Bridging the Sales Gap in a Post-Pandemic World

A strong economy with numerous demand generators for many hotels meant that for years, many salespeople were kept busy managing existing accounts and dealing with incoming inquiries from various channels (that is, they were farming). Bookings came in from walk-ins, incoming inquiries, and third-party channels, across many market segments.

The hospitality industry can thank a strong economy that delivered these leads—conventions, entertainment, endless sports tournaments, corporate travel, leisure travel, etc. Most hotels also expected their brand to deliver a certain percentage of reservations, so things were humming along for most of the hotel industry between their brand contribution and incoming inquiries.

The other dependency that happened was a hotel’s reliance on online travel agencies (OTAs) for base business. Many hotels would prefer not to work with OTAs because of the high commissions, but in the absence of a proactive sales strategy and base business, OTAs became a major sales channel.

Below the surface, a dangerous trend was unfolding: the sales function wasn’t being properly managed or supported for a time when sales wouldn’t just “happen.” During an economic downtown or an increase in competition such as an oversupply of hotels in your market, those who survive do so because sales is something they have consistently and effectively managed in good times and in bad. They are not starting from scratch—they have experience hunting for new revenue resources. But in 2020, not only did many salespeople not know how to hunt, few (if any) were ever trained in sales fundamentals.

It’s not that they lacked information and data. Most salespeople already had the technology and tools they needed at their disposal, but they were not using the information to better understand the customer. They were not taking the time to do research, and they were not taking the time to understand if they were a fit. On all fronts, it was a mainly a reactive environment, and hotel teams became complacent. When the downturn hit, and hit hard, hotels suddenly faced a re-imagined sales environment, one where salespeople could no longer rely on traditional revenue sources and incoming leads.

Key strategies for bridging the sales gap

With vaccines rolling out and many major corporations lifting travel restrictions, there is a stirring in the industry that is at once exciting and disconcerting. Staffing shortages have increased as many furloughed workers found other positions in the past year. This is quickly becoming the new normal and it will be critical that we accept the fact that previous employees may never return. So how then to fill the staffing gap and reimagine sales to prepare for the recovery. Below, we provide a look at some key strategies to help you rebuild and reinvigorate your sales efforts.

Know What Good Looks Like – Hiring, Onboarding, and Retaining Sales Staff

Today’s sales realities mean that the salesperson you hired ten years ago is not the same as the salesperson you need today. Whether you are rebuilding your team because of turnover and layoffs, or an increase in business, the goal is the same. Building a sales team and not leaving sales to chance means making sure you have the right people in the right seat and have an effective hiring and onboarding program to set them up for success.

Everybody Is in Sales – Or at Least They Should Be

Sales is the lifeblood of any organization. No company has ever succeeded without it. Running a hotel with a sales imperative happens when the responsibility for sales and service extends beyond one person or one department. In every sense of the word, sales is an inside job first, and extends to those on the front lines and those who do it full time for a living. It has a seat at the same table alongside operations, and everyone in the organization understands they own a piece of it. With standards and processes in place for each department, the sales function remains proactive and consistent, not reactive and only thought about when there is an economic downturn, an increase in competition, or a pandemic.

Understand How to Engage with the Modern Buyer – Stop selling like it’s 1990

Many directors of sales, operations staff, owners, and general managers fall under the description of “accidental” salespeople; some are responsible for sales even though it’s not in their job description. Every assignment is different; every brand, franchise, single hotel owner, general manager, or team comes with circumstances and resources unique to them. But they all seem to have one thing in common: they are struggling with sales.

At the end of the day, there’s a lot of work to be done. Disruption such as we have seen this past year will result in a re-evaluation of everything, but especially the way we sell. Gillis has created an innovative turnkey approach to hotel sales that is responsive, knowledgeable, scalable and significantly more affordable than building (or re-building) the expertise from within.

Contact us today to learn more about how Gillis and our Dynamic Sales Solution is helping hundreds of hoteliers across the United States actively pursue sales opportunities on a local, regional and national level.

Some of Our Clients

Proudly Serving Clients throughout US & Canada

As a Management company with 4 smaller hotels in busy transient markets, we have struggled to keep our sales and marketing costs relative to the size of our hotel.  The cost and time invested in attracting, training and retaining  good sales people with the current job climate can be not only daunting but frustrating with turnover.  With varying demand in the market, a sales manager needs to recognize when to take the business, and when to say no to it.  The right rate, at the right time!

We have solved all of these problems through turning this demanding role in 3 of our hotels over to Gillis Sales.

Gillis is a trusted, credible partner who has supplied me with experienced professionals who know the bookers, agencies and fastest route to the business I need.  Working with our team they take and convert leads, prospect the right clients and expedite what can be a long and drawn out process to quick revenues.  This has become our most effective resource, and I am happy to say that I 100% recommend the Gillis solution to my colleagues who don't want to oversee and motivate a sales team!
Patti Barker -

Vice President of Hospitality, Metropolitan Hospitality Management

We have the pleasure of working with Gillis Sales, and couldn’t be happier with the results. Their expertise in the hospitality industry, combined with their innovative sales strategies, have delivered exceptional revenue growth for our property. I highly recommend Gillis Sales to any hotel looking to boost their sales and increase their bottom line. Their commitment to excellence and personalized approach make them a valuable partner in the competitive world of hotel sales.
Preena Patel -

Preena Patel, Administrative Director,  A-1 Hospitality

"The math is simple: Gillis equals heads-in-beds!

