Category Archives: Sales & Marketing

Millennials Now 1 of 3 American Employees

Pew Research Center reports that one in three American workers are millennials.

46% of millennials embrace business travel.

Millennials are looking for unique experiences. Many reject cookie-cutter chain offerings. They are looking for hotels that are trendy or at least well maintained. Millennials are looking for something unique.

So how can your hotel meet their expectations?

We all are hearing about massive data. What can you do if your hotel lacks technology to collect that data?

Collect your own data. That’s easy. After collecting data you have to act on it.

-Collecting month and day of guest birthdays allows you to send email birthday cards. Many services offer them. Better yet. Anniversary dates so you can offer them an anniversary package.

-Ask if there is any specific information their spouse loves to know about. Then provide it 3-4 times a year.

-Why are they in town? Knowing “why” enables you to better service them and know about return visits.

Quote of the Day-Sept. 6, 2015

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Henry Ford

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist the founder of the of Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique for mass production.

Capitalism and You

Recent Pew poll indicated only 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism.

Yet, according to United Nations, poverty has declined more in last 50 years than in the previous 500 years. Adjusted for inflation, incomes have tripled in last 50 years.

Human beings, technology combined with capital markets create a problem solving machine that enables the decline in poverty.

Free market system has a severe branding problem.

John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods  has written excellent book, Conscious Capitalism.  He points out four values of business:

1. Business is good because it creates value.
2. Business is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange.
3. Business is noble. It can elevate our existence as high as our talents will take us.
4. Business is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.

Capitalism is about meeting people’s wants and needs.

Each of us in business need to start branding capitalism positively by reinforcing the above points with our employees and with social contacts we meet.

Degenerate Capitalism Returns…Again

Degenerate Capitalism is term that’s starting be thrown around…again. Term originally used may years ago by economist Dr Kurt Richebacher. Degenerative capitalism occurs when a capitalist economy is taken over by the financial markets. When economists view economic data only on the basis of what impact the data has on the immediate financial markets.

In 1970’s economists universally agreed a nation needs savings to assure prosperity. Fast forward to 2013 and we have the view that consumer spending makes any nation prosperous. If deficit spending by the government is bad, then deficit spending by consumers has got to be equally bad. Media, economists, and Federal Administration (and many states) are ignoring it.

In healthy economies, consumption has to be fueled by production. Americans are getting poorer at rate of 2.3% per year.

What’s implication for our industry?

  1. Look for industries that are expanding production and increasing their margins.  Get greater share of your business from them.
  2. Recognize that general public is going to have less and less to spend every year.
    How much of your business is dependent on discretionary spending by the consumer? How successful can your business be going after a shrinking percentage of upper middle class Americans? Can you upgrade your amenities as fast as chains think you should, and still keep the margins you want?
    If not, what’s your plan? Those that anticipate will do ok, others will lose profits…too quickly .
  3. Use creative thinking to identify how to restructure hotels to a different business mix.
    Perhaps you can rent out some rooms to professional businesses that have base of customers coming to town consistently. Office services you currently provide can help those businesses reduce expenses. Then get tie in to have those customers stay at your hotel rooms. Means their customers can do business without having to leave your hotel…reducing their expenses. Many hotels already have tie-ins with local restaurants to deliver meals. Done right, you may not need that expensive franchise affiliation. Or you can get a less expensive affiliation without losing rate.

Industry emphasis has been expanding/upgrading amenities. That’s forcing businesses to go after the same upscale customers…a customer base that is increasingly affluent…but declining in numbers. How long will you be competitive in that environment? Maintain your desired profit margins? Understand if the overall market by your hotels is upgrading, staying the same, or starting to slip.

Like all businesses…to thine own self be true. Trust me, the franchisors are.

Turn Every Option into Opportunity

Every day we have opportunities to turn contacts into opportunities. We may be working room at an event or conference, on business appointment, or just create an opportunity for a chance encounter with someone we don’t know.  We never know when an introduction or contact will generate unexpected business.

Laura Schwartz, author and former Director of Events during the Clinton Administration,  described Clinton as excellent multitasker. But when it was time to meet people he totally focused on the people in front of him. He referred to it as “It’s showtime.” She says”We must be present to win. When we’re present, we’re going to learn more and give more and that’s when we will have the moment that will change our lives.

Focus on what you can do for the person you are talking to. Don’t think about what that person can do for you. Until you listen carefully you won’t know what either of you can do for each other. Laura said Larry King used to say “I never learned anything when I was talking.” Listening allows us to gather information. That can fuel ideas and potential working relationships.

Two key points she makes:

  •  “Meetings and events are most effective way to communicate messages.”
  • “We do not host events. We host guests.”

 

Laura Schwartz was Director of Events during the Clinton Administration.There she was responsible for more than 1,000 White House events. Today she is professional speaker, television commentator, master of ceremonies for non-profit events, and author of Eat, Drink, and Succeed.

Above from cover story in Feb. 2104 Smart Meetings. SmartMeetings.com

After the Election-Business Slow Down?

