It’s Time for a Sales Check-up – Part 2

Excerpt from “Room to Grow” by Tammy Gillis

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? Last time we looked at the importance of avoiding the cold call and the revolving door of your sales office. Let’s continue to take a look at how you can improve your sales strategy.

When evaluating your sales strategy consider the following:

If you build it, they will come: If you expected the sign on your hotel alone would bring in business, you may be under another common misconception. In a thriving economy, there’s enough demand generators to send you, and your competitors, all the bookings you need. But in a tough economy, when there’s oversupply in the industry and not enough business to go around, the brand alone isn’t enough.

The truth is that even during a thriving economy, a “build it and they will come” mentality isn’t sustainable. A successful hotel needs a strong local sales strategy and presence in the market. No brand will deliver enough business to keep a hotel busy all year round, and brands are not going to take care of a hotel’s backyard sales.

Losing opportunities at the front desk: Are your front desk staff qualifying leads or letting them get away? Do they see themselves as an important part of the sales team or do they see their role as “I check people in, and I check people out?” Do they have the tools, and have they been trained on how to qualify guests at check-in and how to convert incoming inquiries into reservations?

Don’t leave it open to interpretation. What gets measured gets done, and it’s critical to have SOPs that all front desk staff are trained in for handling check-in and reservations. They can be an important part of your sales strategy to identify leads and give them to the sales department or general manager for follow-up.

Making a Diagnosis

These are just a few scenarios to consider. If you can see yourself in any of these stories, you are likely experiencing some pain as it relates to your sales strategy. They may be slightly exaggerated (or perhaps not), but they are here to help you recognize the common symptoms of why the state of sales in the hospitality industry needs to change.

Each of these symptoms relates back to an overall approach to the sales function that is transactional, not strategic. As a result, in most instances, the above examples demonstrate how the sales function has become reactive, not proactive. There’s an immediate problem, so they solve it. There’s competition, so they offer a better price.

The consequences of any of these examples take us to the heart of the problem: a lack of sales imperative. In good times, you may get by with some of these scenarios, but when business begins to return, operations will likely take priority over sales.

All of this changes during times of scarcity. There’s not enough business for everyone when sales drop dramatically. The numbers back this up: According to a study by CSO Insights pre-COVID, only 53 percent of salespeople were meeting or exceeding their sales targets. The study suggested that sales organizations are not evolving fast enough to meet the needs of today’s informed buyers.

It becomes obvious that hotels have not been in control of their own destiny. They haven’t been in the driver’s seat. They’ve been a passenger, happily riding along taking business as it comes along until it doesn’t.

Now is the time to change our mindset about sales and take the necessary steps to re-build our sales strategy in order to ensure we are prepared for the next downturn. The hospitality industry is fiercely competitive, it’s hard work, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But the gains and the satisfaction are hugely rewarding for those willing to put in the effort. No one said it would be easy, but neither is the alternative.

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.

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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.