TO OUTSOURCE YOUR CALL CENTER, OR NOT
Four Ways Hotels Lose Revenue by Handling Reservations Calls In-House
Hotels are missing out on booking revenue by undervaluing their voice reservations channel. Hiring an outsourced call center is sometimes seen as a luxury compared with the cost of handling calls in-house. But this can prove a false economy; a professional voice team can significantly drive reservations and boost ADR (Average Daily Rate), more than compensating for the financial outlay.
So how do hotels lose revenue when they handle their reservations calls in-house?
1. Calls are missed
The most obvious way revenue is lost is that calls get missed. A busy front desk simply can’t pick up the phone 100% of the time. While some of those callers will be willing to phone again later, others inevitably won’t. And of course, a missed call might mean you lose a lifetime of revenue from a potentially long-term guest.
2. Complex bookings aren’t always handled with care
Aside from missing calls, a hectic front desk doesn’t always have time to handle every call with due care and attention.
This might not matter for quick requests but handling complicated reservation queries (such as assisting with a multi-family booking) often needs time to find the right solution. Bookings can easily be lost if a potential guest feels brushed off, or that their request wasn’t resolved to their satisfaction.
3. Missed cross-sell and upsell opportunities
An in-house team can also miss vital cross-sell and upsell opportunities. This isn’t just about time constraints, but a lack of specialized training. An expert voice agent is trained to ask specific questions that reveal the “story” behind the call. This allows them to identify a customer’s unique needs, preferences, and place in the booking journey. In turn, they’re able to sell relevant upgrades, additional services and experiences that a caller will be most incentivized to purchase.
4. Losing guests to the OTAs
When shopping around, travelers often call hotels with casual inquiries, such as asking about their rates, rooms, and amenities. An in-house team might (for the reasons stated above) answer the call and no more, allowing the customer to hang up and potentially book via a metasearch or an OTA.
The unintended consequence is that direct booking revenue is lost. Having the time and training to close calls from customers who can be tempted to book (even during a “casual” phone call) is crucial to driving revenue through your voice channel.
“Often, hoteliers mistakenly see hiring an outsourced call center as a cost burden”, says John Smallwood, CEO at Travel Outlook.
“With the right team in place, the voice channel can prove an invaluable part of a hotel’s direct revenue strategy, as well as maintaining guest satisfaction. Often, hotels don’t know how much revenue they’re missing because they don’t invest and then track the difference a call center can make.”
Are you leaving booking revenue on the table?
A well-trained call center team can significantly boost your hotel’s ADR and average occupancy by consistently reaching these high-performance standards:
- Obtain an abandonment rate of less than 5%
- Achieve a call conversion rate of more than 65%
- Answer calls within 20 seconds 80% of the time or more.
If your hotel’s call center team isn’t consistently achieving these KPIs, it may be time for a thorough review to find ways to steadily reach these benchmarks.
Start with a quick review of critical KPIs to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of your hotel’s call center.
Get your FREE Infographic: 10 Hotel Call Center KPIs to Measure Success
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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