driving accommodation sales. We’ve also mentioned weddings and we can pop conferences into the same category as weddings, in that the operational team is key in terms of delivering reliable and consistent service to a conference.
That leaves us with food and beverage and again how do we operate without an operations team? Without people on the floor to service our guests, we don’t exist. There is also huge emphasis required on training within the operational team as ultimately there is no point in investing heavily on sales and marketing to drive customers to your door if the standards are not delivered upon.
But not all the responsibility is with operations, it must be balanced. I mentioned earlier sales and marketing is a skill which is taught and enhanced upon with life experiences, it is that skill which needs to come to the fore. To know when to promote, how to brand, where and how to go to market. Proactive sales versus reactive sales. Online and offline marketing, they are all skills that must be brought together in a defined and easy to understand effective sales and marketing strategy. A good sales and marketing person should identify your market segments, target audience and ideal customer. Thus, developing a strategy to target each key market relevant to the business.
To do this everyone must work together. Feedback good or bad, customer reviews should all be openly discussed at weekly HOD meetings, to ensure marketing is not promoting a service that operationally on the ground is running into difficulty.
So, do you see the difficulty if the left hand (office teams such as sales and marketing) don’t work in tandem with the right hand (operations), none of us can function. Any property will get a certain amount of footfall, but they won’t obtain their true potential in terms of guest numbers. Operations must communicate clearly with sales and marketing and visa versa to agree the standards of operation and the customer experience offering, so that sales and marketing can promote and advertise correctly and effectively.
The offering must be defined and understood by all, so that the message sent to our target audience via the sales and marketing team is clear; and indeed the service the customer receives matches what we are selling. Likewise, everyone needs to invest time into identifying various methods of upselling to our customers, and these methods are best developed together.
Now that we have explained the need for each other, let’s with future articles over the coming weeks breakdown the key functions of a:
- Sales and Marketing Strategy
- Revenue Manager
- Events and Operations Team
I’m Alva Pearson of Pearson Consulting, I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, I provide direct support to developing businesses keen to realise their growth potential. Feel free to contact me [email protected], 087 1705468.