Outside of the Washington, DC area, I’ve found it a common mistake that hotels make – sticking the government market to their newest, greenest sales manager. I know full well this strategy as I was the beneficiary of such a decision back in 2001 when new and green were my middle names. The decision here is clearly based on room rate. The government rate is often among the lower rates that a hotel considers and since there is literally less value placed on the business, it’s deemed a lower risk to have a junior sales person stumble their way around the segment.
It’s a mistake, however. Savvy hotels, and those hotels accustomed to a high volume of government business, know this. It’s why you might encounter someone in the Washington, DC market who has represented their hotel, or has at least been in the market, for more than twenty years. The reason it’s a mistake is because there are a number of quirks and intricacies to the market that make it unique. Those who know these specialties well will thrive in the market and that comes with experience.
There’s also a good amount of loyalty in the government sector. While hotel sales personnel turnover at a higher rate than most industries, government employees turnover far less. This converse dynamic can be frustrating to the government meeting planner but those hotels that have the courage to assign a more seasoned and experienced sales person to the government market are sure to have the upper hand. They can also use these veteran sales people to train their younger members so that they’re well prepared for the market’s particulars when it’s their time to shine.