Front Desk Sales (Increase your revenue opportunity with this ONE simple question)

Sales are the lifeline for any successful hotel

We’ve all heard it before. The famous lines from our front desk agents: “I’m not a salesperson. I don’t do sales. That’s the sales department’s job.”

The truth is, that sales are the lifeline for any successful hotel. And while a lot of hotels have sales departments, or a salesperson to handle it, there’s a secret weapon that most hotels don’t even think to utilize to generate more revenue. 

I use this reference a lot when working with front desk teams:

“If you take a look at Amazon and how they have been able to grow such a robust, trillion-dollar company it’s not from selling items online at a huge discount. Their success comes from being able to generate more revenue from sales that have already occurred. It’s being able to collect data on their consumer, then taking that data and retargeting it which allows them to generate more sales.”

Your front desk team should ask this ONE simple question

Now when we look at our front desk teams, we do so with the understanding that they are also our salesforce. They are the ones engaged daily and down to the minute with guests. Front desk agents being able to engage in conversation to learn more about the needs of the guest are so critical. When a guest comes to check-in, having your front desk team ask them a simple question can generate thousands of dollars in more revenue.

What’s bringing you into the area?

This simple question has the potential to become a high-revenue generating lead for your hotel. Asking a guest what’s bringing them into the area is a question that oftentimes opens up a whole conversation.

When I was a front desk agent, I asked this question to every single guest that came to my hotel. I did this for two reasons:

1. The first reason was that I wanted to know more about the guest. Simply knowing what’s bringing a guest into the area gives me the ability to serve them better.

2. Second, I found that when I was answered with the response, “Work.” this opened up a whole new line of questions for me.

If a guest responded to me with the term “work,” I would immediately ask them “what do you do for work?!” The majority of people love talking about themselves and they also want to impress with a description and intricate details of their job.

This allowed me to capture their company name, and learn more about the company’s needs in our area. Thus, generating a sales lead for our sales department.

How to handle a customer that doesn’t want to answer

Now, what about those travelers that don’t want to offer up any information like this? How would I handle it?

If I ever dealt with a guest that was standoffish about offering me any details about their company, or what they did for work, this is how I would overcome that objection:

Me: “What is it you do for work?!”

Guest: “Why do you need this information?”

Me: “We have many negotiated rates in place, with many companies. I want to make sure that I am getting you the best rate that you qualify for.”

Now all of a sudden the guest understands that you were in fact trying to help them. People love saving money, and they love feeling like they got a deal. Using that phrase to overcome the objection oftentimes leads to collecting the information that we need.

If the guest would answer with “I know our company doesn’t have a negotiated rate with you,” well guess what?! Now I’m able to qualify their needs further by asking if there’s someone we can contact at the company to explore a potential partnership.

Front desk sales, 24 hours a day

Now back to the Amazon reference. Amazon is able to collect information from current consumers and refocus its efforts to increase sales. And the same can be done at your front desk.

If all of your agents are trained to do this, then that means on every shift you have a salesperson. You have sales efforts happening 24 hours a day. Capturing data to be able to keep selling to your “consumers.” Imagine what having a salesforce looks like for your revenue, versus one salesperson. Amazon would probably tell you that this is the trillion-dollar method. 

These are the methods we train our partner teams on. We work directly with the teams in person to make sure that sales are happening 24/7. 

If you want to know more about how Sparrow Hospitality Services can help with your sales needs, at a fraction of the cost of an on-site Director of Sales, please reach out.

Mike Baker


Sparrow Hospitality Services, LLC

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