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Data insights: Going from guesswork to a data-driven sales approach

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The importance of data is a hot topic in the hospitality industry these days. But a closer look at related discussions reveals that many of them revolve only around revenue management. But that’s by far not the only department that benefits from a data-driven approach.

While data is crucial for revenue management, it’s equally important for sales, events and marketing. Because without reliable, relevant data, you’re making decisions in the dark.

In this article, we’ll look at which data points are worth collecting, so your sales team can take enlightened actions. That includes streamlining your sales process, personalizing your offers and refining your marketing efforts.

But first, what’s the risk of ignoring data and flying by the seat of your pants?

The risk of not consulting your data

The sales process is made up of many moving parts.

Among other things, that includes:

  • Creating and sending proposals

  • Following up

  • Making requested changes

  • Finalizing details and signing off

Each step is a chance to learn more about your team's work and your clients' preferences. Why should you seize this chance? It's not about surveying your staff to ensure they work hard enough. Instead, it's about getting to know your clients better and spotting inefficient processes so you can improve.

The data you need for that is at your fingertips. But if you let it disappear into a black hole, you can only improve your processes by trial and error. This costs a lot of time and results in missed revenue. You'll get ahead a lot faster if you let your data guide you.

The best way to do that? First, leverage modern tech tools to automatically gather insights. Use them to identify targeted actions that will boost your conversion rates, revenue and your guest experience. Avoid a one-sided approach and focus on all three of these aspects to gain the most long-lasting benefits.

Three ways you can leverage your data

Once you've begun gathering data, work on improving the following three areas to maximize your sales team's results.

  1. Refine your marketing strategy

Refining your marketing strategy will make your sales process more effective because you'll get better leads to begin with.

First, use data and guest feedback to determine your most popular offers. Don't rely merely on your perception since that could result in a skewed conclusion.

Ask yourself:

  • Which services do event planners request most often?

  • Which package deals are most popular?

  • Which new packages can you create based on what past guests loved?

Once you know which offers get the most traction, work with your marketing team to create targeted campaigns. This will effectively and efficiently attract the right audience.

You'll receive more relevant RFPs and it'll be easier to convert them because your prospects want exactly what you offer. The better your sales and marketing can collaborate here, the better your results will be. A study by Marketo and Reachforce recently found that this can boost your chance of closing deals by 67%.

  1. Streamline your sales process

It's time to look at your internal data to answer the following questions:

  • How much time does your team spend on creating proposals?

  • How much time goes into following up and editing proposals?

  • Which updates and changes do clients request most often?

  • Which offers do guests accept or reject the most?

These questions are just a starting point and should give you an idea of which data to collect and examine first. The closer you look at your process, the more likely you are to uncover inefficiencies, the reasons behind them and possible solutions. While these will differ from hotel to hotel, covering the four steps below is a good start.

  • Create templates and building blocks for different group and event types. Combine these elements in your proposals in a way that reflects your guest's request.

  • Know the price of your services. Have all the latest rates for F&B and other services ready to share. This includes rates for different menu options, equipment rental. Check with other departments regularly to stay current.

  • Prepare a price grid for groups of different sizes. Sit down with your revenue team to create this. It will speed up your quotation process since you won't have to ask your revenue manager to determine the best rate for you every time.

  • Use a tool that speeds up proposal creation and management. Todays' tech tools can do more than just collect data. A modern proposal management system can allow you to create proposals 5-8 times faster.

Follow the simple points above to better manage your leads and reduce your response time to RFPs. That's key because data shows that the first five hotels that respond win 75% of proposals.

  1. Personalize your offers and proposals

The more personalized and relevant your proposals are, the more likely potential guests are to accept them. Why? Because they see that you offer exactly what they want and they appreciate you tailoring the proposal to their requirements. Luckily, the right kind of data can help you achieve this.

Creating a customized offer for repeat guests can be quite straightforward if you collected data on their past bookings. Base your new offers on their current requests and factor in their known needs and preferences.

When a new guest enquires and you don't know much about them yet, carefully listen to their needs and requirements first. Include them all in your proposal. Then use analytics to see which other offers and services are most popular for different types of guests.

Pick one or two your guest may like and include them in the proposal as an optional add-on or upgrade. This could be anything from suggesting a fancier venue at your property, upgrading the food or beverage package or more elaborate decoration.

Here is your chance to add value to your proposal through customization while giving your popular offers more visibility. Use an interactive proposal system like Proposales to allow clients to easily accept or reject these offers.

[Conclusion]

Data already holds the answers to so many of today's questions in hospitality. And its importance will only keep growing. Embrace this trend across all your departments now and start leveraging your data to offer your guests more value, improve their experience and increase your revenue.

If that sounds like a big shift and a lot of work, don't worry. Gathering data and extracting insights can be quite straightforward with the right tech partner.

If you want to talk streamlining your proposal process and gathering data on your progress, drop us a line and we'll be happy to discuss how Proposales can support you.

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