Internal hotel teams that focus only on their respective revenue streams risk inefficiency, duplicated efforts, and hindering each other's progress. According to a study by Salesforce, 86% of professionals believe that a lack of collaboration is responsible for workplace failures. Additionally, PWC's 2015 Global Operations Survey found that a staggering 55% of companies work in silos.
So, how can you solve the collaboration issue? Simply putting all your teams in one room and telling them to work together isn't enough, especially in the case of hotel chains. And this is why we’ve compiled the top 6 collaboration techniques from leading industry experts with a proven track record that you can start implementing with your teams today.
But before we start, let’s dive first into some basics as it's essential to grasp the individual roles and functions of each department. To foster effective teamwork, it's crucial that each team comprehends the specific responsibilities and objectives of the other. So, let's start by exploring the typical operations of Sales and Marketing departments within hotels, shedding light on how they contribute to a property's success. This foundational understanding will pave the way for a more productive partnership between these two essential teams.
How Sales and Marketing typically operate in hotels
In hotels, the Sales and Marketing departments play distinct yet interconnected roles, each contributing to the property's success. Let's take a closer look at how these two departments typically operate:
In a hotel, the Sales department is the driving force behind revenue generation. Its primary role is to secure bookings, whether they are for guest rooms, meeting spaces, or other services. Have a look below at what Sales teams typically take care of:
- Revenue generation: The Sales team is primarily responsible for generating revenue through direct sales efforts. This includes selling room bookings, meeting and event spaces, and other services to corporate clients, travel agencies, and individual customers.
- Client relationships: Sales professionals build and maintain relationships with clients, including corporate accounts, travel managers, and event planners. These relationships are vital for securing repeat business and referrals.
- Targeted sales: The Sales department identifies and targets potential clients based on market segments and market trends. They work to understand the needs of each client and tailor their sales approach accordingly.
- Revenue maximization: Sales teams work to maximize revenue by setting rates, negotiating contracts, and upselling additional services or room categories.
The Marketing department focuses on creating demand for the hotel's services. It strives to raise brand awareness and attract potential customers, encouraging them to consider the hotel for their accommodation or event needs. Have a look below for a more complete view of a Marketing team’s responsibilities:
- Demand generation: Marketing focuses on generating demand for the hotel's services. This includes creating brand awareness, attracting potential customers, and encouraging them to consider the hotel for their accommodation or event needs.
- Digital and traditional Marketing: Marketing professionals utilize a mix of digital marketing (website, social media, email campaigns, online advertising) and traditional marketing (brochures, print advertising, public relations) to reach a wide audience.
- Promotions and special offers: The Marketing team designs promotions, special offers, and packages to entice travelers and event planners. These promotions are often featured on the hotel's website and in marketing materials.
- Guest profiling: Through data analytics and guest profiling, the Marketing department understands the preferences and demographics of the hotel's target audience. This information helps in tailoring marketing campaigns and special offers.
- Online reputation management: Managing online reviews and the hotel's reputation on platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp is a critical part of modern marketing. Responding to reviews and maintaining a positive online image is essential.
Collaboration between Sales and Marketing
While these departments have their distinct functions, successful hotels recognize the importance of collaboration. Sales and Marketing need to work hand in hand to create a cohesive strategy. Marketing provides the tools and content that Sales uses to engage with clients effectively. In turn, Sales provides valuable feedback to Marketing about client needs and market trends.
By aligning their efforts and sharing insights, Sales and Marketing teams can optimize revenue opportunities and deliver an effective business strategy for the hotel. The close collaboration ensures that the right message reaches the right audience, ultimately driving bookings and revenue.
Why Revenue and Marketing Managers should collaborate
In the hotel industry, the Marketing Manager focuses on connecting directly with consumers to generate demand, while the Revenue Manager controls demand through profitable pricing strategies. A close working relationship between these two roles can significantly optimize a hotel's success. Here's why:
1. Efficient decision-making
Instead of weekly meetings and countless email exchanges, a close working relationship between Marketing and Revenue Managers grants them real-time access to information in their daily systems. This enables faster and more efficient troubleshooting and analysis, ensuring the right packages are offered at the right prices.
2. Accurate forecasting
Both Marketing and Revenue Managers can provide detailed and accurate demand forecasts by collaborating. This data helps with critical hotel planning processes.
3. Better understanding of guest demographics
Marketing Managers excel at understanding guest interests and backgrounds. This information is crucial for Revenue Managers to price hotel packages that resonate with guests.
