As a hotel owner or manager, you're always looking to attract guests and keep them coming back every time they're in your city. You might not always think of this as a sales activity, but it certainly is. In fact, incorporating some sales strategies into your hotel's operating plan might be just what you need to increase your fill rate. Try a few of the following tips.

Create a Sales Plan

Your first step in boosting your hotel's sales is to create a sales plan. You should determine the variety of plan or plans you would like to focus on. Perhaps an annual sales plan would be best along with a long-term sales plan that looks further into the future. These plans will be based on your current numbers, your goals, your target markets and your staffing. You should come up with specific actions that you can take to work toward meeting your goals. Determine how these actions will be implemented and by whom. Discuss your sales plans with your employees, and make sure they understand their roles.

Adjust Your Marketing

If your sales are a little slow or if you just want to give them a boost, try adjusting your marketing. You might, for instance, revamp your website and make it easier to navigate. Add an online booking feature, too, if you don't already have one. Your social media sites may also need an update.

Alternatively, you could send out an email or postcard mailing to all your past guests and contacts. Fill your message with fun facts and a valuable promotion. You could even start up a monthly email newsletter to keep your hotel front and center in your guests' in-boxes. This could, in fact, be part of a whole new marketing campaign that paints your hotel in a fun, unique light designed to welcome back returning guests and attract new ones.

Connect With Your Guests

You should, of course, always connect with your guests on many levels. When they contact you to book their stay, make the process as easy as possible. Offer options online and by phone, and immediately send confirmation materials so that your guests can be sure the transaction has gone through smoothly. This provides peace of mind.

During your guests' stay, make sure they have everything they need. Handle complaints, concerns or questions promptly and with respect. Offer the little extras, too, like a continental breakfast, in-room beverages and good lighting, and of course, every room must be scrupulously clean and neat. After all, satisfied guests are probably your very best sales strategy. They tell their relatives, friends and acquaintances, and you get more guests. You might also set up a rewards program for returning guests with discounts and other valuable treats.

Train Your Employees

Training your employees might not seem to have much to do with your sales strategies, but it is actually an important part of your sales plan. Your employees are the people your guests encounter, so they should know how to behave professionally to keep guests coming back. Create an employee handbook that lays out all your expectations about procedures and behavior. Set up training sessions for new employees and frequent refreshers. See to it that your employees know how to handle guests' concerns or complaints and how to set the stage for future sales.

Track Your Statistics

Finally, track your sales statistics meticulously. This will help you see patterns by season, categories of guests, geography, marketing media and more. You can use these numbers to reach out to a new corner of the market, promote your hotel in diverse locations and determine new marketing techniques. Be flexible enough to change your sales plan according to what your statistics tell you.

Your hotel can benefit from a close look at your sales strategies and the incorporation of some of these ideas. So draw up your sales plan, and get ready to welcome returning and new guests who will happily recommend your hotel to others.