How Effective Are Your Hotel Sales Teams?

It might be hard to believe, especially if you have ever asked a salesperson how they do their job, but there is an actual selling process. Often, salespeople are vague or reticent to share their secret, preferring people to believe their success is based on sales talent versus a more tried and true methodology to make a sale.

Whether booking a meeting, catering event, or even a transient reservation, winning business is based on a step-by-step process that includes building rapport, talking about the hotel benefits vs. feature-dumping, and closing the sale, to name a few. By following this time-proven technique, a salesperson has a greater chance of closing more business, often with less work.

How do you know if every salesperson is following the process effectively? The only way to truly know this is by hiring a mystery shop company that understands the sales process. It means contacting each sales manager with a crafted scenario specific to their territory and scoring their responses based on how they handle the lead. These scenarios can also be developed to understand other aspects of the sales process, such as how tenacious the salesperson is when given need period business, how comfortable they are with selling higher rates during peak season, and upselling suites and more food and beverage events. Even the different modes of communication such as phone and email can be assessed to determine effective oral and written conversation skills.

There are several mystery shop companies. My favorite is ShopTalk 20/20, but there are others. Not only will they identify if the salesperson is following the process, but they will also advise how effective they are at each step. Most important, and one of the often delayed or even forgotten steps, is timely follow-up with promised material, a written proposal, as well as the all-important follow-up call after the proposal.

The mystery shop is a powerful tool and can even be used to see how effectively your competitors are handling leads. Recently, I did this for a resort and documented competitive sales strengths, areas of opportunities, how to sell against each competitor (based on their sales team), and best practices. It was a valuable exercise that led them to reenergize their sales training efforts with all sales managers to win more business.


The sales department is arguably the most important instrument to drive revenue, and yet their process often remains a mystery. Engaging a mystery shop company will help the hotel better manage the sales process and more importantly, what can be modified to gain even more business.


"It's not about having the right opportunities. It's about handling the opportunities right."
Mark Hunter

If you would like to hear more about how to improve revenue, simply reach out to Jo-Anne at
[email protected]

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