Making the Most of a First Impression

We’ve all heard the expression that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Recent studies support this, but more importantly, the studies indicate that it’s very hard to change a poor first impression to a more positive one later on.

As a hotel, your entire image depends on the ability to offer great customer service right from the initial contact with your guest. It’s absolutely critical that your guests feel instantly welcome the second they contact your hotel.

According to McKinsey research on customer experience, 70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer feels they are being treated. Significantly, a study by RightNow concluded that 73% of people fall in love with brands because of friendly employees or customer service representatives.

Clearly, there’s huge value in nurturing great relationships with guests right from the start to increase the prospects of them booking with you now and in the future. But all too often, a guest’s first communication with a hotel involves an efficient, standard welcome email generated by the PMS or CRS. And no matter how nicely worded or individually tailored that email might be, an automated welcome will never feel truly personal.

In contrast, extending a friendly welcome over the phone allows a hotel to build rapport with customers and form valuable, long-term relationships.

In those crucial few moments of interaction, a human voice can convey a genuine warmth that is more personal and sincere than any other form of communication.   This can shape a customer’s entire perception of your hotel, enhancing your brand reputation and helping to increase bookings.

While busy periods can make it hard to give every customer quality attention, a great call center team can ensure your hotel always offers this one-to-one welcome. More importantly, well-trained agents can personalize the guest’s experience, addressing any specific queries they might to make their stay more enjoyable, and offering the right activities or add-on items to make their stay unforgettable.

John Smallwood, President

About John Smallwood, President of Travel Outlook

A veteran in the hospitality industry, John has owned, developed, and managed hotels for many years. After earning a BBA from New Mexico State University, he started his career with AT&T, gaining invaluable insight and experience in the early years of the data revolution. His experience in technology and hospitality merged in his development of Travel Outlook, the world-class hospitality contact center. More recently, he has branched out with the creation of ExpressRez, the premier contact center for the Bed and Breakfast industry, and with the creation of Annette, the first AI-powered voice bot for the hotel industry.

About Travel Outlook

Given its progressive approach to the voice channel – in terms of performance, training, transparency, testing and the tools used to measure performance – Travel Outlook Premium Hotel Call Center has become the premier voice reservations team in hospitality. Travel Outlook’s valued client list includes Viceroy Hotel Group, Outrigger, KSL Resorts, Proper Hospitality Group, Pacific Hospitality Group, Highgate Hotels, The Irvine Company, Catalina Island and many others. Travel Outlook’s team and approach increases sales conversion and helps to create more effective voice communication between hotels and their guests, resulting in improved social scores in addition to increased voice channel revenue. For more information, visit

About Annette™, The Virtual Hotel Agent™:

Annette is an AI powered virtual call center agent that represents the next generation of voice bots designed specifically for the Hospitality industry. Annette has been programmed using a breakthrough approach to voice bots, a system built from human conversations. Using social media, chat forums, and movie dialogue, Annette learns from billions of casual human conversations to understand human inflections and multi-turn queries. This revolutionary approach means Annette understands callers no matter what they say, when they say it, or how they speak. Annette can answer FAQs specific to your property, understand multiple languages, route calls, send follow up texts, and more.


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