Are you an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to sell your product or service to the hotel industry? Does your product hit the mark of solving problems or helps hoteliers to meet goals? Are you finding the process of getting your product into hotels is complex and you are looking for more effective ways to market your products? Do you need ideal solutions for selling products to hotels?
If so, then great news: it looks like you’ve come to exactly the right place. You see, many companies – from small start-ups with innovative ideas to well-established brands – are eager to get in front of key stakeholders and decision makers in the lodging industry, but find the hotel business and decision-making process is very different than other industries like retail, grocery, apartments, etc. Let’s dive deeper into five ways how you can better achieve success and grow sales in this market.
- Know your audience. When selling products to hotels, it’s important to know who they decision-makers are. Are you selling to the hotel owner or hotel manager? The front desk staff? The housekeeping department? The management company? The brand? The GPO? What is a GPO? The hospitality ecosystem can lead to one decision maker for your product or service, or several stakeholders may be a part of the process. Knowing who you’re selling, and what each of their roles are in the industry will help you tailor your sales message and increase your chances of making a sale.
- Understand the hotel industry’s needs, goals, and trends. First, think of a hotel like six different businesses under one roof – Food and beverage, facilities maintenance, cleaning and sanitizing systems, guest services, spas (at some), and group sales and catering/events. What department if your product suitable for and how is the decision made on whether to procure? Secondly, keep up with the news, guest profiles and requirements/desires, brand specifications, and trends and goals hoteliers are focused on. What are the problems the industry is facing worldwide, in the United States, or in that region? What are the successes and average ADR and OCC? What does ADR and OCC mean? Supply chain and labor issues are widespread and new suppliers to the industry will want to make it easy for hotels to order and get their products timely, while not requiring labor to use it.
- Make it easy for them to say yes. It’s important to provide the right marketing material and ordering processes that are typical for hotels. Each decision maker may want specific information, and a POS (Point of Sale) sheet may be required. Owners will want a financial pro forma so that they can see the effect on the NOI (Net Operating Income). What about eProcurement purchasing requirements? Many hotels will want to ensure suppliers can be set up on their platform since they may be clients of an eProcurement system like Birchstreet, iBuyEfficient, ReactorNet and more. Hotels are busy places, and the staff doesn’t have time to waste going through PowerPoints and links to websites. Hotel specific points and language, eBrochures, and case studies make it much easier for them to understand how your product is right for them. Have all the information they need readily available and be prepared to answer any questions they may have. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
- Offer favorable pricing. Hotels are always looking for ways to save money and paying retail pricing is not favorable. So, offer them a discount on the products you’re selling and be very careful to ensure that you set industry-wide pricing – the same pricing for all hotels, or tiered pricing based on the number of hotels within a management company or owner company. Management companies and owners have several hotels. They appreciate a discount if a certain number of hotels purchase your product or service. This will help the bottom line on their P&L and make it more likely to buy from you. Be very transparent about shipping, installation, or other costs so they clearly understand the total costs. Hoteliers realize there are some cost-recovery items for suppliers, such as commissioning fees, or shipping. Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO’s) provide procurement services for the majority of management companies, and they have their own pricing, QA, and service requirements.
- Follow up after the sale proactively. Congratulations on getting your product sold! Will you need an account manager now? Once you’ve made a sale, set up a contact touchpoint schedule to reach out to them before they reach out to you. Hotel suppliers will always do best if they know about problems, issues, or questions proactively rather than reactively. Follow up with the hotel staff and other decision makers to ensure they’re happy with the product and that everything is going smoothly. This follow-up will help build relationships and could lead to repeat business down the road. You’ll develop champions, great testimonials, and references. The hotel industry is a large business but operates small since hoteliers frequently talk with each other and are happy to tell others about your product.
The hotel industry is on its way to great successes to meet their goals in 2023 and beyond. If you want your business to succeed in selling products and services to the hospitality industry, it’s important to partner with an organization that understands this complex ecosystem. At iDEAL Hospitality Partners Group, a team of hospitality veterans and experts who offer best-in-class business development advisory services can lead the way to strategically navigate these waters and help your company be in the very best position possible so that the hotel industry will procure the goods and services your company provides. Entrepreneurs, founders, and CEO’s can save money by getting on the proper path to generate sales in the hotel business, rather than trying to use a broker or manufacturers rep – these generally do not work in the hotel business. Educational classes at iDEAL Hospitality Partners Group on Selling To Hotels is a great way to learn about the hospitality ecosystem and develop a plan for success. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you grow your business! Email us at email@example.com or call 984-235-5855.