How can you improve efficiency in your hotel sales department? You've probably asked yourself this since sales teams are notoriously busy and need to be efficient, especially when it comes to RFPs. But you also know the guest experience is paramount, so you want your team to provide excellent service.
This can lead to a challenge. In the past, if you over-optimized one area, you invariably made sacrifices on the other.
In this article, we'll look at how you can avoid that. Because yes, it's possible to boost both the efficiency of your proposal process as well as your guest experience.
The quest for a better guest experience
You shape the guest experience with everything that goes on at your property. If your company culture and atmosphere are positive, that'll reflect positively on your guest's experience. If your processes are efficient and streamlined, your guests will notice as well. On the other hand, if things are disorganized and inefficient at your property, you'll have a hard time hiding that from your clients.
The good thing is that increased efficiency is just one advantage of improving your processes. It will positively impact your staff's attitude at work as well. This, in turn, will lead to your team better serving your guests and improving the customer experience. Boosted revenue is yet another welcome side effect.
Many hotels and venues know this and have recognized the importance of increasing their efficiency, especially where RFPs are concerned. And they're not alone. A survey by PwC shows that 77% of CEOs say they want to drive revenue growth through improved operational efficiency.
So, let's look at how an efficient proposal process can boost staff productivity, satisfaction, the guest experience and your revenue.
How to use internal efficiency to improve your guest experience
We all agree that hotels are supposed to create a memorable experience and deliver great service. That goes for all departments, whether it's front office or the sales team. Then why is it widely accepted to make the potential guest wait after they send an RFP, only to respond with a generic-looking PDF proposal?
The guest experience begins from the first moment a guest is in contact with your brand. But making a good first impression with a beautiful website and fantastic sales calls won't help if your proposal process is tedious and frustrating for your guest. In that case, you only created high expectations but didn't fulfill them - an expensive mistake you can easily avoid.
Leverage the latest tech tools
Today, the proposal process doesn't have to be a hassle anymore. Instead of doing everything manually, use a modern, automated solution. This allows your team to put together beautiful, personalized proposals five to eight times faster than before.
A modern proposal management system also helps you better structure and manage your follow-up because it offers a detailed overview of all pending offers. This improves internal communication and even if one of your staff goes on holiday, your guests still have a seamless experience. Nothing falls through the cracks anymore and you leave no money on the table. All this reduces the burden on your team's shoulders and gives them more time for other tasks.
Reduce response times
Once you've implemented a new proposal management platform, you'll notice that your response times for RFPs will speed up. This has several advantages for you. First, research has shown that 75% of RFPs are won by the first five properties that respond. In short, if you're faster than your competition, you multiply your chance of winning the business.
A quick response also makes your guest's life easier because a speedy reply supports their workflow. Finally, it also shows planners that you take their RFP seriously and value their business. Who wouldn't want to work with a partner like that?
Offer relevant customization options
Even if you tell your guests about every single thing you could do for them, they won't remember it all after your sales call. Keep this in mind when you prepare your proposal. Listen carefully to their vision for the function and include everything they asked for in your proposal. Then offer a few relevant add-ons they can take or leave. There's no need to go overboard here though. That would just overwhelm most planners.
Instead, include a few upsells or cross-sells that would add value and create an even better experience for event attendees. Putting this kind of thought into your proposal shows potential clients that you want their event to succeed as much as they do.
If you're still doing your proposals manually, this step could take you a lot of time. However, if you've got your proposal management system set up, you can add extra options in just a few clicks.
Encourage your guest to play a more active role
Static PDF proposals require a lot of back and forth. Every time the planner wants a change, it's time for several more calls and emails. That's a cause for frustration on both sides because it slows things down and opens the door to errors and misunderstandings.
Make this process more efficient by making your proposals interactive and letting your guests play a more active role. This allows guests to make changes like selecting a different menu option or increasing/decreasing the attendee count, directly in the proposal. They'll immediately see how this affects the price and can make a final decision without having to message back and forth with your sales staff. An article in UX Magazine even highlights that giving customers more independence increases loyalty and the likelihood for good reviews.
On top of streamlining your proposal process, this approach also makes it easier for you to add upsells to your proposal. Again, the guest can see how certain add-ons would change the price and make an informed choice without feeling like you're putting them on the spot.
Now, it's over to you. Where will you start optimizing efficiency? If you want to do so in a way that benefits your guests, using an automated proposal solution like Proposales is a fantastic place to start. Your staff, guests and your revenue manager will thank you for it.