The Perfect Sell

I was recently asked about the “perfect sell” and how to achieve more of them. It's defined within our industry as filling every room with paying guests without relocating (walking) anyone.

Politically, the “perfect sell” has always been an issue for me. I have been in disagreement with many people about the goal of occupying every room at all costs…because it has such steep consequences. Rolling the proverbial dice and “overbooking” to ensure 100% occupancy doesn’t make sense, and here’s why:

1. ROI- If you have a solid no-show and cancellation policy, the cost is simply not worth the gain. Unless you pocket no-show money when you fill (it happens a lot), you gain virtually nothing. And even considering the extra cash, you’re almost guaranteed to create a significant amount of bad will when you relocate guests. Once betrayed, they will do you tremendous harm when they talk to their family, friends and neighbors about how lousy their trip went. The trust you worked so hard to achieve is immediately eroded. Why would you destroy one of your most valuable assets (along with permission) this way?
2. Lack of Care- It puts your staff in the unenviable position of providing poor service. They’re set-up to make someone unhappy…and to fail. Why would you do that? To make a few extra bucks? I recall having to walk people as a desk clerk…I hated it.

The cause behind this sort of “perfect sell” mentality is typically rooted deeply within the organization, usually the result of financial pressures and short-term vs. guest centric thinking. If the focus was truly on making every guest happy, this wouldn’t be an issue…not for one minute.

You can either strive for realistic goals, say 95% occupancy with everyone happy. Or, you can gamble to achieve 100% with a good chance of creating hundreds or perhaps thousands of angry customer evangelists.

Any other thoughts?