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Strategies for Increasing Hotel Room Sales

This article identifies and discusses 15 proven techniques, which can be implemented to
increase room sales at your property. It also includes ideas for fine‐tuning or overhauling your
room sales strategy.
1. Price room rates according to selling point. Inspect rooms for uniqueness, room size,
features, location, and guest request. ategorize these elements as a basis for room rate
differential from which to sell. !or e"ample, a down and out, end room, with #acuzzi tub,
overloo$ing a wooded stream, which is the most‐often requested room would sell for more
than an upstairs room located farthest away from the stairs. reating a variety of room rates
allows for creative up selling by your staff. %oreover, a variety of room rates allows for a basis
of negotiation when boo$ing a reservation.
&. Spruce up. '"amine your property from a guest(s point of view for curb appeal. )re
potholes filled* +as the par$ing lot recently been slurried and or seal coated* )re the par$ing
lot stripes fresh* )re all light bulbs shining* Is the grass freshly mowed* )re the flowerbeds
alive with annual color*
,. Draw guests in with price. -ot all properties want to compete on price. +owever, if you
need to sell rooms, price is an effective motivator. onsider a changeable letter board or
an
electronic sign which can display a message. )dvertise your lowest possible price. .se
price
as an opportunity to upsell on the basis of features. )s occupancy increases, consider
raising
rates. This is especially true if, for e"ample, your property/s wal$‐in traffic increases after 0
p.m. 1with an average &2 requests3 and you have 4ust 15 rooms left to sell at 56,2 p.m.
5. Empower your clerks to negotiate price. Travelers e"pect to be able to negotiate
especially when they see that the par$ing lots are empty at 12 p.m. at all competing
properties. The idea in this case is that any rate above variable cost 1the cost for
house$eeping, amenities, and laundry3 contributes to profit. 7ou set the parameters8 your
cler$s negotiate within those parameters. 9onus guest services agents on room sales.
5. Allow options for the breakfast question. %any limited service properties have a tough
time deciding whether to add eggs and meat products to their complimentary brea$fast.
onsider continuing with your continental brea$fast being complimentary, but adding a modest
charge for the option of eggs and meat products.
0. Sell to the local community. )dvertise your property to the local community in the
:hopper as an e"tra bedroom. ;ive locals a special rate to encourage them to use your
property when out‐of‐town guests come to visit. onsider blast emailing last‐minute bargain
rates when your sales fall short of forecast.
<. Examine the number of tasks that your guest service agents provide. There is always
a balance which must be maintained between labor cost and guest service. )t some point,
however, you lose room sales when cler$s are trying to perform too many functions.
onsider, for e"ample, the incoming phone reservation which is missed because the cler$ on
duty is ta$ing another reservation, cashiering, night auditing, providing room service, replacing
an air conditioner, performing wa$e‐up calls, ta$ing a message, wal$ing security rounds, room
cler$ing, running the phone console, issuing a $ey, running the elevator, par$ing a car, or
giving directions to the local diner.
=. Choose a market niche. In which mar$et are you competing* :uccessful operators $now
their mar$et niche and stay within their bounds. There has always been a margin for
properties to cross over into competing territories ever since +oliday Inn merged concepts
from full‐service hotels and limited‐service properties. +owever, a >5?.22 rate li$ely does not
warrant custom toiletries and triple‐sheeted beds. The limited service category emphasizes
basic room accommodations and minimal public areas. ompete on the basis of providing the
best value instead of the most amenities. 7our bottom line will than$ you and your guests will
too. %otel 0 and the early days of the original @ol$swagen 9eetle revolutionized their
industries by utilizing these principles.
?. e!examine your operating affiliation. )re you an independent or a flagged property* If
you are independent, you may be able to benefit from the advertising, name recognition,
centralized reservations system, and operating support of an established brand. An the
other hand, your location, operating conditions, and mar$et may suggest that you re‐thin$
the e"pense involved in maintaining a flag relationship. The bottom lineBdoes a flag
affiliation offer you a net gain*
12. Establish a program of total quality management. )ll employees should have an
opportunity to be involved in a program to incrementally improve operations at your
property. The function of a total quality management program is that operational
challenges are addressed at the lowest possible level within the organization, which can
yield operational savings, increased employee satisfaction, as well as increased guest
satisfaction. C. 'dwards Deming, a well‐$nown .:‐based consultant, was instrumental in
helping automobile manufacturers in #apan develop their once cheap cars into world‐class
quality cars. The idea was that every employee within the organization was charged with
ma$ing one small positive change to his or her wor$place. The change could favor the
organization, the employee, the manufacturing process, or the customer. Eet/s do the math
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1stay with me to see how this wor$s out36 12,222 employees wor$ing &52 days each year,
for &2 years 1since he started the program3 F 52 million improvementsG +is motto6 ) little H
done often F a lot. The same can wor$ at your propertyBno matter how small.
