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.

losing a callBookings are often lost when incoming reservation calls are not
handled with care.

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.

book travel onlineTrain reservations agents to properly close calls and avoid losing direct bookings to OTAs.

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.

John Smallwood Circle Frame “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.
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John Smallwood Circle Frame This is one in a series of essays by John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook Premium Reservations Call Center about voice reservations, the second most profitable revenue channel.

About Travel Outlook Hotel Reservation Call Center Services

In addition to the unique use of world-class call center technology, Travel Outlook is the only call center certified by Kennedy Training Network, the hotel industry’s best source for sales training and guest service excellence. Its luxury call team is tested by Forbes and Kennedy each month. Travel Outlook is a hospitality company that takes reservations calls, not a general call center with a handful of hospitality clients.