Accelerate Results February Webinar Recording

Transcription

April Eskelson:

Hello, and welcome to part two of our webinar series, Reset for 2021. Forget everything you thought you knew. My name is April Eskelson and I’m the Director of Instructional Design at Jacaruso Enterprises. I want to thank everyone that’s joined us today. In part one of our webinars series, we talked about the importance of a new mindset and taking a new perspective in 2021. Today, we’re going to dive in deep and show you where to find business.

April Eskelson:

COVID-19 has had devastating effects on our industry. Nine times out of nine of 11, nine times. Hotels were one of the first industries that were affected and we will be one of the last to recover. We’ve talked with a number of industry experts and not surprisingly, we found that most people are having similar problems. They’re either tired, short-staffed, limited on funds, frustrated and short on time. If you are in this boat, rest assured you are not alone and we are here to help. In order to not become a casualty of COVID-19, you have to start filling your guest rooms. Now you’re probably making some operational cuts, but eventually those run their course and at some point there’s just nothing left to cut. And, that impacts the guest experience. What happens is you end up creating even bigger problems by losing the guests that you have and burning out the team that’s left. There is a better way, and that’s revenue generation.

April Eskelson:

Today, we will discuss how to evaluate your new competitive set, resetting what you think you know about your market segments, and truly infiltrating them to uncover and book as much business as possible. And lastly, how to execute with new tools and resources. So, let’s get started. It’s time for a reset and like a chameleon evaluates his surroundings and changes his color to fit in, we need to evaluate and change what we’re doing to find the business in a new environment. Our surroundings have changed, and we need to first evaluate the competition.

April Eskelson:

So in your new evaluation, your competitive set is the first place to start. Now you might even consider creating a primary set for your owners and lenders, a secondary set, this could be extended stay hotels. And, a tertiary set, or the greater market area. Now this might include some of the full or select service, even economy hotels that might not be in your star set. But, don’t only look in these areas, look outside of those areas and nationally. Take a big look at the big picture, what’s happening? What’s happening with the major brands? How are they being affected? And, how does that impact you? How has your competition changed? Always looking farther and further.

April Eskelson:

2020 was the worst year on record for US hotels with a staggering one billion rooms left unsold. For example, a report from the Wall Street Journal suggested that 20% of New York’s total hotel supply, which is 250,000 rooms, could close permanently. And this is happening throughout the United States. That being said, it’s time to reevaluate your competitive set. So take a look at who’s open right now? Who’s closed? What is their availability? What are they doing as far as accessibility for their amenities? How are they meeting guests needs? What is their staffing situation? And lastly, what is their outlook look like?

April Eskelson:

Having a grasp on this data will help you sell against your competitive set, and it will also allow you to be a good partner to any hotels that have temporarily closed. This could be an opportunity for a partnership to house their business while they’re closed, at least until they reopened. So based on the answers that you find to those questions, you’ll have a better idea on how far people are willing to drive to find accommodations. So, look at feeder cities. Travelers may be willing to take the next exit based on hotel availability. Your concept – it’s larger now, and it’s based on who’s traveling, what their needs are, which properties are available and also what they have to offer.

April Eskelson:

So while some cities are cracking down due to COVID restrictions, for example New York compared to Florida, take a look at the feeder cities into Florida as travelers may be flooding to those cities. And as the South East and South Western states open up, that might also continue to be a trend. So, find out where those travelers are coming from. And when performing a SWOT analysis, SWOT analysis of your hotel, don’t only look at what they’re doing, but find out how the customers feel about them. Has the consumer mindset set changed based on the brand? Travelers that might not have looked at you before may now be willing to choose you based on what properties are open. Things have changed. Look at online reviews, keep up to date on what the major brands and their cleanliness protocols are, and always know how you stack up to the competition.

April Eskelson:

All right, to put this in perspective, I have teenage daughters that are recently driving and right now there is a lot of conversation in our household about a Mini Cooper or a sport sports car, and I get it. I remember those days I would never be caught in the so-called mom car. Yeah, and then reality hits, and then come the days of twin babies who turn into hockey players that love dogs, and all of a sudden I’m toting around children, friends, sports equipment, dogs, all of the things in what – my mom SUV.

