A General Manager is making one of those rare state visits into the sales department. The room falls silent."Who's he?" whispers one of the interns. The GM clears his throat and announces.. "At 2pm this afternoon the global travel managers of IBM, Accenture, BP, Exxon, Chevron and Pfizer will all be in the hotel. They're interested in including this property in their programs for next year and want to negotiate a deal." There's a brief pause while this momentous proclamation sinks in, quickly followed by excited chatter and a buzz of anticipation. "I'd love to greet them personally", adds the GM,"but this afternoon I have to review the plans for the new spa....so it's over to you." And with that he turns on his heel and leaves. All eyes converge on the Director of Sales. "Well, what an amazing opportunity" she says, "This is one for you, Jenny". Jenny the sales coordinator freezes mid-bite of her tuna sandwich and looks around slightly alarmed. "Me?...errr...OK then.. let me make some notes...how do you spell Exxon...?"
Ridiculous? Maybe the bit about the travel managers showing up at the hotel is a little unusual. But the scene is not so far from the truth when those same opportunities are presented to the property electronically via an RFP. Too many hotels are conditioned to believe that replying to RFPs is an administrative burden to be endured rather than a sales opportunity to be exploited. The task of responding is given to the most junior member of the team and provided that the bid response meets the deadline, not enough time or energy is devoted to the quality of the offer. Just because the client is sitting at a desk 2,000 miles away does not change the fact that a sales negotiation is underway that needs a serious sales approach to be sure of securing maximum business at an optimal rate.
So as 2011 unfolds and those RFPs hit the inbox, I recommend that hotel sales people imagine the corporate travel managers sitting in the lobby waiting to read their response. And, of course, make the whole process a whole lot easier by using Nexus. Happy New Year!