Is It Time for a Sales Check-up?

Excerpt from “Room to Grow” by Tammy Gillis

A lot has happened over the past several decades with regards to sales in the hospitality industry. From staffing shortages, and the difficulty in holding on to good salespeople, to the dependency on OTAs (online travel agencies) for base business, to the reality that any salesperson who came into the industry from 2009 to 2019 didn’t have to look too far to find business.

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 will do so because sales is something they have consistently and effectively managed in good times and in bad.

It’s not that sales teams lacked information and data. Salespeople already had the technology and tools they needed at their disposal, but they were not using the information to better understand the customer. Most were not taking the time to do research, and or not taking the time to understand if they were a fit. On all fronts, it was mostly 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 hide behind their desks as phones stopped ringing and incoming inquiries became nonexistent.

The realities of today present an opportunity for those who are willing to make some fundamental shifts in how they approach sales. What do we need to do to elevate sales in the hospitality industry and move forward with a strong sales imperative? Let’s start with a sales check-up.

Sales Check-Up

Here’s some questions to ask when evaluating your sales strategy:

Smiling and dialing: Is your sales team smiling and dialing without adequate planning, research, and preparation ahead of time—frustrated because no one calls them back, and when they do, all the customer wants is a cheaper rate?  This is the most common symptom we see. It consumes hundreds of hours of time, with current statistics telling us it takes 18 calls to connect to a single buyer, and in the end, all you’re doing is giving the customer information they can likely find out on their own.

No prospect wants a call from a salesperson who isn’t prepared and is just going to pitch-slap them. Despite the low pick-up rate, salespeople need to be prepared as if a prospect is going to pick up every time.

Cold calling isn’t an effective sales strategy and given the information and tools salespeople have at their disposal, your team needs a sales process and a framework for researching prospects before picking up the phone or sending an email, to make it a warm call.

The revolving door on the sales office: Are you experiencing high turnover in your sales department? Hotels lose momentum and struggle getting traction with their sales efforts. How many salespeople have you hired in the past few years? When you do hire, are you sure what “good” looks like today? In other words, are you clear about the characteristics, skills and the mindset you are looking for in a salesperson?

High turnover and not having the right person in the right seat is disruptive to your business in many ways. It’s expensive to continually hire, train, and ramp up a new person only to have them not work out and have to do it again.

Sales has changed dramatically in the past few years. Sellers need more than just strong product knowledge and interpersonal skills and your management should know how to choose the right salesperson for the right role. Each role profile requires its own skillset and mindset. Keeping good staff is also a challenge because sales isn’t a career most people choose.

Some of Our Clients

Proudly Serving Clients throughout US & Canada

“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

800.296.2962 |


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.