4. Teamwork and departmental collaboration
Collaboration between Marketing and Revenue Managers not only improves revenue, sales, and strategies but also boosts team morale and creates a more efficient working environment. Both teams can complement each other, creating faster ways to optimize revenue opportunities and develop an effective business strategy for the future.
Collaboration techniques for Sales and Marketing teams
1. Foster regular interaction
Regular meetings serve as the cornerstone of alignment between Sales and Marketing in the hotel industry. The harmonious relationship between Sales and Marketing is pivotal for the triumph of hotels. When these teams are aligned and interact seamlessly, it not only streamlines operations but also enhances the guest experience. To ensure that this connection remains strong, a key strategy is to foster regular interaction.
Top tip: Promote an organizational culture that encourages regular interaction between Sales and Marketing. Encourage spontaneous dialogues, informal conversations, and cross-departmental collaboration. This proactive approach will break down silos and promote a sense of unity, which is essential for achieving common objectives in the competitive hotel industry.
What works best: Here's how to bridge the gap and achieve success:
- Onboarding Meetings: Welcome every new member of your sales team with an onboarding Marketing-Sales meeting. This not only helps introduce them to the company's processes but also provides insights into how Marketing supports the Sales team.
- Attend Sales Meetings: Marketers attending weekly sales meetings gain insights into the performance of the Sales team and offer support when needed. Use this time to share upcoming marketing campaigns, content, and promotions.
- Monthly check-ins with Sales Managers: Sales and Marketing managers should meet monthly to review key metrics, such as lead generation, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), the percentage of leads worked, and the lead-to-customer conversion rate.
- Attend events together: Apart from the workplace, attending industry events, meetups, or conferences together provides an opportunity for the teams to bond beyond traditional work environments.
2. Create a unified goal and shared KPIs
In the multifaceted world of the hotel industry, establishing shared goals is a pivotal step toward aligning Sales and Marketing teams. By defining objectives that both teams can collectively influence, such as conversion rates and lead value, you unite them under common goals. This alignment ensures a harmonious and efficient collaboration that directly impacts the hotel's success.
Top tip: Create one goal to unite your teams and set the same Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for all. Get them to strategize together. For instance, work out the target cost for the entire customer journey and bring all teams on board to develop a strategy and monitor results. This approach leverages the insights of the Marketing team on how to approach customers and the Revenue team's knowledge of which segments to prioritize to generate demand.
What works best:
- Define mutual objectives: Clearly outline shared objectives that contribute to the overall success of the hotel. These objectives could include increasing direct bookings, enhancing the guest experience, or driving revenue growth.
- Identify key performance indicators (KPIs): Specify the KPIs that both Sales and Marketing can measure and influence. Metrics like conversion rates, lead value, and occupancy rates are areas where both teams' efforts intersect.
- Regularly review progress: Schedule regular reviews to track progress and make necessary adjustments. Analyze how each team's contributions are influencing the shared goals and adapt strategies accordingly.
- Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements reached along the way. Recognizing successes fosters a sense of unity and keeps motivation high
3. Share reporting and analysis
In the ever-evolving landscape of the hotel industry, staying competitive requires both Sales and Marketing teams to be agile and informed. One way to achieve this is by fostering a culture of sharing reporting and analysis. Transparency in sharing insights and learnings from sales and marketing analyses can provide a wealth of knowledge, enabling teams to benefit from each other's perspectives and potentially discover correlations between seemingly unrelated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Top tip: Harness the Power of Cross-Pollination. Encourage your Sales and Marketing teams to conduct joint analysis sessions. Blend their unique perspectives and findings, exploring the interplay between seemingly unrelated data points. Insights gleaned from this collaborative approach can lead to innovations and strategies that give your hotel a competitive edge.
By embracing cross-pollination of data insights, you unlock a wellspring of untapped opportunities. In the ever-evolving hospitality landscape, a combined analytical approach can reveal new avenues for enhancing guest experiences, streamlining operations, and driving revenue. It's the fusion of insights that often sparks innovation in the hotel industry.
What works best:
- Data-driven decision-making: Make data the cornerstone of your strategies. By sharing data, sales can understand what marketing campaigns are driving the most leads, and marketing can grasp which leads convert into sales. This insight leads to data-driven decision-making and optimized marketing efforts.
- Monthly data insights meetings: Set up regular meetings where both teams share their findings. Discuss what worked well, what didn't, and what you can do better. These discussions help build a mutual understanding of each team's challenges and successes.
- Establish KPI dashboards: Develop shared Key Performance Indicator (KPI) dashboards accessible to both teams. This transparency fosters a sense of accountability and helps everyone track progress toward common goals.
