DBR for Hotel Leaders

In "DBR for Sellers," I talked about what hotel sales people need to do in preparation for the daily business review meeting. Leaders have to hold their teams accountable for coming to DBR prepared and can't allow unqualified, un-researched business to take over the meeting. But the responsibility is mutual, and sales and revenue leaders share the burden.

In addition to keeping the meeting moving along and setting the expectations for how sellers will qualify their business, leaders need to stay vigilant in the pursuit of the three key components of DBR - learning, accountability, and cohesion. (Remember the results of that DBR survey I did?) This vigilance is more amorphous than a checklist for qualifying a lead, but it rests on being prepared. The only thing worse than no DBR is bad DBR.

What is a bad DBR meeting?

  • You spend more time saying no than yes.

  • Sales people wait for the DOSM or DORM to announce an acceptable rate, rather than presenting their business and the rate they want to quote.

  • Business is presented before it's qualified.

  • There are no Open Selling Guidelines - no checklist that allows a seller to book without permission.

This turns a sales person -- who is paid the salary of a skilled professional -- into an order taker or lead processor. Anyone can learn to enter leads into a database and ask the boss what to do. Skill and experience come into play when you have to do research; use industry knowledge and competitive intelligence; and get creative to figure out how to price and position the hotel in order to win business.

To make sure that daily business review is effective, the leadership team should review as little business as possible.


If you establish clear guidelines for what business your hotel needs and wants, less business falls into the gray zone and needs to be reviewed. In a competitive environment, and especially in a potential downturn, speed and ease of doing business is paramount. Setting and explaining Open Selling Guidelines makes it easy and fast for your team to respond to leads and go after business at competitor hotels.

  1. What are Open Selling Guidelines? These are the rules of thumb your team should use to evaluate a lead. 

  2. Why have Open Selling Guidelines? Speed still kills in hospitality. Getting your response in quickly and going in with your very best offer first makes a difference in your likelihood of winning the business.

Take heart: Open Selling Guidelines should not stop your sales people from booking business that falls outside the rules (or allow them to turn down leads that might work). Rather, the guidelines should free sellers up to respond quickly and focus their research, analysis, creativity, and selling skills on the programs that need more finesse to work.

On a side note - I know that many hotels have group evaluation tools that help calculate displacement and determine pricing. While these tools are a great shortcut, they should exist in service to your Open Selling Guidelines, not in place of them. It's imperative that the senior revenue team (DOSM, DORM, GM, senior leaders) determine these guidelines, set the group evaluation tool up accordingly, and review the results on a quarterly basis at minimum. If your evaluator is returning results that you override on a regular basis (more often than 25% of the time), its seed data/basic assumptions need to be updated.

As a sales and revenue leader, ask yourself, "Does my team know what business they can book without reviewing it with me? Can they make a business decision at their desks without calling a meeting?" If the answer is no, work on your Open Selling Guidelines.

Psst...... Confidential to GMs: You count as a leader in DBR. Are you showing up?

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