No matter who wins the election, expect a lot of uncertainty between November and year end.

What can you do now to protect your business?

Here are key things Congress has to address between the election and year end. Things they can’t postpone:

-Raising the debt ceiling
-Extending tax cuts
-Figuring out a way to avoid, or at least delay, automatic budget cuts.
-Extending jobless pay…again.

It’s unlikely a lame duck congress will agree on much of anything. If they don’t massive cuts in government will automatically trigger.

Addressing these are likely to increase business costs, interest rates are likely to climb, taxes will sure go up. All thinks that can dampen this business recovery.

As a business what can you do to insulate yourself from the above?

ANTICIPATE!

Be more aggressive in pinning down business for the last quarter. Start those marketing efforts early and have as many contracts signed as possible BEFORE the election. Don’t get wrapped up in who’s going to win. Remember, above problems have to be addressed no matter who wins.

Start booking holiday business in advance. Public and business may well start to reduce their travel plans right after the election. That typically results in rate cutting. Booking business in advance can protect rate.

Conversely, go slow when negotiating with vendors for 2013. Wait until after the election if possible.

Anticipate Guest Needs, Then Personalize

Do you remember the last time your hotel anticipated a guest need? Which employee did the anticipating?

Does your blog feature the guest experience when a need was anticipated? Does your blog include guest comments, attributed to the specific guest? When the comments are negative do you identify how you have solved the issue for future guests?

Does your staff talk about ways guest and employee needs were anticipated every week? How much staff meeting time is spent talking about anticipating guest and employee needs?

Does your hotel track when guest needs have converted into additional revenue? How profitable those incremental revenues were?

Hotels that provide great guest service are more profitable. They also anticipate guest needs to minimize “surprises.”

Have a success you would like to share?

Getting Personal with Your Communications

We hear a lot about the importance of appealing to the personal interests of your audience when using Social Media. Isn’t it just as important in all aspects of communications…marketing materials, PR, job postings, internal bulletin boards, emails, etc?

All communications need to be narrowed to the exact audience you are trying to reach.

Big companies use ‘landing pages’ in social and electronic media to guide users to those sections that appeal most to the user.

Each of us need to do the same thing when we communicate. We are in the employment business. We see many companies writing very broad based ads when they have specific skill sets they need. Then they wonder why most of the candidates that apply are unqualified.

Identifying the right audience is critical. I talked to F&B Director at hotel that has outside entrance for their outlets. They have email lists of local customers that frequent each restaurant and lounge. Each week they go out with a very short email telling customers what is going on in the outlet they frequent most, with links to their blog about what’s happening in other outlets. Then they write something similar for their blog. Last they prepare a simple 8 1/2 x 11 flyer to distribute at the Front Desk when guests sign in for the weekend. That sheet describes what is happening in each outlet. Four different communications, but all with similar information so preparation is quick.Results? Sales for 2011 in F&B outlets were up 40%.

What can you do today to better target your communications to make your job easier? (And ‘wow’ your boss?

Handling Brush Off Objections

Jim Domanski offers a Sales Trainer Newsletter. To learn more about Jim, www.teleconceptsconsulting.com How to effectively handle brush off objections is equally important for job seekers as it is for sales people. Matter of fact, regardless of our job, we all deal with brush offs. The key is getting past the brush off. Jim’s suggestion below is working very well for us.

The “I’m not sure I understand…” Technique.

This technique is extremely versatile. You can use it for a large variety of brush off objections and get stunning results. Best of all, it’s easy to learn and use because there are only five words:

I’m not sure I understand.

This objection handling technique is extremely effective at getting the client to ‘open’ up and further expand on the objection. By doing so, you are able to determine if the objection is indeed real and genuine or if it is false and hiding something else. If it is genuine, you can respond accordingly and confidently. If it is false, you can probe until the real and authentic objection rears it’s head.

To Apply the Technique.

The next time you get a brush off, simply say these words,

“I’m not sure I understand…”

Simple, eh? That’s all there is to it.

Watch Your Delivery and Tone

Delivery and tone are vital to maximize your results. The words should be uttered sincerely and with sense of confusion in your voice. In effect, you want to sound surprised or bewildered when the client ‘wants to think about it’ or ‘wants to wait a couple of weeks’ or whatever.

Then let silence work its magic. Don’t elaborate. Don’t speak further. Silence on the phone is perceived as three to six times longer than it really is. In a non face-to-face environment, silence creates a sense of discomfort. Your client will literally itch to fill the void and say something.

Your words, your tone and your silence will work collectively on your client and almost immediately, he’ll feel the need to expand on the brush off objection. He will feel the need to justify it or to explain further so that you will better understand. And in doing so, the client will often give you the real reason for the objection or if the objection is indeed authentic, they’ll discuss if further.

Whatever the case may be, you now have better and more accurate information by which to gauge your response.

Summary

This technique is truly one of the best-kept secrets. Master it and you’ll get phenomenal results. Good Selling!