April Eskelson:

And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Features matter, but things changed based on individual’s needs and that’s happening today. So, different amenities have a different appeal. So, in our industry or in the hotel world, take exterior entrances, for example. Those were typically a weakness, but now could be considered a strength. For the extended stay travelers, having linens, bathroom amenities delivered to your guestroom, or even pre-ordered meals with contact list delivery, those are deal breakers. Even coffee, we have multiple ways to serve a cup of coffee. It could be in the lobby. It could be in your pantry or market, maybe even a gift card to a nearby gas station or an upgraded version in your guestroom.

April Eskelson:

The way that you meet your client’s needs matters. Now more than ever, go and visit your competitive set. See what they’re doing to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and what that has on the traveler’s accessibility to amenities and options. You might uncover some pretty interesting finds that you want to implement at your own hotel. And, do your research – What is the customer communication look like? Take a look at their online presence. How appealing are they to competitors? Also, take a look at any Airbnb options in your area and find out how they’re promoting themselves to today’s consumer.

April Eskelson:

Our first webinar, we talked about how to involve the entire team in the SWOT analysis and helping with your prospecting effort. If you weren’t here for part one, go back and take a look at that recording as we do offer some tips on how to involve the entire team. Remember, by understanding the competition, you will be better equipped to market and sell to your clients. Now, all right, we get it. Finding business today could be harder than finding your last set of keys or your cell phone after it’s gone dead. You know, I know we’ve all been there. We get it. It doesn’t have to be that hard. So, let us help you.

April Eskelson:

When looking for business opportunities, it’s time to do something different. Last time we were together, we talked about some of the new activities that I have taken up during quarantine, and fishing has always been one of the activities that I take pleasure in. And during quarantine, other people have joined me in the love of fishing. It’s actually increased by over 30%. More fishing licenses are sold now than ever. What’s a great way to enjoy nature? Get out, be safe and enjoy an activity. Now, I’ve always enjoyed fishing and I can tell you, no matter how skilled you are, sometimes the fish just don’t bite. You might need to try new bait, better electronics, or simply find a new fishing spot.

April Eskelson:

Well, now it’s time to put those fishing poles away and start casting wide nets when it comes to looking for business opportunities. I encourage you to consider all opportunities, even ones that you may not have considered in the past. Learn as much as you can about those market segments, learn to use new techniques and to look in new places. So, in part one, again, we encourage you to start at a national level and work down. So looking at the essential market segments and making no assumptions, you don’t have it all even if you are working with a segment. You’ve got to dive in deep. Our clientele has changed. Corporate and negotiated business has declined, our group, our sports, our leisure has dissipated, but there is travel.

April Eskelson:

While some of that travel is coming back, we know that the essential market segments are traveling. And when working with these segments, there’s a lot of information to learn. We have to learn about the travelers, we need to know what their needs and expectations are, how do we appeal to them? And lastly, how do we wow them? We want to learn as much as we can about these clients so that we can offer the right solutions. Now, when considering those essential market segments, again, try not to make any assumptions.

April Eskelson:

So, today I picked the construction segment because I feel like it’s a segment we have maybe worked within the past, but I want to say, please do not make any assumptions. If you’re one of those people that have said, “well, gosh, I know a little bit about construction and that’s just not a piece of business that I want.” Again, I’m going to encourage you, take a deeper look with an open mindset, because there is absolutely business that you want and you might be able to capitalize on it. Now, when considering travelers, take a look at the entire segment to see what you might be missing. Infiltration is key. All right, so you have a construction crew in house, that’s awesome. But what don’t you have? Understanding the entire segment and how to infiltrate it will help you increase your revenue and fill even more room nights. Knowing who the general contractor is, is key. But what subcontractors are they working with? Who are the project managers, the superintendents, and even general laborers for each of the subcontractors? Ask questions, and then ask even more questions to infiltrate.

April Eskelson:

All right. For those of you that said yeah, I have a construction crew in house, or I’ve worked with construction before, did you know that there are nine phases to the construction process? There were five before construction even begins. If you haven’t infiltrated all of these phases, start doing so today. And, if you don’t know where to start, we can help. In Accelerate, our online learning platform, we dive into all of these phases. We discuss the different construction processes and the key contacts to reach out to within each process depending on the stage of construction that the project is in. By learning about the different stages or phases of construction, you can uncover additional room nights and start increasing your revenue.

