4 Priority Sales Issues for 2020

By Kaaren Hamilton, CMP, Vice President of Global Sales, RLH Corporation, and chair of HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board

HSMAI’s Sales Advisory Board (SAB) meets every month to discuss issues relevant to hospitality sales professionals. In December, SAB members compared notes on what they saw as the most pressing issues in 2020. Here are four of the most talked-about topics:

1. Third-party commissions: Several SAB members threw out the idea of discussing the way third parties are paid. One example given was lead generation, which can add up quickly if a company is paying multiple sources for the same lead. Another was the commission-based model, and companies pushing back on the equal amounts of commissions that are paid to third parties for bringing groups in, regardless of the effort of the meeting planner or organization.

“The compensation should be different at one end of the extreme to the other,” one member said. Another member added: “I think that whole model is falling apart. But we’ve seen some indications of hotel companies really wanting to change that.”

2. Staff commissions: SAB members also discussed commissions for staff salespeople. One member brought up sales managers drawing commissions simply for following up on a lead. “Do we need to pay somebody with a sales manager skillset and a sales manager salary and bonus to catch that lead and respond to it?” the member asked. Another SAB member added: “If you have a repeat piece of business, why do you commission a salesperson on that repeat business?”

“I think it’s a fascinating topic and an issue that we are encountering every day, and that’s when the economy is strong,” another SAB member said. “Imagine what will happen when it declines a little bit.”

3. USALI requirements: Several members noted that a 12th edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI) is in the works, and said they are interested in giving input into the sales and marketing section. “I think it’s a great opportunity,” one member said. “I think you need to look at the previous edition and see what you can actually change or improve.”

4. Turnover: Staff turnover was one topic that several SAB members mentioned they struggle with. Both with good people leaving and less competent people continuously cycling through, it is something that sales leaders are constantly dealing with. “Turnover is a huge cost of sales intake,” one member said. “If you turn over your salespeople, it’s ongoing. It’s costing you to retrain and everything else. There are a lot of issues there.”

Another member said: “It impacts cost of acquisition and it often is overlooked in terms of the cost, because it’s really more of an opportunity cost.”

Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles