Knowing What Good Looks Like

Knowing What Good Looks Like

Hiring, Onboarding, and Retaining Sales Staff

Consider for a moment a salesperson or a sales director doing sales pre covid?

What might they tell you about their experience in sales?

They’d likely talk about how successful they were. During a time of unprecedented growth in the industry, they were able to meet their revenue targets. They grew their accounts by staying connected with clients and being personable and available to respond to incoming inquiries. But ask yourself: Did they ever have the experience of making call after call without the instant gratification that comes from hearing “yes”?

Today’s sales realities mean that the salesperson you hired 10 years ago is probably not the salesperson you need today. Building a sales team and not leaving sales to chance means that your hires have to be effective and skilled at selling regardless of shifts in the market or new competitors, and they need to be able to have a business conversation with an informed buyer.

What kind of sales team do you need?

The size and structure of your sales team are determined by a number of factors. Start by looking at your hotel segment and number of rooms—economy, mid-scale, select service, full service—your brand, size of market, and demand generators in your area. For example, a hotel located in a tier-one market with 500 rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space is going to need a different sales structure than an 80-room Holiday Inn Express in a secondary market. If you are an independent hotel with no brand support, you will need to invest in some level of  sales support.

And don’t expect hunters to be farmers, or vice versa. Hunters get their energy through  pursuing new opportunities. They have a lot of initiative and are not easily discouraged. They are competitive and high achievers. Farmers are more focused on developing relationships. They are the nurturers who want to provide a high degree of customer service. They enjoy the busy details that come with putting together contracts and banquet event orders (BEO s).

Most salespeople do a bit of both—incoming inquiry management and new business  development—but in general, if someone is good at one, they should lean into those strengths. Don’t expect a lead catcher (a farmer) to be good at hunting for new business. And if you constrain a hunter to a desk job managing wedding blocks and administrative tasks, they will likely leave as soon as something more interesting comes their way.

One of the pain points I often hear from clients is their frustration with finding and maintaining sales talent. They hire candidates who look good on paper and have experience, or they hire someone with less experience who they feel is coachable. But within six months to a year, the owner does not see the results, the salesperson either leaves or is terminated, and the process starts again. These are symptoms of bigger challenges, and in our industry and in my experience, there are three key areas that need an overhaul if we want to reduce the high turnover:


  1.  Many hotel owners don’t know what they are looking for (i.e., what “good” looks like) because many don’t have a sales background and don’t know how to screen for the right candidate.
  2.  Too many organizations don’t have the sales infrastructure in place to support this role once the salesperson is onboard. They assume that if they hire experienced salespeople, they will know what to do.
  3.  Outdated hiring practices. Now more than ever, sales professionals are looking for work/life balance. Many are tired of working on property and getting pulled into operations. They are looking for hybrid or remote positions that afford them the flexibility that other industries offer. They also value training, coaching and support, which the hotel industry does not consistently do well.


Vacant sales positions impact revenue and so does employee turnover. Take the time to consider what you are looking for and ensure you have the job description that fits that role profile along with an  internal support system to coach, develop and measure your sales team.

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 salespeople 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 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 fastest route to the business I need.  This has become our most effective resource, and I 100% recommend the Gillis solution to my colleagues."
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

“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

“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.