How Hotels Can Redefine the Guest Relationship
A recent article by Deloitte highlighted how “big tech outsiders” may soon make a push into the global travel industry — especially in online distribution. After years of tracking individual customer behaviors and trip preferences, these large players can utilize vast amounts of data to drive bookings by offering tailored suggestions on everything from flights and hotels to in-destination activities.
In this evolving travel marketplace, the big tech outsiders and their data-collecting tools may appear a threat to established travel providers, including hotels. Yet these same companies lack the ability to offer personalization where it matters most: through physical guest interaction.
The hotel-guest relationship is undoubtedly being redefined by the roll out of mobile-centric technologies. Smart room devices, chat bots, messaging platforms, and digital check-in all give guests the freedom and flexibility to personalize their stay in unprecedented ways. In turn, hotels can use the data collected from every digital interaction to personalize future experiences and marketing.
However, setting up a hotel environment to capture guest micro-data is a big challenge. The initial investment costs alone can be a major stumbling block. In addition, personalization opportunities can be missed by poor integration between existing systems and ineffective data sharing between hotels in the same group.
This is where a voice reservation team can play a vital role in bridging the personalization gap.
At Travel Outlook, our voice agents are uniquely trained to understand each caller’s “story” through a form of investigative questioning. This approach allows them to quickly identify where each caller is in their travel journey and decision-making process. Having understood what the caller needs, our voice agents can entice them through a storytelling approach, and ultimately convert them into customers.
Emily Bowen, HSMAI’s Revenue Manager Professional of the Year (2016) notes, “The discipline of revenue management speaks to selling the right product at the right time to the right guest. But great strategies rely on the successful execution of them by a well-informed team who knows who their guest is. Big data provides the base to analyze revenue potential; the voice agents create the bridge between that potential and the actual engagement. Remembering that the spirit of hospitality began with the simplicity of engaging with our guests is what will help drive true loyalty and sustainable growth.”
As travel becomes defined by tech-driven forms of personalization, hotel call centers need to apply the same tailored service. A well-trained voice agent can achieve this by adopting a conversational style to build rapport, asking the right questions to uncover invaluable insights, and adapting their approach to make every potential guest feel like a valued customer.
While technology is heavily used throughout the travel journey, being able to offer personalized service through human interaction is invaluable. To know what your guests really want and to truly connect with them, a well-trained voice agent can make all the difference when it matters most.
Given the value of every direct booking, hotels need to consider every possible solution to convert as many leads as possible. A reservation agent can provide the technical help and the all-important personal touch that may turn a lead into a valuable direct booking.