The hotel industry depends considerably on personal selling. Personal selling is the personal presentation of a tangible product or intangible services or ideas to the customers (Personal Selling in Tourism industry | BMS.co.in, 2013). Personal selling is important to initiate and build the commercial face-to-face relationship with customers. The advantage of personal selling compared to other promotional methods is that it is a two-way form of communication. In selling situations the salesperson can adjust the message since they are receiving feedback from the customers. In case a customer does not understand the product, a salesperson can react directly and make adjustments to address concerns (Advantages of Personal Selling, 2017). Personal selling minimizes wasted effort, promotes sales and boosts word of mouth marketing effectively (Personal Selling | Boundless Marketing, n.d.).
Moreover, survey researched that 92% supported the idea of hotel guests expecting their stay to be personalized around a set of choices they make at the time of booking or prior to arrival. In other words, the guest of the future will be able to tailor all aspects of their experience including technology, hotel services, bedroom, journey, pricing as well as communications. Each guest has their own preference, demands and characteristics and there needs to be adapted towards. The challenge for hotels is to completely understand and act upon these requirements (Talwar, 2011). Because of the immerse increase of technology and internet, personal selling is becoming a challenge. Therefore, this promotional method can also be used via telephone or via internet using online chats and videos (Personal Selling in Tourism industry | BMS.co.in, 2013).
However, nowadays technology is taking over and many would lead you to believe that face-to-face or personal communications fit in the past. Nonetheless, selling is not and never will be a faceless or silent pursuit. At risk is a generation of lazy near-robotic hospitality sales professionals, using technology for their selling communications. Moreover, hospitality sales professionals are denied all of the relationship-building advantages of personal face-to-face interactions. Personal communication includes several factors such as facial expressions in which digital contact shortfalls, thinking of miscommunications and lack of emotional context. Even though face-to-face communication is the most costly and time-consuming medium, it provides the highest return on investment. Technology-based selling tools can be used by hotel sales professionals, however, classic relationship-based personal selling cannot be abandoned (Mogelonsky, 2014).
An example is the Hilton hotel, that is improving customer satisfaction by communicating directly with customers through mobile apps. Accordingly, Hilton loyalty program members have the ability to control and personalize their stay. A 93% of customer digital check-in experiences were satisfied or extremely satisfied, according research. In addition, more customers are interested in the loyalty program and enrollment is up over 100% compared to previous year. Lastly, Hilton uses both personal selling as well as technology to build loyal relationships with their customers (Diorio, 2016).
Advantages of Personal Selling (2017). From Personal Selling Tutorial. KnowThis.com. Retrieved October 07, 2017 from https://www.knowthis.com/personal-selling/advantages-of-personal- selling
Diorio, S. (2016). How Leading Brands Are Winning The ‘Direct-To-Customer’ Conversation. Forbes.
Mogelonsky, L. (2014). Technology Cannot Replace Face To Face Communications. hospitality.net.
Murphy, N. (2015). Smart Hotels Are About to Make Your Trip More Personalized. Retrieved from https://www.cheatsheet.com/business/smart-hotels-are-about-to-make-your-trip-more- personalized.html/?a=viewall
Personal Selling | Boundless Marketing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-marketing/chapter/personal-selling/
Personal Selling in Tourism industry | BMS.co.in. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.bms.co.in/personal-selling-in-tourism-industry/
Talwar, R. (2011). Hotels 2020 – Responding to Tomorrow’s Customer and the Evolution of Technology. Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2012, 21-31. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-27404- 6_2