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  • Ed Schwitzky

Fish…or Cut Bait?

COVID-19 was a disruption of seismic proportion. Is it possible we endured 20+ months of a pandemic and learned nothing?


Post-pandemic, three hotel Sales Managers were directed to make calls. One is assigned the local market and sets out for a day of appointments; additionally, she makes a few cold calls. Another does what he knows best and picks up the phone to reach out to his prospect list. The third uses email, figuring to reach the most clients during the time allocated.


At the end of the day, the hotel’s GM is waiting to debrief. His first question for the three Sales Managers is, “What did you book?”


The Sales Manager who visited planners in the local area reported several chose other venues to host events because they had not heard from the hotel in some time and did not know if the hotel was open, fully staffed, and ready for business…or if the hotel still wanted the planner’s business.


The Sales Manager who “dialed for dollars” had better luck; two planners expressed interest in doing site inspections, while another asked for a proposal.


By far, the Sales Manager who took to email logged the greatest number of contacts. But only a few replied. A couple said they were still doing virtual meetings and events. Another wanted to know about the hotel’s protocols around health and safety.


Given these Day 1 results – just a modest level of interest and engagement – one may conclude direct sales is an epic fail. And close the Sales Office and terminate the Managers.


But no. Hospitality leaders recognize Sales is a process of creating and nurturing relationships. And that process requires realistic expectations and measured persistence, tempered with patience.


Marketing, also, is a process of creating and nurturing relationships…much of which occurs digitally. Yet many of these same leaders expect every marketing tactic to work the first time. And every time. Too often Directors of Sales & Marketing are instructed to “cut bait” after one ad, one email, a couple of social media posts or limited paid search campaign.


Instead, we must chart the course…then stay the course long enough to give marketing tactics optimal opportunity to perform. Additionally, recognize performance in today’s digital world is not from a single channel, rather multi-touch attribution. Over time.


Marketing in our digital world requires persistence plus patience, supported by data.


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