4. Coordinate upcoming Marketing programs with Sales
Effective coordination between the Sales and Marketing teams is essential for the success of a hotel's marketing efforts. When it comes to new campaigns, content, promotions etc. ensuring that the Sales team is well-informed is crucial. This collaboration enhances the hotel's ability to attract and convert potential guests.
Top tip: Define a lead handoff process for handing over marketing-generated leads to the sales team. Outline criteria that signify when a lead is sales-ready, ensuring that both teams are aligned on what makes a lead qualified. Also determine how the sales team should follow up with those leads.
What works best: Here are valuable strategies to maintain this alignment:
- Maintain a shared calendar: Create a Google Calendar dedicated to detailing upcoming marketing campaigns or content pieces. Include the date and time of each campaign launch, the URL where it will be featured, key talking points, and a brief description. Share this calendar with your Sales team to keep them informed about the content and campaigns being promoted.
- Host regular briefings: Organize routine meetings or briefings where the Marketing team provides insights into upcoming content and campaigns. This helps the Sales team understand the messaging and key points, enabling them to effectively communicate with potential guests.
- Prep the Sales team in time: Once a marketing campaign is launched and begins generating leads, proactively send an email to your Sales team. This email should include vital information to help them engage with potential guests effectively. Provide talking points, a list of leads generated by the campaign, and a "quote of the week" that can be used in sales conversations. These resources empower the Sales team to have meaningful discussions with leads.
- Provide follow-up email templates: To facilitate the conversion of leads into guests, create email templates that are tailored for the Sales team. These templates should be designed to initiate conversations with leads who have shown interest in your hotel. Ensure that the templates are informative, focusing on the details of the offer and how your hotel can fulfill the specific needs and preferences of the prospect.
5. Cultivate team bonding
Encourage a sense of community both in and outside the workplace to foster stronger teamwork. Treat your sales and marketing teams in the end as one.
Top tip: Industry experts and studies have shown that fostering emotional connections among team members is a vital component of successful collaboration. Team-building activities play a crucial role in achieving this. They help create a cohesive work environment and strengthen the bonds among team members.
Numerous studies have emphasized the effectiveness of team-building activities. According to a report published by Deloitte University Press, team-building activities help improve trust among team members by 13%. Additionally, 56% of employees feel that team-building activities improve their overall performance and productivity.
What works best: The success of team-building activities lies in their ability to break down barriers and create shared experiences. While traditional activities like trust falls and problem-solving challenges remain popular, more innovative approaches are gaining traction. Escape room challenges, outdoor adventure activities, and volunteer events that serve the community are increasingly popular.
Combining fun and learning in team-building activities can be especially effective. For example, cooking classes can teach teamwork while creating a delicious meal. Wine tastings can enhance communication while providing an enjoyable experience. These activities not only strengthen bonds but also develop skills that team members can apply in their daily work.
Tailoring team-building activities to the specific needs and dynamics of your Sales and Marketing teams is essential. Consider their preferences, strengths, and areas where collaboration needs improvement when planning events. The goal is to create an atmosphere where team members feel comfortable, motivated, and engaged.
6. Champion collaboration
Bringing collaboration into your hotel and ways of working takes time, but it's worth it. Take the guesswork out of your teams' decisions by introducing programs for optimizing information sharing processes and encouraging the sharing of knowledge and expertise. Introduce common goals and involve everyone in the decision-making processes. Become the champion of collaboration in your hotel.
Best Practice: To champion collaboration effectively, hoteliers are advised to create a collaborative roadmap. This roadmap should outline the collaborative goals, expectations, and strategies. It is recommended to involve both Sales and Marketing teams in the development of this roadmap. By collectively setting the direction, teams are more likely to embrace a collaborative culture.
The roadmap could involve joint marketing campaigns, regular cross-team meetings, or shared data analysis efforts. The roadmap should provide a clear plan for implementing these strategies.
What works best: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of team members within the collaborative framework. Identify how Sales and Marketing teams can support each other and what is expected from each team in achieving the collaborative goals.
As markets and conditions change, so should the collaborative roadmap. Regularly review and update the roadmap to ensure that it remains relevant and effective. This demonstrates a commitment to collaboration over the long term.
Efficient collaboration between Marketing and Revenue teams is essential for a hotel's success. By implementing these proven techniques and fostering a culture of teamwork, hotels can unlock their full potential and improve overall performance. In today's competitive hospitality industry, the ability to collaborate and adapt is key to thriving and delivering an exceptional guest experience.