Post by Roger A. Miller, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Hospitality Ventures Management Group
When it comes to driving revenue at a hotel, an aggressive, results-oriented director of sales & marketing is essential. Unfortunately, too many firms focus almost exclusively on recruiting a high-profile DOS with lots of contacts and industry knowledge while neglecting to have the environment and infrastructure in place to actually ensure success.
As a VP or corporate director of sales & marketing for over 35 years (much of it with HVMG - Hospitality Ventures Management Group), I have found seven key strategies that need to be executed in order to ensure every new hire DOS in your portfolio is set up for success from the moment they walk in the door.
Establish a well-defined corporate sales & marketing culture.
Your aggressive sales culture will set the tone and performance expectations and make it easier to find a DOS that’s a good match. Once established, don’t waver from it and make sure you have buy-in from the entire corporate team. Create written assessments for all DOS candidates (no exceptions) to match their experience, style and skill set to your culture. And, get the property GM and the corporate senior executives for operations and sales involved in the interview process.
Create site specific DOS job descriptions and goals before interviews.
You’ve got to fit the candidate to the job, not vice versa, so make sure you have clearly defined the specific market segments represented and monthly sales activity and revenue goals prior to interviews. Base the goals on the individual hotel’s priority revenue/market share needs, and discuss them during interviews instead of after hiring (a huge mistake that’s often repeated).
Stay focused on your needs during interviews.
It’s easy to start loving a candidate for some other reason other than your defined needs, but that’s a recipe for trouble. Focus your interview on finding out if their experience and skill set match your established goals, job description and corporate culture. Make sure you address your firm’s “sales automation system” and specific expectations so accountability is understood up front. And, review your bonus plan thoroughly if one exists.
Respect the finalist while protecting your hotel/firm.
With millions potentially at stake, there’s no need to apologize for checking resume references and conducting drug tests and professional background checks. Don’t gamble. It is more cost-effective in the long run to be thorough.
Make an offer responsibly, professionally and well spelled-out.
Get off on the right foot by writing a detailed offer letter. Always have an expiration date and never leave it hanging past that because a candidate can use your offer as leverage with their current employer if given enough time. Also, clearly spell out a start date because a miscommunication here can lead to hard feelings and ultimate failure.
Implement a structured post-hire DOS orientation.
Even if you discussed your goals and corporate culture during the interview, you have less than a 50 percent chance of your DOS being successful without a comprehensive orientation conducted by both the property GM and the corporate VP of sales & marketing. The GM should address the site-specific information while the corporate VP should focus on corporate concerns such as culture, marketing programs, report process/expectations, and sales automation procedures. You owe this to every DOS you hire.
On-site follow up by the VP of sales & marketing is critical during the first 90 days.
There’s no substitute for an on-site, in-person follow up by the VP of sales & marketing within 90 days of hiring the DOS. Advice, technical input and encouragement can be provided on the inevitable questions that come only after someone is on the job for a while. Also, any attitude or performance issues can be addressed before they fester into a bigger problem. Remember, you work for them as much as they work for you.
Setting up a DOS for success doesn’t just happen by chance. It’s carefully orchestrated, planned and implemented. Pay the price up front. It will pay off the vast majority of the time.