The Sales Imperative: What Hotels Need to Do to Survive Post Covid

When the economy is good and hotels are making money, sales is something that flies under the radar and is not closely inspected or even fully understood by people in operations who oversee this function.

To successfully recover post Covid, hotels, brands and management companies will need to look at how the sales function is structured in their organization. They will need to determine if they have the right people with the right skills, and the right tools and training to compete in an environment that will be scarce with new opportunities and largely dependent on stealing business from the competition.

Hospitality organizations will need to consider 3 fundamental shifts if they are going to survive:

1) Everybody is in sales (or at least they should be)

    • Hotel teams can no longer operate in a silo. Sales, revenue management, operations, all need to come together, develop a strategy, and communicate vs. having competing priorities.
    • Front desk plays a critical role in the success of a hotel’s sales strategy. Too many front desk associates see their role as “checking people in and checking people out.” They can be great lead catchers for the sales department to further qualify and close.
    • The battleground for converting incoming inquires into reservations, will be the dialogue front desk agents have with the potential customers. Do they have the ability to communicate with confidence and clarity, the cleaning and social distancing protocols of the hotel and what is being done to keep guests safe? Train your front desk teams and do not leave these important policies open for interpretation.

2) What worked before will not work in the future

    • Pre-Covid many sales departments kept busy managing existing accounts and incoming inquires (aka “Farming”) as our industry enjoyed 10 straight years of REVPAR growth. With many demand generators, such as large conventions, sports tournaments, corporate, not travelling until 2021 and beyond, the pie has shrunk and there are not enough incoming inquiries to provide hotels with base business.
    • Sales people who only know how to farm, need to learn how to hunt. This requires a different mindset and a different skillset.
    • Prospects are not waiting for sales people to call and these modern buyers will not have the time or patience to engage with sales people who have not done their homework and are simply “smiling and dialing.”
    • Hotels will need to consider business from market segments they have not considered in the past to replace business from segments not travelling right now.

3) Sales is not a tactic deployed when the chips are down

    • It is an imperative business strategy that requires a seat at the same table as operations and everyone in the organization needs to own a piece of it.
    • Sales is proactive and consistent; not reactive and only thought about when there is an economic downturn, an increase in competition or a pandemic.
    • Sales is a marathon, not a race. There is no instant gratification in this sport.

Now is the time to recalibrate and ensure that sales has a seat at the executive table to drive the desired results hotels will need to recover from this pandemic. Organizations have an incredible opportunity to hit the reset button and build a high performing sales team with the right strategy, the most qualified people, and effective processes and tools in place to support the execution.

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

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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.