The leisure and hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit by the 2008 recession. Nearly 10 years later, the industry has fully recovered. With that recovery has come increases in employment and revenue. Combined with the hotel industry’s full recovery from the recession are the changes made to the hospitality industry by improvements in technology that allow for easy check-in and check-out, simplified restaurant ordering, the influence of social media, and the use of virtual reality to preview hotel and resort properties. How do hotels turn all of these industry changes and improvements into revenue? Who determines the best way for hotels to harness seamless technology with social media to ensure customer retention and new customer referrals? Whether at a small boutique hotel or a large resort, all of that comes down to the Director of Hotel Sales. With skills in customer service, sales, and profit management, Directors of Hotel Sales play key roles in the continued success of the hospitality industry.
Job Responsibilities and Future Prospects for Directors of Hotel Sales
Directors of Hotel Sales oversee all hotel activities related to sales, with the primary goal of making sure guests are satisfied, in order to stimulate new and recurring business. Besides ensuring return customers, Directors of Hotel Sales are also in charge of maintaining revenue goals in all areas, such as food, room rentals, beverages, and rentable spaces. Depending on the size of the hotel, job responsibilities might vary widely, especially at small hotels where the Director of Hotel Sales might be synonymous with Hotel Sales Manager, or in some cases even General Manager. Regardless of hotel size or how many hats the Director of Hotel Sales has to wear, most have a core set of responsibilities that include the following:
- Communicate in a professional and timely manner with guests in ways that stimulate return visits or referrals to new guests
- Oversee the flow of revenue in all departments of the hotel, including food and drink sales, room rentals, and meeting space rentals.
- Coordinate with customers, particularly those hosting major events at the hotel, to relay information, attend meetings, and ensure customer’s needs are met for rented spaces
- Work with front-end hotel staff to ensure positive guest experiences
- Plans and directs sales force activities in order to maximize profits
- Directs management staff in order to meet sales goals, including maximizing potential sales volume
- Negotiate contracts with employees, vendors, and customers who rent meeting spaces
- Research current market trends, determine inventory requirements, analyze inventory levels, and ensure hotel services meet customer needs
The median salary for a Director of Hotel Sales is $58K a year. Obviously, that varies widely depending on the size of the hotel, but also on location. For instance, the median salary for Directors of Hotel Sales in New York City is about $100K a year. Similar to the variety in salaries, the opportunities to advance into higher positions also depends on the size and organizational layout of the hotel or hotel chain. Many Directors of Hotel Sales may advance into positions like Regional or National Sales Director if they work in large hotel chains, or into positions like a Vice President of Sales. Sometimes, Directors of Hotel Sales make lateral moves into General Hotel Managers if they want a career change (i.e. less sales oriented and more customer service oriented), and from there can use their experience to progress into positions like Vice President of Operations.
Types of Directors of Hotel Sales Positions
In small, boutique hotels or even in large chains designed for overnight travelers, Directors of Hotel Sales are often one-in-the-same with Hotel Sales Managers and are more intimately involved in day-to-day transactions. In large hotels and resorts, Directors of Hotel Sales would manage a team of Hotel Sales Managers who focus on individual sectors of the hotel’s business. As such, the Director would coordinate other sales managers in achieving the overarching sales goals, make improvements or adjustments according to growth needs and estimated revenue, and report their team’s results to the Vice President of Sales or the Board of Directors.
Using Your Education to Become a Director of Hotel Sales
Director of Hotel Sales positions almost always require a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Marketing or Management. That degree is typically combined with at least 5 years of experience in the hospitality industry. At small hotels, where Directors of Hotel Sales don’t oversee a team of Hotel Sales Managers, Directors might only have an Associate’s degree or certificate in hospitality; however, this would still need to be combined with more than 5 years of experience in hospitality sales, and likely with some experience in management positions. Sometimes larger hotel chains or resorts might require a Master’s dregree. This would be especially necessary for Directors of Hotel Sales looking to advance into higher positions.
Using Your Experience to Become a Director of Hotel Sales
Smaller hotels or overnight traveling focused chains might hire a Director of Hotel Sales or Hotel Sales Managers that have a high school diploma or associate’s degree when it is combined with substantial experience in the hospitality industry. Typically, Directors of Hotel Sales that do not have a degree will need substantially more experience than those with degrees. Usually that would amount to over 5 years of experience in sales, hospitality, or customer services, and will often include front-desk experience. For those already in the hospitality industry looking to move up into Director of Hotel Sales positions, they might consider one of many online hospitality degree programs that are rapidly increasing in availability as the demand for highly qualified hospitality workers also increases.
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