Leadership Essentials from the Hotel Sales Playbook

HSMAI Global recently launched itsCertified Hotel Sales Leader(CHSL) certification. This new program is designed to recognize the expertise of hotel sales leaders, emphasizing the most up-to-date sales and commercial principles, practices, and strategies.  

The CHSL certification is tailored for hospitality sales leaders who are proficient in leading high-performing teams, demonstrating overall commercial acumen, applying best practices in hotel sales to drive revenue growth, and more.   

Approved applicants willreceive a digital copy of the study guide,The Hotel Sales Playbook: Winning Strategies for Success,andcomplete an online examination covering essential functions of hospitality sales. Here we share excerpts from Chapter 2: Leadership Essentials, contributed by Ciara Feely and Amy Infante. 

Chapter 2: Leadership Essentials 

Cultivating Ownership Mentality 

At the heart of exceptional leadership lies the ability to instill an ownership mentality within the sales team. Encouraging team members to take ownership of their responsibilities fosters a sense of accountability and pride in their work. By viewing themselves as stakeholders in the organization’s success, sales professionals become more invested in achieving goals and delivering exceptional results. 

Start by building your and your team’s business acumen. As silos in hotel organizations continue to erode, and as sales professionals engage at a higher level with owners, asset managers, general managers (GMs), revenue management teams, and marketers, they are increasingly expected to demonstrate their knowledge of the sales discipline as well as operations and other functions. 

  • Sharpen the team’s understanding of the acronyms, jargon, and terminology used in and around the business of hotels. It will help strengthen their skills and build their reputations as knowledgeable team members. This book’s Glossary is a great place to start. It includes more than 300 terms every hotel sales professional needs to know to better communicate with their GMs, asset managers, owners, and colleagues in other commercial disciplines. 
  • Provide education and coaching to help the team understand how financial statements (P&Ls, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and more) are used to make business decisions. HSMAI’s Certified in Hospitality Business Acumen (CHBA) program is a highly effective online course on this topic. 

Another best practice for every sales team — whether reporting directly to the owner/operator, a management company, or a brand/chain — is to devote time to the exercise of putting themselves in the owners’ shoes. Consider facilitating a monthly or quarterly “ownership mentality” discussion with your team to talk about questions like: 

  • What keeps our stakeholders up at night? 
  • What risks are they taking to pay for our team and resources to support us? 
  • What expectations do they have for our team? 
  • Why are those expectations set that way? 
  • Why might sales not be their biggest priority? 
  • Why and when does the owner’s attention focus on sales? 
  • What is the owner’s level of sales acumen and why does that matter to us? 
  • Why is accurate, timely, consistent, and clear reporting so critical? 

The most effective way to cultivate an ownership mentality is to be transparent with the hotel’s goals, the “why” that is the root of those goals, and how the revenue and management teams agree the sales team can help reach those goals. Diving into these topics and making them a part of the blueprint for how a team conducts business can be a game-changer in the team’s willingness and ability to embrace a stronger ownership mentality. 

In Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek shares, “Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.” 

A Powerful Monthly Sales Meeting Agenda1 

Use this sample agenda as part of your strategy to build a culture of intentional communication and innovative collaboration. 

The purpose of time limits on the agenda is to ensure that there is enough time to resolve significant issues, go beyond simple updates, and enhance a culture of solving challenges together as a team. Adjust the recommended time limits for the size of your team, frequency of meetings, and other unique needs. 

Personal & Professional Celebrations (5 minutes) 

Each team member shares one personal and one professional update they want to celebrate. This builds comradery among the team and starts the meeting focused on a positive note no matter the noise, pressure, or stress occurring around the business. 

Scorecard Review (5 minutes) 

Review the team’s high-level scorecard of key performance indicators (KPIs).2 Quickly review results in a fact-based manner. Any underperforming KPIs can be discussed more in depth later in the meeting. 

Key Strategy Review (5 minutes) 

Review the 3-5 core strategies for the hotel and sales team and how they intersect with the entire organization. This is the opportunity to drive the “why” behind the strategy, as well as reiterate everyone’s role in the strategy. 

Customer and Employee Updates (5 minutes) 

Team members share updates on customers and/or employees. These updates will be diverse — from announcements of departures and promotions to new hires, customer moves, and customer sentiment alerts. 

Last Meeting’s To-Do List Review (5 minutes) 

Every meeting produces a series of next steps and to-dos. It is important that these are documented and then addressed in the following meeting to ensure tasks stay on track and there is accountability within the team. 

Issues Discussions (35 minutes) 

Designed to resolve issues, this is the longest portion of the meeting. When a team is moving quickly, the root cause of issues often becomes clouded. The issues discussion is for solving challenges and focusing on what the team in the room can control, so that the issues do not continue to bubble back to the surface. 

Conclusion (5 minutes) 

Recap the to-dos that came out of the meeting, review any messages that need to go out to other departments or missing team members, and rate the meeting allowing team members to give feedback on the quality of the meeting and ways to improve. 

HSMAI members who attain the CHSL certification will gain professional recognition, career advancement opportunities, and the ability to contribute more effectively to their organizations’ success. For more information, visithsmaiacademy.org/certification-hotel-sales-leaderor contact Kathy Tindell atkathy.tindell@hsmai.org.  

Categories: Sales
Insight Type: Articles