If you’re like most hotel marketing and revenue leaders, chances are that one of your major near term strategic goals is to drive more direct bookings and thus reduce the costs of customer acquisition.
Certainly this strategy calls for finding ways to drive traffic to your website and make it easy for them to book there right now. However, while many guests will book online, others prefer to first speak directly with a credible reservations agent.
Generally, the higher the rate, the longer the stay, and the more they guest has a personal interest in the visit (such leisure guests) the more likely they are to call.
To convert more inquiries into bookings, it is certainly important to have trained your voice reservations agents to do all they can to secure the sale, overcome resistance, and to keep the caller from hanging up without committing, as I have addressed in previous training articles.
Yet regardless of how skilled the reservations agent is, there are always going to be some callers who are simply not yet ready to commit. This is especially true when the caller is traveling with friends or family members who are to be involved in the decision. Another reason callers hesitate to commit is that they want to continue to search online for a better rate, or perhaps they are only calling to double-check the rate they see at an OTA site.
When you consider the marketing costs of making that phone call happen in the first place, and how easy it would be for the caller to hang-up and book your hotel through a costly third-party OTA, or worse yet, to book another property, it surely makes sense to train your team invest a few post-call moments to take sales to the next level which is to use pro-active follow-up action steps.
Now I’m sure that some readers are rolling their eyes and saying “Oh, we’ll never have time to do all that!” Ironically, one reason is that many resort reservations agents are short on time is because they are bogged down with admin work involved by entering OTA reservations into their systems, or if the connection is seamless, checking those reservations discrepancies.