April Eskelson:

So, let me give you an example: In the design phase, these are just five examples of people that you should be reaching out to in order to uncover even more business opportunities. Each of these organizations has a team of individuals that may need room nights, and that’s just only one of the nine phases of construction. Again, if you want to learn more, check out our training at accelerate.jacaruso.com.

April Eskelson:

Now, before we leave infiltration, I want to give you an example to make this point stick. So during quarantine, did any of you ever watch Tiger King or possibly hear the song Savage or the Carole Baskin remix? Well, some of you may be wondering what Megan Thee Stallion has to do with sales, and I’m going to tell you right now. So, here’s a quote by Rolling Stone on Megan Thee Stallion. “By now you have probably heard Savage more times than you thought could be possible. The track’s chorus has dominated TikTok in both its original form and a Tiger King-themed remix about Carole Baskin. Yet through what can only be described as pure witchcraft, Beyonce’s new remix makes it feel like you’re hearing this hit for the very first time. It will boost your serotonin levels just enough to have hope for a world beyond this pandemic.” So that was a quote by Rolling Stone and I’m telling you, Megan Thee Stallion not only reached her existing fans, but she infiltrated the music industry.

April Eskelson:

Infiltrate your markets like she did the music industry, making no assumptions you never have it all, there is always more. Now you might need a little bit of help, and we will not only continue this webinar series, but we will continue to provide you with resources. Our infiltration worksheet and our construction infiltration worksheet will help you get started diving deep into any market segment. Lastly, when infiltrating your market segments, look to gain referrals, and this goes for all market segments. In construction, good news travels very quickly on the job site and it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve made a connection and an impact with your guests, they’ll be happy to refer you to coworkers and other industry leaders. So once you have a solid relationship with a contact, again, ask questions. It could be a project manager, a superintendent, or a general laborer. They might be able to provide you with a list of key contacts within the industry or other organizations that they work with in your market. Then you’ll start growing your connections one call at a time and growing your revenue exponentially.

April Eskelson:

All right. So just like a construction worker needs the right tools to be successful, a sales person will benefit from using tools that offer impact. In our last section today, we will provide you with some tools that we have found success with.

April Eskelson:

When talking about infiltrating our market segments and truly uncovering business to gain more room nights, I’m not kidding when I say it’s time to grab a big cup of coffee or a big gulp soda, whichever is your preference because you’re going to need it as you scour the internet. From new sites, to email subscriptions, newsletters, and parking lot shops, you’re going to have to dive deep into these industries and then drive your new competitive set.

April Eskelson:

So let’s start with the internet. This is a list of the top 10 internet sites that we recommend to use to infiltrate. Now, go ahead and take a screenshot. You’re going to want to visit these later if you’ve maybe never seen these, heard of these sites or visited them in the past. We definitely encourage you to do so. Keep in mind, some of these offer paid for products, and if you have one of those hooray for you, that is awesome, you are one step ahead of the competition. However, these products have massive potential only if you understand how to use them and dedicate time to utilizing the features. So, make time to connect with the product support team and ask to receive a demo. There’ll be happy to walk you through all of the features of the product. Then, schedule time on your calendar, dedicated to reviewing the information. Track your existing projects, connect with contacts, and then start infiltrating with sales calls. I would also suggest setting alerts on your favorite projects so that you never miss an update.

April Eskelson:

Now, if you don’t have a paid for subscription, there are still a number of ways that you can make the internet your new best friend when you’re searching for opportunities. So let’s start with Google. So, if you’re looking for construction business on Google, here are four key searches that I recommend. So, city/state, plus “general contractor”. You can also search for Associated General Contractors or AGC plus your state. You can search for your city/state plus companies, plus a “list”. That way you’ll get a list of those contractors and companies working in your area. Another key tip is try adding the word “project” and “project plans” for even more information.

April Eskelson:

The next site that is full of information is your city or state Department of Transportation. Now, when you go to the Department of Transportation website, you’re going to want to start with the business section. From there, go to project or planning to see what’s upcoming in your area. You’ll also want to take a look at any bid opportunities. You might even be able to find a list of approved contractors. Again, on this site, along with any of our other sites that we recommend, infiltration is key.

