How To Overhaul Sales Proposals To Win Group Business

Which proposals usually make it to a meeting planner’s short list: a proposal template full of sales clichés that is only updated with a group’s name, dates, rates, and space; or a proposal that reflects a hotel’s and sales manager’s personality, plus presents thoughtful solutions to help achieve the meeting objectives and the planner’s goals?

To meet and exceed group business revenue targets, a group business sales proposal needs to impress meeting planners with every word on every page instead of offering the same bland presentation they’re used to seeing. Hotel sales is not B2B, but rather P2P—people to people. The proposals sales teams send out should be customized and answer to the unique situation that each meeting planner brings up.

After deleting that standard, one-size-fits-all proposal template, here are four rules every hotel sales team should follow to build a better sales proposal:

Find out what drives the meeting planner’s success.
Meeting planners don’t care about the recent awards hotels won, or how wonderful a hotel says its property or staff is. Meeting planners are just like everyone else and want to know: “What’s in it for me?” When planners search for a venue, they want to know how the hotel plans on helping them achieve their attendee’s needs, their meeting objectives, and most of all, how the hotel and sales team can help them look good. Sales managers should gather that information about the group upfront, for example, by setting up a call with the meeting planner to ask questions and understand the group. Knowing the group’s and planner’s needs will help create a proposal that is 100 percent relevant to their goals.


Be cautious when discussing investments vs. costs.
There is a massive difference between discussing costs and discussing an investment, so it’s important to think carefully when mentioning venue fees. Common words hotel sales managers use–such as “fee,” “charge,” “expense,” “price,” and “rate”–all unwittingly convey the removal of money from a planner’s event budget. Organizations and companies hold events because they expect something in return, whether that’s a stronger sales force, more connection among association members, a more informed industry, etc. Instead use the word “investment.” An investment means that choosing a hotel’s property will lead to something signifcant in return, like surpassing the meeting goals and objectives.

Add some “wow” features.
Ditch the text-heavy proposals and standard hotel photos in exchange for elements that can help a hotel stand out and propel proposals to the top of the pile. Go visual by throwing out the Word document all together and presenting a proposal via video, or show photos of similar industry clients and how they leveraged the hotel space. Tell a story by including testimonials that make an impression, rather than vague feedback such as, “everything was great!” Include video clips of previous event attendees sharing what they enjoyed most about the hotel. Proposals can even start with a video introduction so that the planner can “meet” the hotel sales manager.

Avoid the most common hotel proposal mistake.
Instead of copying and pasting lists of hotel amenities and features into a proposal, return to the planner’s meeting objectives and present a hotel’s features and amenities as part of the solution. Show the meeting planner not only what the hotel offers, but how it will explicitly get them closer to achieving their event aspirations.


About the Author
Kemp Gallineau is the CEO of Groups360, a hospitality company bringing transparency and simplicity to meetings transactions. Gallineau is the former CSO for Gaylord Entertainment, and has served as a senior vice president and general manager for three of the largest hotels in the U.S.

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