NB: This is an article from Doug Kennedy, President of Kennedy Training Network
Besides providing reservations sales training and telephone mystery shopping for the lodging industry, many companies have hired me to do consulting regarding their overall sales and service levels. In this case I often place calls myself directly to the reservations sales agents, which I find to be even more insightful than just listening to our KTN mystery shoppers here in the office doing so.
Almost universally these days, it seems that reservations agents view it as their job to take bookings or to provide callers with a list of available room types and rates for their requested dates. Most are polite in doing so, but this is not helping. The calls usually flow like this:
Caller (me in this case): “Hello, I was online and I needed some help in planning my vacation.”
Agent: “Sure, I can assist you. What are your dates?” and “What kind of room are you looking for?”
Caller: “Well I was looking for help in booking for our family vacation…”
Agent: “Okay, well we have over 5 different room types plus suites. Let me tell you what we have open.”
Most continue on to then provide a list of each room type and rate.
Some agents continue on and politely explain that “Our website has pictures of each room.” A few take a slightly different approach that is really not much better; they ask for the caller’s email address and then say they will email over a list of what’s available. When such lists arrive they typically include every room type that is open. This is exactly the wrong approach for several reasons.
- Most callers visit the resort website before calling; sending them back online does nothing to assist with their decision making.
- When going back online, they might visit a different hotel’s website and book with them.
- Those who found the resort through a third party website might go back there to select a different resort. Or go to an OTA website costing us a hefty commission.
- Emailing over a list does not help either; it simply provides the same list that they probably already viewed themselves or could have pulled up on their own.