Both applicants have the same qualifications except for one difference.
One of them has several letters of recommendations from a past employer in the same industry as yours.
Who do you hire? Most of us would hire the guy with the glowy recommendations.
Because the recommendations gave the applicant additional credibility
The same kind of credibility a customer review gives when you include it in your group proposal. And yet, most group sales managers don’t use reviews when they respond to RFP’s
Instead, they create generic proposals that include information on your rates and availability. And this does not help differentiate the hotel. What they don’t realize is that reviews act like little votes of confidence given by previous groups.
And planners, being customers, trust reviews
In fact, in the 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey 72% of the customers surveyed said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. But you can’t just use any group review. Because if you end up using the wrong reviews, you may end up hurting your proposal more than anything else.
In order to understand what kind of reviews to include in your proposals, here are some guidelines.
Short cheery reviews are worthless in proposals
So if you have a review that says something like:
“Our group had a great time. It was convenient for our team and we were very satisfied with the accommodations”.
There is nothing wrong with the review above except that it lacks detail. A planner who is looking to book a group will not be too impressed. Rather than short fluffy reviews, use reviews with lots of details.
Because details answer questions the planner did not even know they had
When a planner sends an RFP, they ask the same basic questions. They ask about rates and availability. But what they really want to know is the following:
- Will the hotel staff (including you) take care of the group while they are in house
- How easy is the sales manager to work with? How responsible are they?
- Do the hotel have a good track record?
- How good is their customer service? Do they own up to mistakes and fix them or do they make excuses.
If you want to really impress the person reading your group proposal, than you need to include reviews that answer some of the questions above.
Let’s look at an example:
Here is a review that a guest left for a family reunion.
Do you see how detailed it is?
It shows that the hotel has renovated, has proven to be consistent and takes care of its groups. Imagine the effect this kind of review would have if you were to include it in your proposal for a family reunion.
Let’s look at another example of a review from a meeting.
This one is shorter but it speaks highly about the quality of the food. And that’s something that a planner is always unsure of. By having reviews about the quality of the food, you’re helping remove that fear from the planners mind.
Finally, let’s look at a wedding review
As you can see, the review goes over how perfect everything was at the wedding. It even mentioned the name of staff members which gives even more credibility to the hotel.
Having detailed reviews like the one above can have a significant impact on how your hotel is perceived by a group.
But what if you don’t have reviews from groups?
You need to start asking for them from every group that checks out of your hotel. Once a group checks out, send them an email and ask them for a review online. Something like:
“I’m glad you had such a great time at your event. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you and think you did such a great job organizing the event. If you have a moment, I would appreciate you taking a few minutes and writing a review online about how employee X came through in the clutch for you. I know seeing his name online will make his day. Thank you again, and I’ll reach out to you again in a week or so to iron out next years dates.”
Building up a library of reviews will take time and effort on your part but the benefits far outweigh the time it will take for you to get them.
In summary, including reviews will help increase your hotels credibility
Using detailed reviews from real group planners will make your group proposal much more attractive than your competitors. And once you understand their importance, you’ll never send a proposal without one.
Or apply for a job without recommendations.
What should you do next?
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