Hotel sales managers manage sales accounts for both boutique hotels and hotel chains. Their primary job responsibility is to close sales with associations and conventions for their hotels. Smaller accounts (with individual patrons) may be a secondary function at smaller hotels, while larger hotels might separate the two job duties entirely. Sales managers generally have a strong sales and hospitality background and enjoy working with people to help coordinate events.
Researching New Accounts
Research is essential to bringing in new business for the hotel, so sales managers spend part of their time researching and identifying accounts. Since many accounts are trade organizations hosting conferences in a specified city, research often includes reaching out to event planners or coordinators at organizations near and far to solicit business. Other types of accounts can include weddings and receptions, local corporate training groups or local events, such as a sports tournament. Sales managers stay abreast of the events happening in their city and pounce on those opportunities.
Every job function should ultimately lead to "closing" or securing sales for the hotel. Sales managers may be evaluated at regular intervals on their ability to bring in business for the hotel, so this is a key component on their job. Identifying and courting customers, selling the benefits and amenities of their hotel and following up with the customer are all actions that help close sales. Intimate knowledge of the hotel and its place among local and regional competitors is generally required to close sales.
Closing sales and securing accounts can sometimes only be half the battle. Hotels thrive on the repeat business of their existing accounts, so a sales manager is often tasked with keeping clients happy and managing accounts. Besides ensuring that the event is completed successfully, this can also include negotiating prices and rewarding customers for loyalty and/or accepting feedback to help make the next year's event even more successful. This duty might also include a small amount of problem-solving (if there were issues with the event) and a great amount of liaison with other hotel managers, if applicable, to help repeat customers get the best "deal" on an upcoming event.
A hotel sales manager's job is not done after securing the sale. She is often called upon to manage the special events (including industry conferences, weddings and the like), ensuring that guests at the hotel are properly attended to, that the facilities are set up properly or even helping to greet guests. Since the success of one event might determine repeat business or a word-of-mouth recommendation, sales managers are usually willing to help with every aspect of the event.
As a management position, a large part of the sales managers duties are creating, training and managing a staff of sales professionals. Depending on the size of the hotel, the staff can be as small as just one additional person or can include more than a dozen other workers. The sales team may be comprised of account managers, account associates or coordinators (both of whom may bring in sales) and also administrative, support staff positions.
Pay and Job Prospects
Hotel sales manager pay varies depending on education and years of experience, although the average yearly salary is around $50,000, as of 2010. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs and salaries in the hotel and hospitality industries were expected to increase at a smaller rate than the entire American job industry from 2008 to 2018. With the industry trend of chain hotels to place regional managers, new opportunities will arise for existing hotel sales professionals.
Education and Experience
A college degree is not required by most hotels, although at least three years of experience is often sought before becoming a sales manager. Individuals with degrees may, however, be favored over uneducated candidates. To gain experience, future hotel sales managers may work their way through the ranks of a hotel's management before becoming a hotel sales manager.