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Research Finds Expanded Skill Sets are Essential to Hotel Sales Professionals of the Future

McLean, VA (October 22, 2015) – The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation today released a new research publication entitled, “The Evolution of Sales: Perspectives and Realities Defining the Modern Sales Professional.” The report explores the challenges facing hotel sales today, including the way organizations and individuals think about the sales process, sales management and the sales professionals, and highlights the need for the hospitality industry to change perspective.

The report, authored by Lalia Rach, Ed.D., offers specific facts and implications to hotel sales, including: 

  • We no longer control the sale; we’re no longer in control of information.
  • The processes-approach is based on past reality; we can influence but we can’t form how the buyer thinks.
  • The buyer and intermediaries are more educated, knowledgeable, sophisticated and experienced.
  • It does not require human interaction to obtain price, availability, booking or evaluation.

Sales people today must utilize a progressive development process to maintain skills and abilities necessary for success. The report highlights six emerging and expanded skill sets that have been identified that are vital for the successful hotel sales professional of the future:

  • Updated sales abilities
  • Divergent thinking
  • Strategic collaboration
  • Source of reliable analysis
  • Effective management of demand to create value
  • Financial and revenue acumen

“The ideas presented in this report should foster robust and strategic discussion on the roles and expectations of sales within hotel organizations in the future,” said Fran Brasseux, CHBA, CHSE, executive director, HSMAI Foundation and executive vice president, HSMAI. “We all need to challenge ourselves to think differently about the sales process and sales management to advance and strengthen the entire enterprise.” 

According to the report, which is the result of three years of research sponsored by the HSMAI Foundation and conducted by Dr. Rach, if the profession and professionals in sales do not evolve, it is likely organizations will continue to look for ways to downsize or utilize technology and third-party organizations. Going forward, sales professionals will be measured by their ability to think rather than just sell. Measuring effective sales leadership on the six emerging attributes noted in the report, and aligning these attributes to sales leadership positions, prioritizes the level of ability needed to succeed in the role.  

Visit the HSMAI Foundation Knowledge Center to download the complete report. 

HSMAI Foundation thanks its publishing partner, InterContinental Hotels Group.

About HSMAI Foundation

Established in 1983 to serve as the research and educational arm of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, the HSMAI Foundation's mission is to develop knowledge and insights for the future to fuel sales, inspire marketing and optimize revenue. For more information on the HSMAI Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) organization, visit

Contact: Elizabeth Johnson

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