by Alice P. Stapleton, Guest Blogger
Sales, like retail, is all about keeping up with the Joneses.
Making sure that our sales trainees and consulting clients know the importance of being a fresh and modern force in hospitality is a Dynamic Sales Solutions brass tack. Trends affect every industry, and if you’re not keeping up, staying competitive, and implementing improvements as part of your daily routine you may get left behind.
If you’re a hospitality sales professional or leader in the tourism industry who has been feeling that your industry knowledge “wardrobe” needs a seasonal upgrade, these tips for chic sales will help you take your pitch from drab to dapper – giving you the competitive edge you need to see positive sales growth.
Go Beyond Google Search
Google it. Go for it! You can and should be conducting organic internet searches that are focused on the tourism industry. But, since there is a plethora of information offered up with just a click of a mouse, it can sometimes become overwhelming. One of the best things you can do to avoid frustration when traveling through cyberspace is to take advantage of Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a free service by Google that can be connected directly to your Gmail or other email account. You can even add an extension to your Chrome browser that will generate automatic search engine results based on specific criteria you provide to Google. For instance, if you are interested in “upscale hotel dining in Chicago,” you can tell Google to send you news and other fresh content on a regular basis using the exact search phrase. Just remember – make your Google Alerts meaningful, and turn off old alerts that you no longer need. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming disenchanted with excessive notifications. Sign up only for those alerts that you can use to strategize.
Podcast a Wider Net
Lately, I seem to start every conversation with coworkers, family, or friends with, “I was listening to a podcast…” I’m sure it has become a bit excessive. But, I can’t tell you how much I have learned on a wide variety of topics! Podcasts are a great way to fill the minutes or hours of travel from one place to the next. Listen at the gym, on the subway, or while working in the garden. You’ll be amazed at how fun, trendsetting, and interesting the world of podcasting can be. Two of my favorite hospitality industry podcasts include:
“Fuel” has quickly become the podcast for hoteliers. It is hosted by Stuart Butler, a leading industry guru, and covers a wide range of topics. One of this show’s best features is Butler’s regular tips for quick and real-time marketing strategies that achieve real-time results in today’s bustling hotel environment. And with 83 episodes recorded – you’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
Innovative leaders from around the world join the host of the Lodging Leaders podcast to discuss anything and everything a hospitality professional might want to know or discover about the industry. This show currently boasts 147 casts, and is a go-to for those short breaks when you have 10-20 minutes to listen as opposed to an hour. From discussing remote check-in for the customer’s benefit, to reporting on large hotel surveys and the economy, Lodging Leaders has something for every leader in the travel business.
Get (and Stay) Current on the Competition
This may seem obvious. Of course you should know what your competitors are doing. But do you? What specials are the currently running? Are they having a seasonal sale? Have they begun some sort of improvement or capital project? You can discover a great deal about industry trends when you take a deep dive into what others are doing to encourage growth and longevity of their brand. Take time to read travel magazines and blogs that are regionally based. Also look at what the world’s tourism giants are encouraging their readers and followers to do with their upcoming vacation time. Talk to your local Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, or other economic development organization to find out what large conferences or tradeshows are being held in your area. Get creative by staying one step in front of your competition.
Trendsetting Takes Time
And like any work-related task, researching and analyzing the new, the outdated, and the ever-changing tendencies of tourism and travel is a chore that must be scheduled regularly to be effective. At Dynamic Sales Solutions, we hold firm to the idea that a professional’s schedule reflects what is important to him/her. If you believe that keeping up with industry trends is a crucial part of your success (and we assure you, it is!), you will schedule a regular time each week to perform routine tasks like reviewing your Google Alerts; adding those episodes you’d like to hear to your “Listen Later” list on your favorite podcast app; or looking into the latest deals being offered by your most fearsome competitors.