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 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@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.