The kind where you go up a large set of stairs, enter a tube and slide down twisting and turning till you finally reach the bottom where you enter the water causing a huge splash.
It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Now what if you added an obstacle like a huge bump in the middle of the slide? And not just one, but one after another causing people to slow down to a crawl as they go down the slide. That would stop people from coming to the slide, wouldn’t it?
Now what if I told you that you’re adding obstacles just like the above when you respond to group leads (RFP’s).
Obstacles that are causing groups to book elsewhere
Removing these obstacles will instantly increase the number of group and meeting planners wanting to do business at your hotel.
So what are these obstacles? Below, you will find three of the most common ones.
- Obstacle 1: You’re taking too long to respond to group leads.
- Obstacle 2: Your proposals are dry and boring.
- Obstacle 3: You are not following up enough, if at all.
Let’s start with the most common obstacle.
Obstacle # 1: You’re taking too long to respond to group leads
Imagine someone stretches out their hand towards you. What do you do? Stretch out yours as well and shake their hand, right? Now imagine that I took four days to move my hand towards you.
How would that make you feel? Well that’s how a group planner feels when you don’t respond to their group request (RFP) in a timely manner.
According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review:
“Companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers as firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later. Yet only 37% of companies respond to queries within an hour.”
Your goal should be to respond to each lead in less than an hour. While you may not think that is possible, it is. This brings us to the next mistake, boring proposals.
Obstacle # 2: Your proposals are dry and boring
Most hotels send proposals that are hard to read, have confusing clauses and include no images. To top it off, many of these proposals are five to ten pages long filled with dry legalese that no one actually reads.
Instead, use best practices like:
- Include a great looking cover page that has some images of your meeting rooms (for a meeting room proposal) or an overnight room (for sports teams etc).
- Use a larger font, shorter paragraphs and lots of white space.
- Keep the proposal as short as possible including only things that are pertinent at that stage of the proposal.
- Include some reviews from previous groups planners
And once you’ve sent this super duper proposal, make sure you don’t lose them by making the mistake of not following up.
Obstacle # 3: You are not following up enough, if at all
One of the most glaring obstacles that a planner faces when dealing with hotels is a lack of follow up. For example, the average salesperson according to blah blah study only follows up three times after sending a proposal. Many only follow up once and what’s worse, a small percentage don’t bother with follow ups at all.
The problem with the lack of follow up is that only 50% of planners book their group within the first three follow up calls. The majority of planners (over 80%) book after seven follow ups.
As you can see, giving up on a prospect too early can be detrimental to the sales that you generate. So make sure to follow up with phone calls, and emails to ensure that you are still part of the equation.
If any of the obstacles above sound familiar, then you need to implement a system that helps you get rid it.
But implementing these changes is not that easy
Nothing worth doing is easy. It may take some time and you may need to talk to your higher ups to get these changes implemented, but it is well worth the effort. You don’t have to make all the changes at once.
Just start with something simple. Make more than seven follow up calls and once you see the difference, you’ll be more encouraged to try and spruce up that proposal of yours. Before you know it, you’ll be responding to group leads in less than an hour.
And groups will find themselves slipping straight down that water slide, right into your hotel.
What should you do next?
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