Running a hotel company is hard work. With a million things to oversee, sometimes you need to rely on other tourism professionals to be the experts in the more peripheral aspects of your business.
With that in mind, you might consider building a relationship with a general sales agent or agency, also called a GSA. A GSA can help you extend your sales effort to international markets to increase revenue to your hotels. If you haven’t partnered with a GSA before, here’s a few reasons you should consider doing so.
What is a GSA?
When a hotel company wants to enter a new country or market to increase sales, it isn’t always cost effective to open their own office there. Cost can include office space, employment, benefits, legal, setting up an international company etc. Instead they will hire a GSA to develop that market for them. A GSA may be a freelancer or an agency that offers hotel sales and marketing services with the help of a specialized team.
This agent or agency has the job of marketing and selling the hotel brand’s products, such as corporate and leisure stays and meetings and conferences. Since the GSA is based in that specific region, they are experts in the marketing landscape and already have strong ties and relationships with the type of businesses that the hotel brand wants to sell to. Hotel companies also refer to these international sales offices as GSO’s (global sales office).
In the hotel industry, GSAs develop sales and marketing plans for hotel brands that could include travel agent sales, consortia sales, corporate sales, leisure sales and meetings sales, also called MICE sales (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions).
How can a GSA benefit my hotel company?
A GSA is an extension of a hotel brand Sales and Marketing team and works hand in hand with the brand’s sales team. The GSA adapts the brand’s overall global plan to the specific market place. As the GSA has local knowledge and a local database of travel trade clients, the hotel company does not have to frequently travel to the international market to sell or market to existing or potential customers.
Working with travel agencies to increase revenue to your hotel brand can be direct to key travel agencies, through travel consortia or travel management companies. GSA’s will have existing relationships with these agencies, and developing these relationships from a distance is time consuming and expensive.
GSA’s will also have a client base of tour operators and Online Tour Operators (OTA’s) and will make sure that your hotel brand is prominently featured in their brochures or online.
The agency will also have a corporate client list and will partner with the hotel company for corporate RFP’s and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions).
A typical day for a GSA
A General Sales Agency in the travel industry is making sales calls to key clients or potential new clients. The GSA can do that by visiting clients, through webinars, at travel related trade shows or inviting the clients to their office for training sessions.
GSA’s will also recommend that key clients visit your hotel brands. They will partner with airlines and set up a sales mission to see the key properties of your hotel brand.
Some hotel brands will want to make an annual visit to the international market. The GSA will organize all client visits, transportation and events so that the hotel company has a great ROI on their international visit.
Support for your brand
While large and global hotel companies generally have global sales offices in most countries, regional hotel companies often are at a disadvantage. To compete on a global basis regional hotel brands reach out to GSA’s to support them in international markets.
Looking for a trusted partner to help your hotel increase sales? Connect Worldwide provides hotel and resort companies with access to a professional hotel sales team in international markets. In addition our Tourism and Destination branch has the specialized experience to help increase visitation through a strategic combination of expertise in consumer and travel trade branding, digital innovation and media expertise, event management and promotional activities. Contact us to learn more.