Hotel Sales Super Star

07/06/2010

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A Site Inspection without Clients

Recently I wrote about different ways to make your site inspection stand out from the pack.  Certainly it is very important to be creative to ensure that your property is the one that the client remembers first when they return to their office.  But what about the rest of your prospects that simply cannot get to your property for a site inspection?

In today’s economy, the number of meeting planners that actually travel to visit properties before booking is dwindling at an alarming rate.  Resort locations have struggled with this for years, but now many inner-city hotels face the same dilemma.  It is one of the greatest challenges that modern day hotel Sales Managers face – how to actually get the client to your property in the first place? 
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Many hotels rely almost exclusively on their proposals to give their clients the best idea of what their property looks like.  Many hotels have added pictures and videos to their websites to give prospective clients a better feel for the property.  Visually stimulating proposals and websites are an absolute must , but they certainly don’t replace the hands-on approach of a site inspection in terms of effectiveness.

So what’s the solution?  Simple – go into the movie business!  What do you mean you aren’t a movie producer?  Anyone can be!

All you have to do is have a colleague film you doing the client’s site inspection!  Next time a client tells you that they would love to come to your property for a site inspection but they simply don’t have the time or the budget tell them ‘No problem, I will film conduct the site inspection anyway and have my colleague film it for you’. 

Go ahead and plan the site inspection just like any other.  This means that all the normal rules of site inspections apply – ie. be creative, plan the tour, tailor it to the client, involve the team etc etc.  Then enlist a colleague with a video camera to film you doing the site inspection.  Obviously your client is not there, so all you need to do is pretend that the video camera is your client!

Then when you have finished you just need to email the video file to your client.

Some tips:

   1.    Don’t use the same video twice.  The whole point of this is to tailor your site inspection to the client and not be generic.

   2.    Put the same amount of time and effort into doing your video site inspection as you would for an “in-person” site inspection.  This should not be more work than a normal site, but it deserves as much effort.

   3.    Don’t get too hung up about the quality of the video.  Remember that the whole point is to make it very clear that you understand that your client couldn’t get to the property so you produced a short video just for them.

   4.    Don’t try to edit the video – this will only make the client think that you have cut out the parts of the hotel you don’t want them to see.  Keep filming the entire site inspection.

   5.    Think you don’t have access to a video camera?  Think again – there is bound to be someone in your office with at least a video camera on their cell phone!

   6.    File too big to email?  Transfer it to a memory stick and mail that to your client (a hotel branded memory stick would have an even better impact!)

   7.    Follow up with your client on the phone to see if they want you to film any areas in more detail.  Maybe they have a question about how far the walk is between meeting rooms – go ahead and film yourself walking it!

And finally – have fun with it!  Your clients will be amazed at the effort that you have gone to – when in reality you have put no more effort into the site inspection than if they had actually come to visit.

So while your competitors are complaining that they are never able to get meeting planners to their hotels for site inspections you will be able to smile knowing that EVERY meeting planner gets a site inspection at your hotel!

So get to it – try out this approach and let me know how it went!