Last week I, like many other people, stopped to reflect on the past 12 months. My thoughts were of the impact the pandemic has had on my children, family, friends and colleagues as well as my beloved industry. UKHospitality reported that Hospitality had lost a staggering £72BN in sales in 2020.
It's with excitement today that I see reports of trial events in Barcelona, event enquiry levels increasing and site visits now being allowed. But there's still a long way to go.
To avoid losing a single opportunity, venues, hotels, pubs and restaurants across the country are putting plans and systems in place to ensure that enquiries, bookings and reservations are handled in a professional way once more. These processes should be rigorously tested to ensure that they are fit to cope with the expected volume of enquiries and that customers get a great experience. Mystery Shopper's test calling/e-booking the venue to benchmark their experience against an agreed company standard can help to identify problem areas, giving the venue the opportunity to swiftly remedy and remove risk.
New strategies, revised processes and objectives are being written for teams to work towards. Refresher training sessions and inductions for new starters are being penned. Having been deprived of what they love doing, teams will need a clear overview of the direction of the business and given time to familiarise themselves with new ways of working. If a Sales Refresh is needed, outside help may be required to show teams that they are being invested in and that they can still have a viable career within the sector.
Consideration is required regarding how best to re-engage with customers, not all of them have had a bad year - new opportunities are out there. By creating categories of customers - previous key customers, previous prospects, previous leads along with new prospects and new leads etc it is possible to break the task down and delegate as required. Research should still be carried out prior to contacting any customer along with their being clear messages and calls to action.
Competitor sets will have changed. Unfortunately, there will be gaps in the marketplace that well known competitors once filled, along with their being possible new entries. A thorough competitor analysis will enable you to see who is there and what there strategy for return is. Keeping ahead of the competition will be key to success in 2021.
I am so proud to have created a business that supports hospitality in all of the above ways. After 30 + years of working in this sector, I really do consider it a privilege to be helping the industry to return.
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