How Do I Become a Group Sales Coordinator?

Like every other business, the hotel business is driven by sales: a fully occupied hotel means income, a list of vacancies means no income. Still, it’s not just rooms that need to be sold. Event spaces and dining services are crucial revenue streams for hotels and often represent ludicrous business opportunities. A steady reservation count will pay a profit, but bookings for conferences, events, parties, and other gatherings is where hotels distinguish their brand and record significant earnings.

In most cases, the group sales coordinator helps direct a hotel’s sales strategy for businesses, organizations, and other large groups. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in hospitality management helps, but plenty of other tracks are available, as well, and many hotel sales coordinators begin their careers without any industry experience.

Group Sales Coordinator Job Description

  • In collaboration with the advertising and promotions teams, research potential clients and produce a list of leads
  • Contact and make initial pitches for business leads and referrals
  • Field requests for interested parties
  • Create sales presentations and support materials for potential clients, including available event space, dining and catering services, room reservations and guest blocks, and access to relevant amenities and equipment (e.g., projectors, audio and video equipment, etc.)
  • Operate as client’s customer service representative, acting as a liaison for bookings, special requests, and general service questions
  • Follow up with clients for feedback, referrals, and future business opportunities

In short, group sales coordinator provide end-to-end service, developing leads, making sales presentations, coordinating events, and following up with clients to create long-term business relationships and gain client referrals. Sales coordinators will also need to monitor and/or manage sales and budgets for each event, tracking relevant data for records and future sales strategies.

Salary and Job Prospects for Group Sales Coordinators

The median salary for group sales coordinates ranges between $45-55k, and experts predict a strong job market over the next decade. Occupations for Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners are expected to grow faster than average (10%), and leisure and hospitality continues to be one of the largest employment sectors in the country. Event planning alone contributes $106 billion to US GDP, and global hotel revenue reached $550 billion in 2016. Most important, jobs for hotel sales coordinators should be largely immune to slow growth experienced in vulnerable sectors like retail sales.

Types of Group Sales Coordinator Positions

Of course, salary and responsibilities are contingent on the specific role. Group sales coordinators at larger hotels may oversee a team of supporting positions and juggle multiple projects at once. In that case, administrative work may command a higher salary, and you’ll need to be able to multi-task. On the whole, a larger corporation means stability, benefits, and decent pay, but promotions may be tough to earn, and the day-to-day experience could resemble a more traditional corporate job (at least the entry-level).

On the other hand, small to mid-sized boutique hotels will likely require a hands-on approach from start to finish. Pay depends on the employer, and entry-level workers especially should expect demanding hours, including weekend and holiday work. At the same time, you’ll get excellent experience and potentially earn more career opportunities in the long run.

Each track has pros and cons, and may suit one work style over another. (Though plenty of hotel professionals have done both.)

Using Your Education to Become a Group Sales Coordinator

About 70% of sales coordinators have a bachelor’s degree, and average work experience is 2-4 years. If you’re interested in pursuing an upper-level role – for instance, as a director of hotel sales or general manager – you might want a master’s in hotel management or a graduate certificate (***LINK WHEN AVAILABLE***), especially for positions at global hotel chains. Still, many hotel professionals have no specialized academic training, or have worked through the ranks from the bottom up.

Using Your Experience to Become a Group Sales Coordinator

Degrees in hospitality management will help any current or aspiring hotel worker, but what matters most are practical skills. Are you personable? Are you a natural salesperson? Can you land a sale, see it through, and develop a list of return clients?

Essential skills for group sales coordinators may include:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Adaptive, on-the-go learning style
  • Innate sales sense: where to search for leads, how to make a pitch, and how to covert a sale
  • Ability to act as an effective go-between for clients and hotel support staff
  • Effective follow-through skills to gain a consistent client base and referrals for future business

Finally, previous relevant work experience might be in the restaurant industry, food service, business, retail, telecommunications, and any industry that require client-facing or customer relations, leadership, problem solving, and sales.

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