The sales manager guide to open the hotel is part of the critical path series for all departments.
When you open a hotel, having a checklist gives you an idea of how to progress with your work.
A critical path is one such document that will give detailed instruction about the task you need to do to achieve success.
If you are opening a hotel, this article will be helpful for you if you work in the sales department. If you are a hotel general manager this page on opening a hotel will provide you with some additional resources.
Your role as Sales Manager
As a head of the sales team in the hotel, your role is critical during the opening of the hotel. You will have to position the hotel and market it to ensure that the hotel is successful.
You will also need to hire and train the sales team members to perform to expected standards and all this while the market condition is constantly changing.
In the sales manager guide to opening a hotel, we will discuss some key milestones that you may need to achieve to successfully open the hotel.
Upto 6 months out
- Understand the market and the competition: One of the key task for you as a sales head in the opening phase of the hotel will be to understand the market and competition and position your hotel accordingly. In order to do that you may have to visit the competition, do a SWOT analysis ( Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) and decide where you want to compete.
- Develop a desired segmentation of business: Depending on your positioning of the hotel, you will attract a business mix. Decide what will be your core business. Main segments include business travellers vs leisure guest. Or will you focus on MICE and Weddings. Your hotel design will also help you decide on the segmentation that you would like to focus on.
- Hire Sales Team: Once you have an idea of the geography and your market segmentation, hire the team immediately, so that they can start developing their network and contacts to help sell the hotel. If you are planning to hire a GSA or a sales affiliate in other markets where you are not located, shortlist and begin negotiating terms.
- Identify the list of trade shows and event which provide opportunity to showcase the hotel: Throughout the year, there are trade shows and B2B events to help promote the hotel. Make a list and identity shows that are relevant and important to you. Plan to attend these shows to sell your hotel.
Upto 3 months out
- Create one page hotel brochure: For immediate distribution to sales team so that they can introduce the hotel to the potential guest. Include key information like details of rooms, food and beverage outlet and banquet halls, facilities and amenities and distance from key areas you target audience will want to travel to.
- Train the sales team: Your sales team may be experienced. But you have to train them on your hotel and target audience. Conduct 15 minutes of training daily talking about the hotel and its USP and how you can sell them. Give them access to online learning that can help them improve their selling skills.
- Develop marketing tools: Your hotel may be developing a website. Your inputs will be critical in identifying USP that can be used to develop the sales copy. Work with a marketing agency to create brochures, flyers and email templates that you can use. If you do not have an agency, you can try Canva – An online that is a great for designing marketing material on the go.
- Share the progress with your General Manager: Keep the general manager updated on your sales and marketing effort so that he can further discuss and streamline the positioning. The general manager will also communicate the key dates for opening and if there is any delay with the opening.
- Develop a 3 year plan to hit key milestones: When opening a hotel, you will see a period of ramp up. Now is the time to develop a plan to address that. This plan should cover your action plan and strategy to get to RevPAR 1 or 2 within 3 years.
- Hold webinar and meeting with key GSA: If you hired a GSA in any market to sell your hotel, hold regular meetings with them to talk about the progress of the hotel. Share relevant images and progress photos to help them understand the pace of the hotel building.
- Develop a Rate strategy: Along with your sales team and the revenue team, decide on the volume discount that you will give your corporate accounts. This is called the discount chart of depth of sales
One month out
- Plan property show around: Around a month from opening, plan for property show around for key B 2 B partners and corporates. Engage with them so that they may consider moving some business to your hotel as you open.
- Set up regular sales calls: Sales calls, sales blitz and other key sales activity must begin and you must develop tracking mechanism for them. Have sales meetings daily to discuss key wins and opportunities.
- Plan a reward and recognition program: Consult your GM and introduce a rewards program in the hotel for key partners and bookers to help with sales.
- Activate Marketing plans: Identify and hire a marketing or PR agency and other consultants based on your strategy and budgets. If you do not have a budget to hire a PR agency, use this template to make your plan.
- Get a property photoshoot done: Your website needs good quality photo. Hiring a professional photographer is probably the best investment you can make for a channel where images speak. Most OTA require high quality photos and you must absolutely plan one for your hotel. If you have multiple food and beverage options, plan for a specialist food photographer as well.
- Plan for opening launch party: A launch party is a great way to showcase your hotel and introduce your future guest to the hotel. It should be planned to include potential customers, and b2b partners.
- Review Strategy: Check if the strategy you made in the previous months are holding in the real world and your occupancy is picking up. If not adjust it to provide desired results.
- Ongoing activities: You must keep a regular check on the competition and you own progress.
These are the key tasks you need to complete prior to opening the hotel as a sales manager. I am sure there will be many other micro tasks you will need to complete.
If you are looking for a critical path to open the hotel for all departments, purchase this file to assist you with information for the hotel.
With a little bit of organisation and planning, your role as an opening sales head will be a breeze. Best wishes for your hotel opening.
And if you are interested in training your team, do check out our training plans for hotels