HOTELS AND RESORT FEES

Clear Communication Is The Key To Happier Guests

Travelers are extremely savvy at shopping for hotel deals. As a result, some hotels advertise their lowest possible rates and charge for added extras — including the mandatory “resort fee”. Typically, this fee averages around $21 per day and covers what are generally considered standard amenities, including in-room Wi-Fi, and access to the hotel gym and pool.

But hotel and resort fees are causing major problems for some hotels. In some cases, a guest may spot the resort fee pop up just before they book online, causing them to abandon their booking because they feel cheated at suddenly being asked to pay extra.

To make matters worse, some guests know nothing about these fees until they get hit with them at checkout. This can leave them feeling deceived. The obvious consequence is they choose never to rebook with the hotel, and potentially vent their frustrations on social media, or post a negative review on TripAdvisor.

Some hotels are even battling lawsuits under accusations that they didn’t clearly notify customers about their resort fees before including them in the final bill. While the outcome of many of these lawsuits is still pending, the negative PR is clearly harmful to the hotel’s reputation.

So how can hotels be more upfront about resort fees, and how can they describe them more positively to help improve guest satisfaction, earn better reviews, and build stronger long-term relationships?

Sell the benefits

While resort fees might not be popular, hotels that charge them need to be completely transparent about what they are. This is where an experienced booking reservation team can prove a huge asset. It allows a hotel to explain, in positive terms, what the resort fee includes.

It’s critical that reservation agents communicate how the resort fee represents meaningful value. The key to this is understanding why a traveler is choosing the hotel.

For instance, if they’re on a business trip and the resort fee includes Wi-Fi, promoting that fact reassures a guest they’ll have a productive and comfortable environment to work in. If they’re traveling for leisure and the resort fee includes private pool access, this becomes a selling point that tells them they won’t be disturbed during a much-needed escape from work.

A great reservation agent knows how to ask the right questions that reveal the preferences and travel motivations of each potential guest. They can align the value of a resort fee to the specific services or amenities that a guest will find most appealing.

It’s also worth remembering that a reservation sales agent is often the first personal touch point a guest has with a hotel. That first conversation reflects the level of service a guest can expect if they book. If they develop an affinity not just for the property, but also for the person they’re speaking with, they’ll be more inclined to book that hotel knowing they’ve made an informed decision.

Unsure how your reservation agents are communicating hotel and resort fees to potential guests?

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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 www.traveloutlook.com.

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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