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The Evolution of Hospitality Sales – By HSMAI's Rising Sales Leaders Council

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The Evolution of Hospitality Sales

By HSMAI’s Rising Sales Leaders Council Industry Evolution Workgroup 

In 2022, a diverse task force of HSMAI Rising Sales Leader Council members aligned to explore our industry’s most recent evolution. Amidst a major turning point for domestic and international travel rebounding from COVID-19, we aimed to find consistencies, gain understanding, and share real-world experience in the evolution of the sales process. Our focus was two-pronged: to research current trends in hospitality sales and customer needs. This is not meant to summarize the early stages of the pandemic that included worldwide lockdowns and closed businesses, but rather examine the recovery within the new landscape. Since each participant holds a different sales position within the hospitality industry, we were able to experience different perspectives and compile a variety of things we’ve noticed shift as a result of the global pandemic. 

Over the course of the pandemic and well into our recovery, many hotels were forced to shut down, remain temporarily closed, or operate with extremely limited capacity due to government restrictions and decreased demand. As a result, hotel sales teams had to quickly adapt with more lean processes and creative new strategies to attract guests, improve their experience, and generate revenue for their property. Many of these strategies have remained in place even after the fact, as they have proven to be helpful, resourceful, and a seemingly natural transition for our industry in their own respects. 

These changes are likely to become commonplace even after the pandemic ends, as the industry naturally conforms to new consumer behaviors and preferences. On the other hand, there continues to be lingering effects from the damage the pandemic has done to the workforce. Some of the most difficult issues still facing the hospitality industry today are related to staffing shortages and employee retention. These challenges affecting the labor market have forced everyone to rethink their daily processes and organizational structure. When comparing different approaches to these challenges, we saw some common themes. 

Taking these measures is a great place to start if you’re having difficulty figuring out how to best adapt your hotel or business to this new norm. With limited resources, it can be challenging to continue meeting the expectations of your customers, which have also evolved over the last couple years. Many clients now have key needs, and on the flip side deal-breakers, that are much more important now than they ever were in the past. 

Since travelers are seeking more personalized and unique experiences that prioritize health and safety, these trends are also expected to stick around after the pandemic. Lastly, we’ve seen some other interesting consistencies among our peers: 

The global pandemic may have forced a hard reset upon travel and all its sectors, but our sales professionals have emerged more capable, more experienced, and more prepared than ever. Additionally, the companies they work for have adapted to become more effective with streamlined processes. In our rapidly changing travel industry, there is constant evolution. With new inventive sustainability efforts and further technological advancements such as artificial intelligence on the rise, it’s only a matter of time until we start seeing those effects that will inspire further progression.

Posted by on March 16, 2023.

Categories: Sales and Marketing

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