An ethical sales question for your consideration from

Think Tank Question

We provide questions on our site and our workshops to stimulate discussion about the way we do business. There is not necessarily only one “correct” answer – the reason for this question is to promote an awareness of how we might all improve our operations.

An ethical sales question for your consideration

Today’s Hospitality and Hotel Sales team has to face many situations and challenges each day.  They need to work with many stakeholders and yet fulfill their commitment to their employers.

Below is  hypothetical question for your consideration:

 Topic:   Over-booking situations

  • You are the general manager of a 141 room, mid-sized hotel, with banquet space.
  • You currently have 82 blocked or reserved rooms in an expected high demand period.
  • You receive a call from the local convention bureau asking if you can take a last minute group from another city for 55 rooms.  It is a rooming list, the group will be prepaid and have two catered meals at your hotel. This booking will likely oversell you and you risk upsetting a small repeat client whom has 40 of the 75 rooms already taken.  The existing group is well within their cut-off period and anticipates they should pick up all or most of their 75 rooms.  The new group overlaps two of the already booked group’s stay but has one complete day with no overlap.
  • Another factor is that your personal bonus will likely be assured with this new booking, because your bonus is based on revenues only.
  1. What do you do?
  2. Would your answer be any different if the call was from someone other than the CVB? What if the call came from your brand’s sales office?
  3. What options are there?
  4. If you were the hotel sales manager and not the general manager, would you approach the situation the same or differently? Would you handle it yourself or get the general manager’s input?
  5. Is this an ethical or a business decision? Why do you feel that way?

I have used this particular exercise in sales orientation and training classes and I recommend it as an interactive, small group activity. Add other elements and watch how people think, anticipate and react.

Your comments about the Think Tank question, this column, training, hospitality education or operations are always welcome.

Success does not come by accident or chance.

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KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at   anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense,

   John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.

He is Co-Founder of , which delivers focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.  is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.
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