Exactly What Is Your Reservations Department’s Conversion Percentage?

Measuring your hotel’s reservations conversion percentage is an art, not a science. What is a good conversion ratio? Doug Kennedy of the Kennedy Training Network explains how making a concise determination can be a little tricky.

Doug observes that the percentage of first time callers to your hotel can lower the conversion ratio. Since those callers don’t know about your property, fewer will book, so hotels with larger advertising budgets tend to have lower conversion ratios overall. He also notes that the percentage of repeat business will raise the ratio. Hotels that have a loyal customer base tend to do less advertising, and they tend to have higher conversion ratios.

Also, hotels serving the leisure and meetings market tend to have lower conversion ratios than those that serve the corporate market.

One thing is absolutely certain: you will not know what your conversion percentage is unless you install a system that requires your agents to document and categorize each call result before releasing to answer the next call. Many hotels ask their agents to manually record the outcome of each call, but these hand-written notes next to the phone are an extremely imprecise method to obtain critical information. In fact, it’s so subjective it has little real value.

Professional reservations call systems require agents to record the outcome of each call, offering a variety of preset options to record why a client did not book, such as lack of availability, rate resistance, minimum length of stay restriction, lack of suitable bedding, and other reasons. When examined by hotel management each month, this information can provide a clear road map of what must be done to convert more calls into revenue, whether it means to take another look at LOS restrictions, change bedding, or reexamine rate strategies.

Yes, information at your agents’ fingertips can help change fortunes overnight – but it has to be collected objectively, accurately, and consistently.