Empower your sales team with the right hotel tech stack
October 9, 2023
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Hotel sales strategies are the cornerstone of success. A hotel's ability to attract guests, book events, and maximize revenue hinges on its sales and events teams. These teams must navigate a complex landscape of internal business performance, competitive analysis, and market trends to stay ahead of the curve.
However, no matter how robust your hotel sales strategy is, success is unattainable without the right technology tools to support and enhance these efforts. In today's digital age, the right tech stack can empower your sales and events team, boost productivity, automate tedious tasks, and provide invaluable data-driven insights to help you pursue the most promising leads effortlessly. Additionally, it can also improve guest satisfaction by enabling staff to respond to requests with increased accuracy and 3D space visualizations, ultimately building trust and boosting conversions with event planners and organizers.
What components should be included in a hotel technology stack?
Before delving into the specific software solutions that can turbocharge your hotel sales strategies, let's discuss the essential components of your hotel sales tech stack. Building a solid tech foundation is crucial to ensuring the seamless execution of your sales and events initiatives.
Your tech stack should consist of at least these four components:
Hotel Sales Platforms & CRMs
Business Intelligence Tools
Group Sourcing & RFP Management Systems
Event Planning Software
1. Hotel Sales Platforms & CRMs
Sales platforms and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems serve as the backbone of successful hotel sales operations. These tools help your sales team stay organized and prioritize leads effectively. A CRM provides a centralized repository for tracking the sales pipeline, ensuring that promising leads are nurtured and that no opportunities slip through the cracks.
When it comes to choosing a CRM for your hotel, you have a variety of options, including specialized hospitality CRMs and major brands that serve all industries. The choice often boils down to whether you prefer a global-scale CRM with numerous integrations or a specialized solution tailored specifically to the needs of hotels.
Let's take a closer look at some of the leading players in this field:
Salesforce is one of the most well-known CRM providers globally. It empowers data-driven sales and marketing through its rich guest profiles and robust engagement tracking capabilities. Its familiarity simplifies onboarding for new staff, although specialized support may be more challenging to find.
HubSpot is another major player in the CRM space, offering a user-friendly platform known for its inbound marketing and sales automation features. While not specialized for hospitality, its versatility can be an asset for hotels looking for a comprehensive CRM solution.
Amadeus Delphi offers a mobile-accessible CRM module that integrates a comprehensive view of event spaces with real-time guest room availability, enabling sales teams to respond promptly and with precision. The Simple module caters to hotels with function spaces under 5,000 square feet, while the Advanced module is designed to accommodate multiple properties, making it a versatile choice suitable for a wide range of hotel types and sizes.
2. Business Intelligence Tools
To close more group business and leverage data effectively, you need "meetings and events intelligence" tools. These tools dig deep into data to uncover opportunities, trends, and threats, enabling your sales team to work more effectively.
While other categories may include advanced reporting and analytics, standalone business intelligence tools often outperform standard event management software due to their specialized focus and access to a deeper set of data.
Here are a few meetings and events intelligence tools to consider:
IDeaS SmartSpace is a visual strategy management solution that bridges sales and revenue with in-depth analytics around business trends and event space performance. It includes tools for space utilization and pricing strategy.
KNOWLAND provides deep analytics on group booking patterns, market benchmarking, and planner buying behavior. Its predictive analytics accelerate sales cycles by matching inbound requests with the highest likelihood of success.
Get Into More is a strategic tool for managing meetings, events, and groups in both branded and non-branded hotels. It offers data visualization and better analysis, making it a go-to choice for business intelligence.
3. Group Sourcing & RFP Management Systems
Sourcing groups and managing Request for Proposals (RFPs) efficiently is crucial in the hotel industry. Strong RFP management capabilities ensure your team responds promptly and accurately to high-value RFPs. Delayed responses can deter event planners, so streamlining this process is vital.
Proposales™ is the leading proposal tool for hotels worldwide. Primarily designed for sales teams in the MICE industry, the RFP platform simplifies the way to create, send and sign proposals and integrates with leading CRMs, PMS and other critical business tools such as Salesforce, HubSpot, OPERA Cloud, MEWS and many others.
Event Temple is a versatile platform that assists with everything from lead prospecting to client retention. It offers email automation, ROI analytics, and performance metrics, making it a comprehensive solution for group sourcing.
4. Event Planning Software
Event planning software is essential for managing the operational aspects of on-property events. These tools facilitate collaboration on table layouts, provide visualizations for event planners, and ensure that what is promised is delivered.
Here are some top event planning tools to consider:
Amadeus' diagramming tool allows properties to accurately plan events with organizers, planners, and guests. It provides an intuitive interface for organizing room plans, including 3D virtual walkthroughs.
Social Tables is a premier event management platform that simplifies event planning. It offers intuitive tools for creating event layouts and seating plans, improving efficiency for event professionals, hotels, and venues.
Where should you invest right now?
The question of where to strategically invest in a hotel's sales technology stack has become increasingly vital. As hotels continue to adapt to changing market dynamics, emerging technologies, and evolving guest expectations, making informed decisions about where to allocate resources is essential for ensuring a competitive edge and sustained success.
