All good advice will tell you to use high resolution photos to show off your resort to the very best – that a high resolution photo is worth 1,000 words. However, it is a mistake that many resorts make to believe that your product will sell itself. Your resort may possibly be your personal property, the resort you have spent untold months and even years building up, your pride and joy, a labour of love and more but it is still a business and, without sufficient guests, it is doomed to fail.
I have written before about the importance of selling your destination when selling your resort. You very probably recognised the need to employ a Director of Sales for your resort and will have carefully have picked the right person to produce results for your property. Perhaps you have faced the cost of sending your Director of Sales to attend trade shows such as ITB Berlin and World Travel Market in London – substantial air fare, hotel, other travel costs and, of course, exhibition costs with an entirely unknown return on investment (ROI).
The fact of life is that an on-property Director of Sales, with all the best contacts maintained by e-mail and by phone and perhaps even met at major trade shows such as these, cannot achieve what a resort sales representative based in your target markets can achieve for you by tackling the business at source. Business on a B2B level is conducted throughout the year – not only at trade shows – and much more is achieved with frequent face to face contact than can be achieved by phone and e-mail alone.
This week, Joaquin Cababie of SmartOtels visited the offices of Kuoni Travel – a major UK tour operator in the luxury market for South East Asia resorts and hotels – at Kuoni product team’s invitation and to present our clients Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa, Palawan, Philippines. That presentation can lead to business for other client resorts and hotels and should also result in joint marketing opportunities and participation for SmartOtels in Kuoni road shows around the UK. These are opportunities which a UK based resort sales representative can pursue easily but which do not come to a Director of Sales based on property.
A good resort or hotel sales representative will:
- Exploit close contacts with UK and Europe tour operators, travel agents, incentive agents and corporate clients.
- Make presentations to key contacts to position your resort properly in the UK and European markets.
- Carry out negotiations with tour operators to get the best mix of volume and rates.
- Finalise the details of your property being featured in tour operator programmes.
- Provide product training for tour operator staff on your resort.
- Conduct product training for key travel agents selling the programmes.
- Arrange press and travel agent familiarisation trips to visit your resort.
- Develop exposure and awareness of the destinations in which the resort is located.
- Maintain constant social media exposure for your resort to their networks.
- Carry out on going e-mail marketing to key contacts.
- Liaise closely throughout the year with UK and Europe based tourism authorities for your country.
- Attend trade shows in the UK and Europe throughout the year – not just the well known major shows but a number of niche events for weddings and other niche business.
- Feed market intelligence to you including feedback on appropriate rates to give to tour operators and your local DMC’s
- Deliver a sound, measurable ROI.
Last but not least: do all of this throughout 12 months of the year for about the same as it might cost you to send your own Director of Sales to ITB Berlin and World Travel Market, London – two events totalling just 6 business days when he or she may, or may not, meet all the right people.
A good resort sales representative keeps your resort humanised and personalised throughout the year with key contacts, participating in joint marketing efforts and keeping you up to date with what is happening in the UK and Europe markets.
E-mail and phone calls are no substitute for this day to day human contact in the B2B arena where your resort’s impact in the UK and European markets is going to be decided. The photos are critical but the decision as to whether or not to retain a good UK and Europe resort sales representative is not so much a matter of whether you can afford to and more a matter of whether you can afford not to – whether your investment in this way is best spent on a few days of face to face contact or a whole year.
SmartOtels portfolio now includes:
…with more announcements of additions to SmartOtels UK and Europe resort sales representative portfolio anticipated soon.