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Hotel Sales Pros Use Psychological Weapons To Close More Business: Part 2

August 25, 2015


Last week we covered the first three (of six) psychological triggers that hotel sales executives can use to influence prospect decision-making.  We didn’t invent these six tools… they are based on the Six Weapons of Influence, created by Robert Cialdini, a renowned Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.

Here is part two of this important article, with the final three techniques to empower your hotel sales and marketing efforts:

4. Likability – Build Rapport

Clients buy from people they like. That’s Sales 101.

Likability comes when you genuinely care about your client and help them achieve their goals. So, even as you’re selling your hotel space, make it less about your hotel and more about the planner. Find ways to relate to them on a personal and emotional level, such as sharing stories of your family after they shared one about theirs. Build relationships with your prospects over time and send them relevant articles or tips whenever you find something that would interest them.

5. Commitment and Consistency – Go After Small Acts of Commitment

According to Cialdini, people have an innate desire to be consistent and true to their word. Because of this, once they commit to something, they are more likely to go through with it.

The secret to using this principle of commitment and consistency to book corporate business is to require planners to take some small action that commit them to saying yes. For instance, when a planner accepts your offer for a site visit, a complimentary overnight stay or a private meeting with your GM and convention services representative, then you have successfully convinced them to make an early commitment.

Even if they still can award the business to another property, you’ve moved them closer to signing with you. Another way to get clients to commit, is to ask them what would have to happen in order to win their business. Then, actually deliver on that and remind them that is what they asked for.   

6. Scarcity – Place Limitations

We’ve all experienced the excitement of narrowly grabbing a seat at a quickly sold-out event or finding a rare antique. Smart hotel marketers and sales people know this as using the scarcity principle, which motivates customers to make a purchase by letting them know there is a looming deadline or a limited supply.

The premise is to make planners act fast by creating a sense of urgency and inciting a “fear of missing out” (FOMO in millennial speak). An example of this is to embed urgency reminders (ie: “limited space remains”) on the venue availability calendar on your hotel website. Or, offer an irresistible incentive to any planner that books their meeting within a specific period of time, capped by a stringent deadline.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Hotel Sales Pros Use Psychological Weapons To Close More Business: Part 1

August 18, 2015


Chances are, several attempts have been made today to persuade you to do something.

This could include your daughter sweetly asking if she can get out of summer school in exchange for doing more chores. A waiter suggesting you try a new dessert after your lunch. Your mechanic recommending you replace old parts in your car. In all these cases, whether they knew it or not, these people were all using proven persuasion tactics to influence your decision making.

For hotel sales people, convincing travel and meeting planners to say “yes” is the ultimate goal. By using the Six Weapons of Influence, created by Robert Cialdini, a Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, you’ll be able to impact a planner’s final decision and win more business.

Here’s what it takes:

1. Social Proof – Let Past Business Sell for You

At the end of the day, travel planners will always trust their peers over you. So, prove your property is a worthy investment by showcasing the planners who have already said yes to you. Social proof is showing, “Others have booked with us. You should, too.”

Here’s how to do it right:

•  Post short testimonials from past clients on your website, sales proposals and sales kits. The key is to only showcase testimonials that are detailed and poignant, perhaps even naming a specific team member or a specific encounter with your service.•  Showcase the logos of companies that have booked business with you, from corporations to associations.•  Instead of a gallery full of empty ballroom photos, show how flexible your venue is by posting photos of previous events held there.

2. Reciprocity – Give to Get

Studies show that people feel obliged to do something good for you after you’ve done something good for them. Offer something of value upfront, then corporate and meeting planners will have a natural desire to return the favor.

This idea of “give to get” is why smart hotel sales teams give their VIP suites, private chef tasting dinners and behind-the-scenes access to planners during site inspections in hopes of winning thousands of room nights.

To really make an impression, the key is to offer something that is memorable, relevant and personal. If you really want to land a piece of business, don’t just treat them to your generic logo-emblazoned gifts. Instead, find out what you can about the planner’s interests, from favorite music, food, hobbies. Purchase something that is tied to them personally and not the business at hand. Does she like watching plays? Arrange for a behind-the-scenes tour of your city’s historic theatre or tickets for two shows back in her home city.


3. Authority – Show Your Influence

It’s second nature for people to respect and follow orders from authority figures. In order for planners to trust you, your entire sales staff (as well as your catering, front desk and convention services staff) has to exude complete confidence, authority and competence.

After all, clients consider you a partner in planning.  They want to know you have all of the latest hotel technology, you’re flexible and nimble enough to think of solutions on your toes and that you have access to resources they wouldn’t have otherwise.

One way to address this is a meetings-centric blog that positions you as a thought-leader in the meetings market. Write about off-site activities, thoughts on using the latest meeting technology or tips on working with speakers and other vendors. Another way to exude authority is to have your sales people join relevant LinkedIn groups and offer relevant (not salesy) comments and suggestions in the group discussions.

Read: 5 Ways Hotels Can Use LinkedIn to Drive Group Revenues

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this feature next week!

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Fort Lauderdale
New York