The way many hotels in the United States manage group business isn’t working. Nowhere is this more pronounced than among select-service properties, where some of the tried-and-true sales and catering systems, also known as customer relationship management systems (CRMs), built specifically for this segment have recently been sunsetted in a systems consolidation never before seen in the industry. So we at Social Tables decided to do something about it. The forthcoming Social Tables Group CRM is designed expressly to meet the needs of select-service properties and the management companies who maintain them.
Here’s why a new CRM product is essential.
Many of the remaining hospitality CRM options are intended for full-scale operations and are therefore both too expensive and too complicated for smaller properties. These products tend to be difficult to set up (some of them must installed directly onto a computer, rather than accessed from the cloud), hard to learn and onboard, and nearly impossible to service due to narrow vendor bandwidth.
There’s a big void here, and it shows. As many as 40% of the select-service hotels that Social Tables works with don’t even use a CRM. They opt instead for pen and paper or to simply using their Outlook calendar.
In an era when group business demand is outpacing supply among select-service hotels at a substantial rate — even when the majority of newly constructed hotels are select-service — choosing to keep track of guest rooms, event functions, F&B, and more in a physical notebook doesn’t work. It just leaves the properties themselves vulnerable to overbooking and lost deals. Plus, it can cause even bigger challenges for management.
How can management companies make smart, ROI-driven decisions about their on-property sales strategies under such circumstances?
The answer is simple: they can’t. They lack a sufficient level of visibility into day-to-day sales operations.
That’s why the Social Tables Group CRM is a product built expressly to meet the needs of two different constituents: (1) It enables select-service hotels to manage group business efficiently and (2) it empowers management companies to make smart decisions, giving them insight into the sales performance of properties across their entire portfolio.
With the Social Tables Group CRM, we set out to address some of the most common pain points felt at select-service hotels. Listed below, each of these challenges finds a practical solution in the product:
- Budgets are tight.
- Turnover is high.
- General managers are often wearing multiple hats—including housekeeping and maintenance—so they can’t be bogged down.
- Customer service has traditionally been lacking in this market.
Budgets are tight. Boost the bottom line.
A customer in this segment recently said to us: “The number one concern at select-service properties is budget. There is no number two concern.” We took this thinking to heart. The Group CRM is poised to be priced as an affordable solution to provide our customers maximum value. Full stop.
Turnover is high. Save hours with intuitive, easy-to-learn design.
Staff turnover is just a fact of life in hospitality, but it is a particularly common (and painful) challenge at select-service hotels. Introducing new employees to the operational realities of a hotel is already a resource-intensive task; matters don’t need to be made worse by clunky, difficult-to-learn software. We took great pains to keep Group CRM as simple and intuitive as possible.
General managers wear many hats. General managers get in, get out, get on with their day.
As much as they may want to spend the majority of their time managing customer relationships and closing more deals, general managers at select-service hotels simply can’t. Social Tables Group CRM is designed with the their limited bandwidth in mind. They can find the account or contact they need, view a pace report, finalize a contract, and set task reminders all from the same place. They can get in, get out, get on with their day.
Customer service is bad in this market. Rely on world-class customer service.
I mentioned earlier in this piece that vendors in this market just can’t scale enough to address the needs of all of their clients. But Social Tables can, and has demonstrated the ability to do so for our 5,000+ current customers. In fact, we pride ourselves on our customer service benchmarks: on average, our Customer Care team responds to email in under an hour, 99% of phone calls are answered in less than 30 seconds, and live chats are answered in 20 seconds.
The Group CRM comes with comprehensive roll-up reporting that lets management teams keep an eye on sales activity across their entire portfolio. Built with the executive in mind, these reports can give the high-level picture at a glance, or — for the more nuanced approach — they can provide a deep-dive into granular performance data at individual properties.
Dan Berger is the Founder and CEO of Social Tables. He has received nearly 20 leadership awards, including the Pacesetter Award from the Events Industry Council and Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Successful Meetings. He has been named Tech Titan by Washingtonian and was named a finalist for E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Born in Israel and raised in New York City, Dan now calls Washington, DC home. He has a BA from Hunter College and an MBA from Georgetown.