Let’s Talk About the “Accidental Salesperson”

The hospitality industry is one of the world’s largest employers. It also has an extremely high annual turnover rate: 73.8 percent. Sales and operations are no exception. In a good economy, this meant a labor shortage for those running sales departments in hotels or trying to make their own sales quotas.

The decade before 2020 has shown us that it is almost impossible to find and keep a good salesperson. For a few dollars more, your star player in sales could be persuaded to join the competition. Finding a replacement could take months, adding a further burden to the already overworked general manager. This was devasting for the sales function.

As a result, the sales function for the most part, was forced to take a back seat to operations. Most employed in sales were also frustrated. The day-to-day drag of selling rates, dates, and space, getting pulled into operations, or having to attend too many meetings didn’t contribute to positive employee engagement. And so, the cycle spiraled downwards: salespeople ended up going to the competition or leaving the industry altogether.

All of this exposed a general lack of sales training and rigour in the industry, particularly when it came to hiring and retaining staff—factors that show up when we talk about how most got into the industry in the first place: by accident.

Moving beyond the accidental salesperson

No one grows up saying they want to become a professional salesperson when they get older. Most salespeople stumble into their sales career. If there’s a labor shortage, such as we have seen in the past year, many have been reassigned or furloughed. Others are “temporarily” moved into a sales position, often from operations, because they were good at working at the front desk or as a coordinator and showed some aptitude for building relationships.

While some have a good overview of the market and may have even taken online training with their brand, they may not have the skills needed to feel confident in the role. Some may have enough knowledge to speak about key features of the hotel. They may have been great at conducting a property site inspection with a potential client and could even attend a networking event and hand out business cards.

But for accidental salespeople, that’s usually the extent of their training in sales. The reality is that if you’re trying to be a qualified sales professional, there’s no training or required certification to make sure you understand and know how to do all aspects of your job.

Now our industry is facing a potential onslaught of travelers as many hit the road this summer, looking to escape their homes after a year of quarantine. But today’s modern buyer is more informed than ever before. Does your team have the right mindset and skillset to shift from selling “rates, dates, and space” to offering meaningful relevant solutions? Are they able to differentiate your hotel from the competition? Do they have the training skills they need to effectively articulate your value proposition?

Gillis is committed to elevating the sales profession by helping prepare staff to better engage with today’s buyer through training, consulting and ongoing support as our industry recovers.

Whether your sales team is large or small, if you take the time to ensure they have the proper training to do the job right you will increase your success rate when prospecting and be seen as a trusted advisor.

Don’t leave sales to chance. Contact us today to learn how to shorten the sales cycle and provide your team with best practices on how to nurture and activate your accounts.

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

800.296.2962 | sales@gillissales.com


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.