Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was famous for his oft head question “How my doin’?” Sales Directors, including yours, may ask a similar question “How are your sales doing?” It is an important question because every week, every month it is vital to track projected sales and actual sales. If sales are not keeping pace with projections, it may be necessary to develop new promotions to hit your sales numbers.
Your annual marketing plan (your budget) is what drives sales. It should be comprehensive addressing: all client groups, seasons, holidays, days of week, even times of day, etc. Once the marketing begins do the promotions make the phones ring? If bookings are weak, should you maintain current plans or fine-tune promotions to improve sales? Are these plans implemented on-time? If not, every week that goes by without that marketing means lost revenue.
Comparing advance bookings and monthly sales to projections provides hard sales figures. With this information sales reps see which groups are bookings, repeat business versus new business, when groups are booking, how many guests, group type (ie. seniors, youth, adult) etc. Talk to past clients. How does the year look for them? Have they booked with you yet? There are also a number of less precise but helpful ways to answer the question “How my sales doing?”
Every day keep track of inbound calls, emails, faxes, or correspondence and total this information on a monthly basis. It is helpful to track these inquiries based on group type such as tour operator, corporate, schools, group leader, church, etc. If possible, track these inquiries by month of visit and ask how the caller found out about your place of business. Don’t forget to keep track of web page activity too. The real value of tracking inbound requests comes when comparing these figures to the same month the year before. Increase or decrease from last year?
Are you attending a sales blitz, tour operator or group leader marketplace? How’d they go? Did you book some business, some interest, no interest? If you work with a Visitors Bureau, what is their sense of the immediate future? Is their marketing working? What feedback did they received during the marketplaces they attended? How can you work with your local visitors bureau to promote your property?
Another helpful way to gauge future sales in general is keeping track of industry trends and predictions. National organizations such as American Bus Association may provide annual travel forecasts. Your local visitors bureau or state tourism office may also develop such forecasts. The Travel Industry Association of America provides members with excellent general annual forecasts and extensive tourism data. General public media such as USA Today often features articles discussing travel forecasts for particular companies or industries that may help you gauge your future sales.
Of course, there is the old standby. Call a trusted colleague to see how their sales are doing. If you are part of a national hotel or restaurant chain, you may be able to receive sales information for particular properties in that chain. National chains may also develop annual travel forecasts and provide results of their national marketing and marketplace appointments.
For any business sales IS the business. Therefore, gauging immediate and long-term sales is an important daily activity. Actual sales and bookings is a standard way to measure sales. However, there are many other easy ways to track future sales to answer the question “How your sales doing?”