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How Hospitality Got Sales Training Wrong

By Alzaysha Johnson - Sales Training Lead

After six successful years of sales in hospitality, I decided in May 2021 that I would step back to accelerate my career. But over the last six years, I’ve noticed so many things from inside the world of hospitality sales that could be improved.

 Throughout my career, I have held the titles of Sales Coordinator, Executive Meeting Manager, and Sales Manager. Despite holding a variety of different titles throughout my tenure in hospitality sales, I was only sent to 4 or 5 professional trainings. I had to purchase all additional training, mentorship, and certifications with my own limited funds. Many companies (brand-managed and franchised) don’t have training, education, or development allocated in their budget. For those that do, trainings are sometimes only centered on higher-level positions who hotels can afford to lose for a week, such as Directors of Sales or Sales Managers. This makes it extremely difficult for sales teams to reach their full potential. Burdened with large workloads and endless commitments, sales teams often lose focus on training and education. Even with an annual week of training, sales representatives often return to responsibilities that have piled up and forget to apply the lessons and strategies they’ve learned.

The truth of the matter is that Sales Managers and Directors have so many commitments and goals, they often can’t afford to prioritize training. Most will opt to skip training to focus on their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Depending on their start date, some sales representatives don’t attend sales trainings or conferences until 6 months or a year into their position. By then, they have often become so inundated with work that training is not the focus. 

For operations teams, this problem is even worse. Operations teams (housekeeping, front desk, engineering, food & beverage, etc.) typically have no designated one-on-one training: it’s a start and go process. This creates a revolving door of employee turnover and burn out. We have accepted this as a norm in the industry, and it has become even more apparent since the outset of the COVID-19 crisis. The hotel operational department is typically one of the lowest paid in the industry, even though they are seen as the foundation. Many employees receive promotions through hard work, personal development, and determination. But unfortunately, some get promoted because they are able to weather the storm and push through and pain.

Depression, suicide, and mental health issues are especially prevalent in the hospitality industry. It's something that is simultaneously a whisper yet sadly the norm. The high expectations combined with a lack of comprehensive training often cause employees to deal with serious mental health challenges. The majority of individuals working in hospitality truly love the industry, but they are often forced to take on the pain of staying in the industry.

How Hospitality Got Sales Wrong 


  • Hospitality has no definitive “Sales Enablement” or “Sales Trainer” roles
  • The responsibility of sales training and onboarding typically falls on the Director of Sales or the most senior Sales Manager
  • Full access to all necessary systems, email set-up, and device set-up can typically take up to 30-60 days, significantly delaying productivity
  • There is typically no ramp-up period for sales: Sales Managers start selling on day 1
  • Sales Managers typically only last 1-2 years at a property
  • Systems training typically consists of computer-based brand training and not one-on-one training: 70% of sales professionals do not fully know or understand how to utilise their systems (most understand the basic day-to-day functionality, but don’t use the system to its full potential)
  • Being “Subject Matter Experts” is not a priority; high numbers are a priority 
  • Sales Managers and Director of Sales typically only have one sales training or bootcamp per year (depending on budgets, team size, and business demand) 
  • Sales conference trainings or bootcamps typically last only 1-2 weeks
  • Sales managers often feel like “revenue-making robots”
  • There are no clear roadmaps for career development or promotions, so sales representatives often must reach out to leaders directly
  • Most leaders' workloads are too large to focus on sales team development

Why Am I Excited To Be At SalesWorks 


When applying to SalesWorks, the one core value that was on the website and mentioned many times during the interview process is “Never Stop Learning.” There is an overall understanding across the team that onboarding and training should be ongoing. This struck a nerve in me because I have not heard this in many years. SalesWorks is reimagining the legacy approach to sales training and providing revenue teams with interactive, practical, and result-focused training and enablement solutions. When brought on as a Sales Training Lead, I knew this was finally an opportunity to train sales and revenue professionals on the necessary enablement needs while also expanding my own personal knowledge. We want to create master sales professionals, and we recognize that this isn’t something that can be completed in one week. SalesWorks understands that sales requires Team Development (soft skills, hard skills, personal development), Technology & Infrastructure, and Sales Intelligence. At SalesWorks, the goals of our onboarding and training programs are focused on Know-How, Competence, Mastery, and Evolution of Sales. In our programs, no training is the same. We tailor our trainings by identifying areas that need improvement through assessments, score cards, and transparent conversations with partners. 

SalesWorks’ goal is to change the way training and onboarding is viewed. Many sales trainings programs are based on one-day seminars or bootcamps, celebrity speaker engagements, or standard computer-based training. We want to take the opposite approach as we develop and grow sales professionals. SalesWorks wants to empower sales professionals with skills and tools that are often overlooked and help them become confident sellers.


Request a consultation with SalesWorks to explore ways in which we could help you and your sales team become empowered, confident sellers. 

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