Two major trends have dominated the landscape of hotel technologies in recent years that should be considered when choosing tools to add to or change in your current tech stack:
Cloud-based solutions for seamless integration capabilities
As highlighted in the 2020 Lodging Technology Study featured in Hospitality Technology Magazine, the shift towards cloud-based systems is vital for safeguarding the future of hotels. Hoteliers are adjusting their priorities, focusing on revenue management and reservation systems for above-property solutions. Unlike on-premise and legacy systems, cloud-based systems offer seamless integration capabilities. Choose genuine cloud systems with open APIs, or better yet, opt for "API-first" solutions for full access to every feature, ensuring seamless integrations between key systems. This future-proofs your investment and facilitates the development of custom integrations and applications, promoting productivity by consolidating native features into a unified user interface for your employees.
AI solutions to unlock revenue potential through automation & prediction
AI can greatly boost hotel revenue management through predictive modeling of historical data, optimizing pricing and availability for maximum revenue. It enables dynamic pricing based on demand and occupancy, maximizing revenue during peak periods and reducing rates during off-peak times. AI identifies upselling and cross-selling opportunities, adjusts pricing and inventory in real-time, and uncovers revenue-boosting patterns and trends in data.
How do you choose the right tech stack for your team?
Hotel sales teams should prioritize a thorough assessment of each element within their sales technology stack, delving into their unique features and advantages. This scrutiny ensures that the technology in place aligns seamlessly with their sales strategies and aids in delivering exceptional experiences to guests.
We’ve outlined six steps that you can take below:
Step 1: Take a moment to audit your own hotel technology stack
Start by jotting down all the categories we've mentioned earlier and then list the tools that fit into each category. Take a moment to see if there are any gaps in your toolkit. For instance, do you have a bunch of analytic tools but nothing to help with RFP management or event planning? Write down any gaps you might spot at this stage and if you can't spot any because you're not sure what you need, then don’t worry too much! We'll move on to the next step to figure that out.
Step 2: Ask your team for an evaluation of your current tools & let them brainstorm about new ones
Next, chat with your team and ask them to share their thoughts on the tools they're currently using. Have them rate the tools based on their personal preferences and how often they find themselves using them.
Your company's team members will be the ones actually using the tools in your tech stack. So, it's important to find out where they're hitting roadblocks or where things could be made simpler. When picking your tech stack, it's all about making their work smoother. These team members are experts in their fields, so they have a good idea of what tools they need based on their know-how. Just make sure that each tool they suggest fits into a broader company process or strategy. For example, if your sales team is struggling with finding leads, then getting some lead generation software makes perfect sense.
Step 3: Align your objectives with your need for tools
Finally, connect the dots between the information you've gathered and your sales goals for the year. If your objectives include increasing bookings from various channels or boosting event sales, make sure you have the right tools in place to support those goals. And if improving lead generation or customer relationship management is a focus, consider investing in tools that can help streamline these processes.
This process might appear a bit overwhelming initially, but gaining a clear understanding of the tools your sales team uses and why they use them is the first step toward running a more efficient and successful sales operation in your hotel.
Step 4: Outline a budget for your tool stack
Next, let's outline a budget for the tools. You can choose between monthly, quarterly, or yearly budgets, and it's also possible to establish a budget for each team. Regardless of the approach, the goal is to ensure that your technology stack remains financially sustainable over the long term.
After you've prepared the budget, forward it to the team manager. They will have the opportunity to select the tools they need most, while staying within the allocated budget. Alternatively, you can convene a meeting to collectively decide on the tools that best align with the business's needs.
Step 5: Initiate a pilot phase & familiarize yourself with your new tools
Your technology stack is a work in progress, as you'll continually incorporate new products over time. However, once your team reaches a decision on a particular tool, it's time to initiate a pilot phase. It's important to allow everyone the necessary time to become familiar with the new product.
Please bear in mind that the piloting process can extend over several months. For certain tools, like CRMs, the adoption phase might require a considerable duration. In contrast, for tools such as a grammar checker, the adoption process can be as brief as a few seconds. It's crucial to give each tool a fair opportunity to prove its usefulness before making judgments.
Step 6: Assess the business impact of the tools on an ongoing basis
What kind of business outcomes have you observed since implementing these tools? For instance, since your sales team adopted prospecting software, have they been able to capture 30% more leads compared to their previous performance? Or, with your grammar checker subscription in place, have you noticed an uptick in social engagement due to improved copy quality?
Consider convening a meeting with your team managers to inquire about the positive changes they've witnessed. If it appears that a particular tool isn't yielding long-term benefits for the business or the team, don't hesitate to discontinue its use and revisit the selection process.
Investing in sales technology can revolutionize your hotel's approach to group business. The right tools can help your sales team prospect effectively, enable your events team to execute flawless conferences or corporate team meetings, and ultimately lead to satisfied guests who keep on coming back.
Only with the right technology at the heart of your group sales and event delivery operation, you'll experience a substantial improvement in productivity, revenue, and client satisfaction. Hotel sales strategies, powered by the right software, can elevate your property to new heights in the competitive hospitality industry.