In Insights

The Sales Executive Roundtable took place at Jumeirah Emirates Towers on the 10th of June 2024.

Quick recap

The Sales executives led a wide-ranging discussion on various topics including the role of AI, sales strategies, and the importance of balance in business operations. They also highlighted the mission of HSMAI ME, the challenges and opportunities in the hospitality industry, and the potential of new technology to streamline operations. Additionally, they addressed the need for more comprehensive data to align business strategies with destination performance, the challenges of attracting and retaining talent, and the Adrian Awards for excellence in travel and hospitality marketing.

  • Strategies, Flexibility, and Balance in Business Operations

The executives discussed an overview of strategies, focusing on flexibility, interaction, and the importance of balance in business operations. They emphasized the challenges and opportunities in pricing strategies and the need for adaptation in a changing business environment. They also highlighted the importance of transparent communication tools, revenue training, and the need for careful consideration when implementing changes. Lastly, the rate and promotion strategies were talked about, the role of B2B and B2C partners, and the potential of reducing the cost of sales through segmentation and the use of a corporate dialing method. In a poll, the group was asked if they were in favour of static rates for B2B Operators, 40% said they’d want it for specific accounts, whereas 40% voted No, and 20% voted Yes. In another poll, discussing issues with B2C partners, 20% said it was Rate Parity, 30% said it was rates sold in the B2B market, 0% voted for TMCs, and 50% said it was all 3 of the above factors. 80% of them measured cost of sales by channel, and the rest 20% by segment. 70% would consider forcing DMCs to use dynamic rates, and 30% opted otherwise.

  • Customer-Driven Approach and AI Integration

The executives proposed a customer-centric approach to maintaining satisfaction and competitiveness, suggesting the adoption of both static and dynamic options. They highlighted the role of DMCs as intermediaries and the potential of new technology to streamline operations and stay competitive in the ever-changing hospitality industry. They also expressed concern about the emergence of new bed banks and the impact on commission rates, revenue displacement, and new revenue streams. Furthermore, they discussed the potential of AI and other technologies to automate sales tasks, improve efficiency, and complement rather than replace jobs. The conversation concluded by expressing interest in connecting with an AI consultant to explore various AI applications. In a poll, 100% of them believed that AI would help them in the future.

  • Seeking Comprehensive Data for Business Strategies

The group discussed their need for more comprehensive data to better align business strategies with destination performance. They emphasized the importance of understanding airline route expansions, pricing models, and potential new source markets. The group was asked what was needed the most, and 50% voted Tourism board statistics, 30% voted Tourism board activities, and 20% voted airline traffic and new routes.

  • Attracting Talent and Transforming Hospitality

The following topics addressed the challenges faced by the hospitality industry, particularly in attracting and retaining talent. The group emphasized the need for better compensation and benefit structures, as well as a better work-life balance. They suggested cross-industry pollination to broaden the talent pool and transform the sales approach. They also highlighted the importance of education and training, mentioning the work of Dubai College of Tourism and The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. The meeting covered various topics including a potential refreshment initiative, the ongoing compensation survey, the upcoming 2025 RFP, and the need for a new distribution channel. Feedback was requested for future meetings, with a suggestion for a joint discussion between sales and revenue. The group voted 80% for finding people, and 20% for compensation.

Next Steps

  • Collaborate with hospitality schools to attract talent and provide internship opportunities.
  • Investigate cross-pollination of talent from other industries like retail and automotive to address staffing challenges.
  • Explore implementing dynamic pricing strategies and reducing reliance on static contracts with partners.
  • Evaluate the cost of sales for different segments and channels to optimize profitability.
  • Collaborate with tourism boards and airlines to align sales strategies with new routes and marketing campaigns. Request more detailed and forward-looking market insights from tourism boards and data providers. Explore consolidating DMC and tour operator partnerships to streamline contracting and pricing strategies.
  • Investigate cross-pollination of talent from other industries like retail and automotive to address staffing challenges.

In Conclusion

  • The sales team is to explore implementing AI tools to assist with administrative tasks like email responses, proposal generation, and CRM data entry.
    Advocate for more flexible work arrangements and compensation structures to attract and retain talent.
    Advocate for technology upgrades and connectivity improvements to support dynamic pricing and distribution strategies.
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