April Eskelson:

Now, the last step in our execution phase are email subscriptions. Now, this might be relatively new to you. So we’re sharing our top four with you and I want to tell you a little bit about each one of these. So ConstructConnect industry blog. Again, if you’re taking a screenshot of this slide, that’s awesome. A key tip with this first one is if you’re Googling for this, make sure you add the words “industry blog” to actually get to the blog, otherwise, you’ll go straight to the ConstructConnect site. What’s awesome about the blog is it shares the latest industry news, commercial construction happenings, economic updates, and more information. A suggestion is to search for hot projects by state. What’s really cool about this is the list, like the top five projects happening in the state and it changes weekly. So every week you get a new update of projects that you can start diving into.

April Eskelson:

Speaking of dives, I mentioned on the last webinar how much I love the industrydive. So today we’re talking about construction, but industrydive.com offers insight into 20 different industries and I love every single one of them. With Construction Dive, it’s telling you construction news, trends, insights, and it’s delivered straight to your email inbox. So, definitely take a look at that one. Construction Today, this is about the construction companies themselves. So, let’s say you went through all of the Google search techniques that we talked about earlier, and you uncovered a specific company that you want to learn more about. Construction Today is one that’s going to focus on that company in depth. So definitely take a look at that.

April Eskelson:

The last one is Business Facilities. All right. So, this comes in really handy if you want to take a look at any upcoming projects in your city, or you want to know what sites have been selected. So this is a site selection site. One of the properties that I recently worked with knew that they had Amazon, or they had heard, that Amazon was coming into their market and they were actually able to uncover where the site was going to be based on Business Facilities and the information that they shared. So, definitely take a look at these. These are going to help you in your prospecting efforts. I would also suggest considering following them on LinkedIn or other social media sites for even more leads. Again, remember these search techniques, these subscriptions on the slide are for the construction segment specifically, but you should be uncovering and following sites similar to these for all of the market segments that you’re working with. Again, if you need a starting point, Accelerate can help you. We have insight into all the different market segments.

April Eskelson:

All right, lastly, parking lot shops. In part one of our webinars series, we encouraged you to use your entire team to help with your prospecting efforts, and this is a great place to utilize all of your team members. Our new parking lot shops are a little bit different than parking lot shops you may have executed in the past. Don’t stop at just your competitor hotels. What we want to do is keep an eye out for trucks and travelers, name tags, people with different industries. We really just want to know who’s traveling so we can look at gas stations, at convenience stores, restaurants, even the Starbucks drive-through, hardware stores or pharmacies. We want to know who is traveling in the area, then research that market using the infiltration techniques that we just taught you so that you can truly start to infiltrate those different segments.

April Eskelson:

So, we know that these market segments, learning any new segment or working with a segment that you’re unfamiliar with can be difficult to learn quickly. With Accelerate, we have you covered. Not only will we continue this webinar series and provide you with new ideas, tips, and tricks, but with our monthly sales and operations subscription, everything that we offer focuses on how to assist you in your revenue generation efforts. So, this isn’t just sales training, this impacts every aspect of revenue generation. Each lesson covers a different topic, from new market segments to prospecting, finance strategy, whatever you need when you need it.

April Eskelson:

If you can go to the next slide, this gives them just an example of some of the different topics that we showcase throughout the training, and this is only our category that’s based on strategy. So, we have a

new sales essentials category that is full of information. We have prospecting, we have really, everything that you need when you need it. So one key takeaway for today or all of our key takeaways for today, the first one is that evaluation stage. So this is where we really want to take a look at our competition. Our surroundings have changed based on what hotels are open, closed, and how their amenities are accessible. We want to evaluate the competition with a new mindset, looking further and performing a new SWOT analysis, both locally and online.

April Eskelson:

Then resetting, infiltrating every area of our new market segments, be like Megan Thee Stallion, and never settle for just a piece of the business. Cast wide nets, or learn to fish in new places considering all types of business.

April Eskelson:

And, for the best execution, learn to use some of the new tools. Just like a chameleon, change the tools that you’re using to learn as much as you can about those industries that you need to infiltrate. If you are ready to accelerate your results, or you want to learn more, visit us at accelerate.jacaruso.com or email us at accelerateresults@jacaruso.com. We can’t wait to help you.

April Eskelson:

Thank you for attending part two of our webinars series. We hope that you enjoyed today’s information. Please keep an eye on your email, we will be sending you a recording of today’s information along with access to those free resources, the infiltration worksheet, and the infiltration worksheet for construction, and we’ll also give you some more information on our upcoming last, part three of this webinar series. Thank you again and have a fabulous day!

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