Best Practices for Sales Professionals Responding to COVID-19

By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

HSMAI hosted a Chief Sales Officer Virtual Roundtable on March 26 that focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having on hotel sales. In addition to discussing key indicators they are using to track how the hospitality industry is doing, CSO participants shared their best practices, lessons learned, and ideas for preparing to accelerate as quickly as possible. Here are four of their suggestions, presented in their own words:


  • “That human element is what’s in the core our DNA. Keeping in touch with our clients and staying connected on a personal level is important — not asking about business, but just saying, ‘I hope you’re okay.’ Everyone is going through something they never in their wildest days thought they’d be going through.”
  • “We’re encouraging our teams to be compassionate with both colleagues and customers and taking a caring approach. It’s uncertain times and we’re all in it together.”
  • “We’re focusing on empathy. People’s lives are changing in ways that were unimaginable. We had to furlough a lot of employees, and we want to maintain good relationships with them.”
  • “It’s about communication. I’m seeing now how much that’s making a difference to everyone on the team. I’m communicating with them all day long. We can get so invested in our own lanes and I overlooked reaching out to others, and I’m realizing it’s about the bigger world, not just me.”


  • “Be flexible, whether it’s an incentive plan or with people working at home, or for customers, with how often you service their rooms. That flexibility is critical. We need to be simple in our planning, so when it’s time to execute, we can make a quick change.”
  • “We’ve never experienced this. A strategy that you have Tuesday could change by Thursday. Being nimble is critical. The ability to be flexible and to change and adapt is what’s going to bring us forward.”
  • “There’s no black-and-white answer right now. Every group and every situation is different, so we have to understand everything as much as we can. Be flexible and look at each situation.”
  • “You really know what your team is made of when they are agile and adaptable in times like these. You can work with people for years and not know what they’re really made of. It’s easy to work in the good times, but in times like these, I’m really seeing the importance of hiring well.”


  • “There needs to be a two-prong approach, not just operationally right now, but also capitalizing on the future and coming out of it. We balance how we’re dealing with today, but also being proactive on having a strategy to execute.”
  • “Things are going to look a lot different coming out of this. We have to tap into the tools and resources we have available.”


  • “One of the things we started right away was sharing fun things on our Zoom calls, such as favorite cocktails. Taking it away from the business side of it is important, because people are so concerned and worried these days. Everyone is going through the same thing, and there needs to be a bit of fun through all of this.”
  • “In a few short weeks, we’ve gotten good at sharing any bright spots or wins, no matter how small.”

For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.

Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles, Best Practices