A tale of 2 Cities ... no ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 cities!

Posted by Mike Mason

May 25, 2012 11:57:00 AM

When searching for hotel availability, less is more.

I have a sad story to share. It’s about a little boy named Timmy, his puppy named “Skipper,” and a dream. Rather, a dream gone bad. You see, Timmy wanted to be a hotel salesperson – not just any hotel salesperson, but the best hotel salesperson ever.

Timmy grew up and studied hotel sales in college. He even started out washing dishes in hotels just to get in the door. When he finally made it into sales, he proclaimed, “Awesome, dudes. I’m gonna be the best dang salesperson ever.”

But alas, what started as a dream quickly faded into harsh reality as he found his day being spent responding to mountains of online RFPs. That wouldn’t have been so bad if they booked every once in a while, but these rarely did. Timmy’s dreams had been dashed on the rocky shoreline of RFP Spam.

(OK, I should note that what I’m describing actually did happen, but I’ve paraphrased it to keep it as short as possible. Also, I made up the puppy.)

I had an opportunity to chat with Timmy recently as he was responding to one of those many online RFPs. He reported that this was a pretty typical lead. I asked, “How many hotels are you competing against?” He said he didn’t know exactly – but he knew the RFP was sent to seven different cities.

“That’s a lot of cities,” I exclaimed. Timmy agreed. And it took him roughly 40 minutes to complete the online RFP. Let’s assume that the lead went to just four or five hotels in each city. That meant there could be as many as 35 sales managers, each spending 35-45 minutes, on a meeting that had no better than a 3% chance of booking at any given hotel. Overall, that’s about 25 hours of labor.

The sad thing is, for the planner who sent this out, all of the Timmies at all of those hotels have no choice but to switch to auto-pilot as they fill in the answers to the questions. They can’t give you their best thinking and most personalized offers, specifically because they know they have virtually no shot at booking it. I’ve talked with many planners who are frustrated by the fact that on many occasions bids are coming back incomplete or late, or sometimes not coming back at all. It’s not because Timmy is a bad sales manager. It’s because he’s drowning in low-converting RFPs.

So, how does this story end? Stay tuned! On Monday, I’ll share with you the path we recommend you take – a path that will actually take less of your time and deliver you more benefit from Timmy’s hard work than you would have thought possible.

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Topics: RFP Tips

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