Why are hotel sales teams so unsuccessful at selling their IT needs in to their own organizations? I've come across a seriously scarey number of hotel groups where sales people are still managing their daily activites, contacts and reporting via Excel and emails. And before someone says, 'why aren't they using the PMS?', that may be a reasonable solution at property level but it frequently leaves regional, national and international sales managers out in the cold. Which means that the team as a whole is not connected.
Part of the problem stems from a faulty but stubborn equation that's been embedded in the collective psyche of our industry for far too long: Technology = Operations. PMS? CRS? CIS? Pick whichever TLA you like, but the reality is that systems designed to manage the hotel operation (or the finance of course) attract all the attention and all the investment. The Sales team is left to scratch around 'making do' with either a bolt-on front end to the operating system or a stand-alone generic salesforce application that was designed to sell....well, just about anything but hotel rooms.
If a VP Sales is brave enough to embark on the road to a proper sales solution, watch how quickly the combined forces of IT, Operations and Finance hijack the show and turn a simple need - 'I'd like to create a more effective sales organization please' - into an enterprise-wide technology gorge-fest. The end result (should there be one at all) is a system that can calculate the VAT on a Venezuelan tour group but leaves our long-forgotten VP Sales wondering if regional sales bothered to call on IBM last week.
Call me old-fashioned, but is not sales the lifeblood of any hotel group? Yes it is. So give the team the tools to do the job!