The sales pro's at Gillis have been instrumental in building occupancy at Motel 6 and Studio 6 hotels in Canada over the past several years.  Working collaboratively with owners and managers, Gillis takes the time required to find and convert prospects to guests.  Gillis provides a best-in-class solution for hotels that don't have a dedicated, well-trained sales team."
Irwin M. Prince -

Irwin M. Prince, President & COO, Realstar Hospitality

“Before working with Gillis Consulting, the sales efforts were left to the responsibility of each hotel general manager. With daily and continuous competing priorities, our general managers were not always able to complete consistent efforts in prospecting for new business. Since introducing with Gillis, we have a consistent, full-time sales efforts! This pressure has been removed from our general managers giving them more time and energy to focus on continuing to run award winning properties and taking care of our team and our guests. The biggest benefit to partnering with Gillis is we do not have to manage our sales personal. In the event of vacations, turnover, as an example, Gillis ensures someone is available to our hotels to continue our sales efforts and cycle with no down time. We also don’t have to manage training, expense accounts, or reporting and software. We have recommended Gillis’ sales solution to three other hotels who since have also successfully joined the program.”
Tyson Ghostkeeper -

Director of Operations, Mouallem Management Group

“We had the good fortune of engaging Gillis after years of managing our sales effort inhouse. They came highly recommended through brand leadership and seasoned sales professionals – and they haven’t disappointed. Despite only a few months into our relationship, they have had an immediate impact on our hotels and key account relationships. The Gillis team has already established themselves as one of our most valued and trusted advisors and partners. They have always displayed the professionalism, passion and accountability demanded by their profession. The Gillis team is well prepared, highly engaged and goal orientated. To this end, they have solidified accounts, delivered new bookings and helped to diversify our business drivers. As a result, they have earned the deep respect and trust of our organization. I would not hesitate to recommend Gillis for any organization that requires the highest levels of sales performance, execution and professionalism.”
Perry Batke -

CHA, General Manager, Denham Hospitality Organization

“When we made the decision to lock arms with the Gillis Sales team, we were a relatively new property in a rural tertiary market. In the midst of an economic downturn, with limited ability to attract a qualified onsite sales manager, we decided to try this sales approach to increase our revenue. Once we found the right staff fit from the Gillis team we were able to experience greater success in sourcing out and securing business for the hotel. Some of the advantages of using Gillis has been the quality of skilled individuals that have been able to support our onsite sales team. I have greater confidence in knowing that sales efforts are happening and being executed in a professional manner and above all have appreciated the learning that has transpired because of this association. I would certainly recommend this program if you have experienced any of the challenges that we have. The management team is committed to ensuring the success of the program and have given our property the best that they have to offer.”
Jacquie Corkery -

Owner/General Manager, Best Western Plus

“When we made the decision to give Gillis a try we were struggling, particularly with getting groups to stay at our hotel. However, since we teamed up with Gillis, we have not experienced any problems. We have been using Gillis for almost two years now and we have seen a huge impact on our business. It has been such a pleasure working with Gillis. I absolutely love our salesperson; we have a great connection. I know I can reach out to him anytime I need to, he knows my goals, where I need to go, what budget I must meet, and he works hard to help me meet them. No matter who we work with on the Gillis team, they are always understanding of what we are looking for and trying to achieve. They really work with our goals. I would absolutely recommend their sales support services. We came into the program willing to give it a try and see if we can get a return on our investment. We were able to get our ROI and then some, resulting in us making the decision to stay in the program. I am not sure how we did it so many years without Gillis.”
Nicki Moser -

General Manager, Best Western Plus

“Before working with Gillis, we were not in a good situation. We were not able to respond to many of the leads that came through RFP, Nexus or hotel direct.  As a result, we lost a lot of business. After we joined Gillis, they took charge of everything. They have helped us understand our market and obtain base business in terms of groups. This really helped us to be #1 in the market, which we will be closing the year as such. The Gillis sales support services are customized and tailored to the needs of hotels. We are a hotel that has a HIGH volume of direct leads, and we tailored the program for a lead only model. This has allowed me to focus my time in other areas, such as operations, yielding rates, better understanding my market, training and coaching my staff, and ensuring that our revenue is in line with our strategies and goals. I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone! It is very cost-effective. If I had to hire a Sales Manager to do the same work that Gillis does, it would have been at a much higher salary. In addition, we are receiving the same level of commitment and service from our Business Development Manager that we would from a Sales Manager.”
Vandana Kumari -

General Manager, Best Western Plus

“Tammy Gillis and her organization have been nothing short of amazing! We have seen an approximate ROI of 10x at our BW PLUS hotel as well as a ROI of 4-5x at our BW hotel. The sales team is so dedicated, passionate and driven to deliver revenue to hotels. I just wish we started sooner with Gillis!”
Hitesh Patel -

President, Colorado Hospitality, Inc.

Contact Us for a Complimentary Sales Consultation

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Sales is the life blood of your organization.

No business has ever succeeded without sales. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming.

The good news is, we can teach you how to do it OR we can do it for you.

Our services will help you sell more rooms, stand out and succeed in a competitive market, and train your staff to implement sales more effectively.

Interested to learn how this applies to you? Contact us for a complimentary consultation.