Post by Jay Molitor, Vice President of Operations, Hospitality Ventures Management Group
There’s no denying that a great general manager can spell the difference between success and failure at a hotel. GMs are the heart and soul of a successful hotel, setting the tone for service and performance as they motivate and inspire their teams to be their best every day.
But in today’s ultra-competitive environment where the bottom line is being scrutinized like never before, it’s not enough for GMs to be a manager of people only. They’ve also got to be laser-focused on generating and managing revenue, from being an effective sales leader to analyzing rate structure and the competition on a daily basis.
Make sure you hire a revenue-focused GM by getting these questions answered the next time you’re interviewing candidates.
Are they comfortable being the leader of the sales team?
Revenue-focused GMs are the natural sales leaders at their hotels. They have a passion for it and it comes across during the interview. They enjoy being involved in every aspect of generating business, they attend sales and revenue management meetings, they know the top clients, and they contribute to servicing them. During my 15 years as a general manager of four hotels, I spent more time (by necessity) with the sales staff than any other department.
Do they go on sales calls?
Revenue-focused GMs actively participate in sales calls. They realize the influence their title can have in closing a sale, and they know who their best sales ‘closers’ are because they’ve personally seen them in action.
Do they have their own clients?
Revenue-focused GMs often have their own clients, many of whom will follow them to their new hotel if possible. Ask them who their top accounts are and how they won them. Ask them how they got to know the decision makers and what they really know about them. If you get a general, rambling answer, odds are they weren’t as intimately involved in securing those accounts as they say. Also, ask them what key new accounts are they after, and what’s their strategy for bringing them to your hotel.
Are they involved in rate and competitive analysis?
Revenue-focused GMs accept responsibility for top-line revenue generation. They know what their competition is doing and what they’re charging, and they’re analyzing rate structure on a daily basis to find ways to maximize revenue. Ask them what revenue management strategies they have employed recently to secure a new account or keep a current one in house.
Are they helping develop their sales staff?
While they’re actively involved with sales, revenue-focused GMs know they can’t be a sales force of one. Ask them what sales training and other professional development initiatives they’ve undertaken to support and enhance the skills of their sales team.
Do they understand eMarketing?
Today’s revenue-focused GMs possess a savvy understanding of how hotel and brand web sites contribute to the bottom line, and they embrace the power and possibilities of eMarketing. Ask them what they have done to improve their hotels’ presence and performance in eCommerce.
While GMs don’t necessarily need to have a sales background to succeed, their skill set and personality need to be a valuable asset for generating and managing revenue for their hotels. That’s because with an ample flow of revenue, everything else at the hotel can—and will—operate a lot better.