11. "ine demographic data from registration cards. Catch for patterns and useful
information
among variables such as zip codes, e‐mail, company, number in party, arrival days and
times, and special requests. !or e"ample, zip code patterns suggest areas that you can
identify for advertising. '‐mail addresses allow you to communicate with your guest history
easily, quic$ly, and almost without charge. ) recurrence of a particular company would
allow you to investigate the possibility of creating special rates andIor bill‐to accounts.
-umber in party and special requests can assist you in providing an adequate number of
no‐
smo$ing rooms, rates for late chec$outs, rollaways, daytime rates, etc.
1&. #ecome a female!friendly property. Ane of the fastest growing sectors of the lodging
industry is single female travelers. Tap into this mar$et by ma$ing subtle ad4ustments to
your operating standards. !or e"ample, clip and maintain all hedges no higher than hood
height. This helps provide additional security by reducing hiding places and shadows.
'nsure
that par$ing lot and wal$way lighting maintains lighting conditions to a minimum of dus$
illumination. hange remote corridor entries to operable only with room $eys 1and remove
door props3. Josition security cameras throughout public areas. Keview the amenity
pac$age. Keview lighting quality and amount in the bathroomIdressing area.
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1,. #ook returns at check!in and check!out. Train guest service agents to as$ about return
reservations at chec$‐in. !or e"ample, it is normal for cler$s to maintain a friendly
conversation with guests during the chec$‐in process. .se these conversations to discover
opportunities for advance boo$ings6
;uest :ervice )gent 1;:)36 LChere are you headed this morning*L
;uest6 LCe are driving up to Cyoming to visit 7ellowstone for 12 days.L
;:)6 LCould you li$e to reserve a room now for your return trip home*L
ler$s should be paid bonuses for boo$ing gains such as these. :imilarly, cler$s should
inquire
about future reservations at chec$‐out.
;:)6 LDo you get out this way often*L
;uest6 L7es. I have a consulting contract with Dodge. I am here every month from the &5
th
through the ,2
th
Bli$e cloc$wor$.L
;:)6 Lan we boo$ some future reservations dates for you while you are here and we have
all
of your information in the system* That way it will be all ta$en care of for you, and you won(t
have to worry. 7ou can always let us $now if something changes.L
ha‐chingG
15. $ffer %special% business packages. Aperators are always searching for ways to raise
their
average daily rates 1)DKs3. Traditional thin$ing suggests that frequent business travelers
e"pect discounted rates. %aybe not. onsider this alternative strategy by e"ample6
9usiness
traveler :mith stays at the :hady Kest %otel. The rac$ rate at the :hady Kest is >?28 The
)DK is ><58 and :mith pays >=2 for a room. :mith pays with a orporate )merican
'"press
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card. Aver time, the operator, Jatel, has come to $now :mith and has discovered that
:mith(s company will pay up to >122 per day for a room. Jatel bundles a value‐added
business pac$age for :mith with the following daily features6 9est room available at chec$‐
in, two complimentary drin$ coupons for the manager reception, complimentary full
brea$fast, Call :treet #ournal, .:) Today, and free D@D movies. :mith pays >?5 per day.
Eet(s e"amine the impact of the deal6
:mith(s rate increases from >=2 to >?5 1>5 over the rac$ rate and >&2 over the )DK3.
:mith(s company continues to reimburse the e"pense, since the rate is within the allowable
range.
:mith gets the best room available at chec$‐in, which, arguably, costs Jatel >2. :mith
values
the room premium at >15.
:mith gets two drin$ coupons, which costs Jatel appro"imately >&. :mith values the
coupons at a street value of >0.
:mith gets a full complimentary brea$fast, which costs Jatel >& above the free continental
brea$fast. :mith values the brea$fast at ><.
:mith gets a Call :treet #ournal and .:) Today, which costs Jatel >1.52. :mith values
the
papers at >1.52 plus a convenience factor.
:mith gets free D@D movies, which, arguably, cost Jatel >2. :mith values the movies at
><.
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The result is a win‐win situation for both :mith and Jatel. :mith is rewarded for being a
frequent guest at the perceived value at >,0.52 per day. Jatel receives >?.52 per day
more
after e"penses. Thin$ about this e"ample when considering frequent guests.
15. Consider minimum stays and drastic rate deviation during special events. !or
e"ample, the
liff %otel rac$ rate is ><58 The )DK is >5?. During homecoming wee$end at the nearby
university, demand is such that the property charges >122 per day with a two‐night
minimum. This rate and minimum stay holds until 15 days before the event. Inside of two
wee$s, the property first drops the minimum stay and then the rate in order to help ensure
a sellout. Three days before the event, the rate increases to >152, but no minimum stays
on
remaining rooms. The community accepts the policy due to mar$et conditions. onsider
your opportunities for implementing similar strategies.
'‐mail me your ideas and suggestions for increasing room sales, so that we can share them.
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