• Laura

Addendum Culture | A Salute to the Hotel Sales Professionals Taking 3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back

I'm going to be very honest, I don't miss the word "addendum." I think just about every hotel event professional can agree on that. We all know what it means... pausing on the planning process, starting over in some cases, waiting with bated breath for the updates, followed by the usual disappointment of renegotiated contract terms that seem to never favor the banquet revenue, and yes…

I’m gonna mention the “f” word… revising our FORECAST.

However, right now I’d love to be back in the action, partnering with the sales team again to figure out a compromise that suits all parties. As event managers, this was a critical aspect of our relationship with the sales team. The #oneteam mentality relied heavily on this scenario. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is as a salesperson to countersign a new deal, turn it over to a service and operations team to execute, only to see it boomerang back at them when additional massaging on the terms is required for a plethora of reasons. Insert cringe face emoji here, because it’s usually the events team bringing to light many of these reasons to the clients (fees, prices, policies/standards, and the reality that their contracted space won’t actually fit their needs).

During this devastating time in our industry though, I have nothing but empathy and sympathy for our hard-working sales managers, hustling every single day to “save the hotel” by filling the guest rooms and meeting spaces with groups. Groups that are barely even meeting anymore and the ones that are braving it are forced into hybrid formats (rightfully so) meaning the scope of the program is much smaller. Translation = less revenue for the hotel per group. No pressure right?

Meanwhile, I have no idea how or when they are even fitting in any time to search for new business due to all that boomeranging of existing contracts.

Addendum city.

Think about it, if a company didn’t 100% cancel when the pandemic hit, it means they rebooked for a future date, and no doubt are now renegotiating terms to protect themselves surrounding the Covid-19 aftermath.

I would probably be in tears navigating all of that. Wait... let me “amend” that statement, I WOULD be in tears.

Yet, it breaks my heart that I can’t help them all, and am sending so much virtual love and prayers to the hotel sales managers out there grinding away to help bring our beloved industry closer to what we remember.

So while I wait for my chance to jump back in, I can’t help but correlate my industry mindset to the new normal of where I'm at now.

In Gladi’s A Tale of Two Furloughs part one, she made us all giggle with her “7 furlough phases” that we navigated together, and could most likely relate to at the time.

However, it’s time for me to provide an update on those phases, or an “addendum” rather. This is for those of us still sitting here furloughed or now laid off, and are quickly approaching almost a year into this thing, yet the cycle continues and we're still flushing out the phases.

My Furlough Addendum:

Phase 1: summer vacation mode (clean out the liquor cabinet)

  • Still no job, out of liquor, and overweight from all the drinking. Time to get the bikini bod back because round 2 of summer vacation mode is approaching all too soon. Time to implement the New Years' resolution of getting fit.

Phase 2: screaming at the DEO website

  • Finally got the unemployment to work. Thankful for the funds and stimulus money, yet still thoroughly confused every day about re-applying, the latest updates from the government, do we or do we NOT need to do the job search requirements. Thank goodness my husband made a spreadsheet to track it all.

Phase 3: binge-watching everything on Hulu until 3am

  • There is nothing left to watch, including the news.

Phase 4: oh crap, how am I going to pay for that?

  • I’ve gotten creative and just started selling things in my house.

Phase 5: organizing everything in sight

  • Everything is officially back to being a mess now, and procrastination has set in because the “I’ve always got tomorrow” mindset is justified and actual reality.

Phase 6: endless days of downright boredom!

  • Total turnaround now that I got my act together and started H&F Redefined which keeps me busy, and lets my brain function, and be challenged again regarding things that do not require finger painting and Avengers.

Phase 7: self-reflection

  • This is never-ending but now I know myself SO well, I’m annoying myself.

Phase 8: Hiding in my closet (new phase) to work

  • Spouse is STILL working from home and kids only at school 3 days a week. In other words, I can’t breathe.

In all seriousness though, I believe it’s important to ensure that those of us on the outskirts remember we are not the only ones going through hardship and trying times. Just because our careers hit a pause, we have to remember the "grass isn't always greener" mentality.

In this case, the marble floors are not always as shiny back inside those lobby doors.

There are pros and cons to both sides of the dynamic, however, you won’t see those unless you open your mind and find empathy. We are all feeling it in different ways, all we can do is support one another through this new “addendum culture” we’ve been served. Let's have faith, and remember to salute the members of the hard-working sales teams instead of feeling bitter they got to continue to work. They are hustling every day to fill those guest rooms and meeting rooms to justify OUR jobs returning.


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