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Q&A with Nick: Vice President of Sales Europe at IHG

 

IHG® is filled with great people. People from different countries and cultures, speaking different languages, driving our company forward around the world.

Today we have a Q&A with Nick Grandvoinet for you. He’s Vice President of Sales for Europe, Middle East & Africa at IHG. Nick talks about his journey so far and shares tips for a successful sales career.  

 

Tell us about your career progression to date at IHG.

When I came to IHG I got my dream job of heading up the entire sales operation of a region, whilst at the same time joining a great company that was clearly on the up.

Over time, my role has developed as the value proposition of sales has expanded. Initially my role was completely about delivering the revenue target of the off property sales team. Today, that’s still the most important thing that we do, but as the market has changed we spend an increasing amount of time focusing on future proofing the sales operation by developing new strategies, tools and processes.

 

Have you always been in the Hospitality industry?

I’ve been in the hospitality industry since 2006 when I joined IHG. Though I started my career in retail with Marks and Spencer as a graduate trainee, my background is primarily in the travel industry. I spent four years at Carlson Wagonlit Travel and nine years at Avis before joining IHG.

Across those organisations, I worked my way up the sales ladder, from UK sales to international sales, from sales person to sales leadership. Those companies gave me a really good understanding of the travel industry from different perspectives.

 

So why Hospitality?

Primarily, I was attracted to IHG as a company - and that took me into hospitality.  I have to say that of all the travel industry segments that I’ve worked in, hospitality is by far the most enjoyable for many reasons. Firstly, the people; it’s not called hospitality for nothing! Secondly, the brands make what we sell interesting and something to be proud of. And, thirdly, it’s the segment of the industry that has gone through the most development in recent years and the opportunities to drive positive change have been enormous and exciting.

Which skills would you say are essential in the Sales function at IHG?

Sales people have to be progressive and open to embrace change as we’ve significantly evolved the way in which we operate as a team in recent years to adjust to a marketplace that is undergoing significant change.

Leading the entire industry with the removal of static rates in the tour and leisure segment is a great example of this. Ways of working that had existed in the industry for decades were changed in a matter of months.

 

Which skills can you develop on the job?

The nature of sales means that most skills are developed on the job. In recent years, sales people at IHG have had to be open to develop themselves and raise their game as our market evolves and increasingly tries to commoditize what we sell.

So we’ve made and continue to make big investments in on the job changes to enable new leading edge sales techniques to be adopted, like ‘Challenger Selling’ (where we use independent data to challenge a customer’s view of a situation in our favour) and ‘Social Selling’ (using LinkedIn to create new contacts and infiltrate our accounts more fully). All of which are helping to give sales the edge in this changing market.

 

Which skills would you say are essential in the Sales function at IHG?

Sales people have to be progressive and open to embrace change as we’ve significantly evolved the way in which we operate as a team in recent years to adjust to a marketplace that is undergoing significant change. Leading the entire industry with the removal of static rates in the tour and leisure segment is a great example of this. Ways of working that had existed in the industry for decades were changed in a matter of months.

 

Which skills can you develop on the job?

The nature of sales means that most skills are developed on the job. In recent years, sales people at IHG have had to be open to develop themselves and raise their game as our market evolves and increasingly tries to commoditize what we sell.

So we’ve made and continue to make big investments in on the job changes to enable new leading edge sales techniques to be adopted, like ‘Challenger Selling’ (where we use independent data to challenge a customer’s view of a situation in our favour) and ‘Social Selling’ (using LinkedIn to create new contacts and infiltrate our accounts more fully). All of which are helping to give sales the edge in this changing market.

 

Any tips for anyone just starting out in their career with IHG?

Firstly, congratulations! You’ve joined a great company, with a great culture and great people. My number one piece of advice would be to spend time with our owner and franchisee partners to really understand our model and how you can add value.  Our success is dependent on growing our estate and to do that successfully we need to understand how we add value to those internal customers. It’s really that simple.

 

Maybe the Sales department at IHG is just the place for you? Take a look at our latest opportunities here and see where in the world a career with IHG could take you.

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