Industry Update
Opinion Article13 January 2021

Capture Direct Bookings 365/24/7

The Real Advantage to Outsourcing Voice Reservations

By John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook

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As we move forward positively into 2021, the hospitality industry is rethinking its strategies. A main priority will be to carefully review how bookings are made, and the cost associated with each booking method. Now is the time to ensure bookings made through your voice channel are always made promptly, professionally, and profitably.

Hotels and the bottom line

Missing bookings can dramatically affect a hotel's bottom line, especially when the reservation opportunity was a direct booking through the hotel's voice channel, the second-most profitable booking channels for hotels.

Since answering voice channel calls is so critical - particularly at a time when hotel occupancy can be severely affected by travel restrictions and local regulations - many hotels are turning to outsourcing to ensure their rooms can be booked, especially as staffing levels are reduced.

According to Scott Meldrum, CHDM, CRME, and Founder, Principal Strategist at Digitality (Digital Hospitality Solutions), "Travelers are using digital channels to explore, plan and find deals day and night. As such, hotels often get booking inquiry calls in the late-night hours or on weekends, meaning that a 365/24/7 hotel call center might be more relevant than ever."

Outsourcing is well-known as a cost-saving approach, but often senior executives believe it doesn't apply to their hotels. But other hotel owners see that there are many reasons to consider outsourcing, especially to help them weather the current norm. This includes:

  • Increasing revenues especially in the form of (otherwise) missed calls.
  • Cutting the fixed costs associated with staffing a reservations team, including training.
  • Keeping front office staff focused on the needs of in-house guests, rather than multi-tasking

"There's more," said John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook.

"Getting an outsourced call center can be a real advantage at a time of heightened public safety protocols. With fewer onsite employees, your hotel has less potential for an outbreak that would otherwise comprise the health and safety of guests and employees, alike."

Personalization matters more than ever

As the travel industry tries to recover from some of the largest losses since the financial crisis in 2008, any loss of business can be especially difficult, so your client's first introduction to your hotel should result in a confirmed booking. This means focusing on the conversation and making sure that your voice channel — by way of a highly trained call center agent — can provide the all-important personal touch that can turn a lead into a valuable direct booking.

Providing unique and personal experiences during the sales process forms the basis of a solid voice channel strategy. With the right call center, your guests will get to know your hotel's unique benefits or offers. Professionally trained call center agents can entice travelers through a storytelling approach and tailor their travel experience to ultimately convert them into guests.

"This is where a call center team can play a vital role in bridging the personalization gap." Travel Outlook CEO John Smallwood says, "when call-center agents are trained to understand each caller's 'story', it allows them to quickly identify where each caller is in their travel journey and decision-making process."

It is important to note, though, that personalization extends beyond the services, amenities, and experiences guests may be seeking when staying at a hotel. With travel planning centered around spring break for the kids, or the family summer vacation, travelers need the assurance that they're going to be safe. Speaking to a thoughtful call center agent can provide that reassurance more effectively than a chatbot or a notice on your website.

The time is now

Hotels often do not know how much revenue they're missing because they don't know the impact an independent hotel call center can make. Hotels may be willing to put off investing in an outsourced call center, now. However, delaying this decision can be costly as hoteliers run the risk of losing revenue with every call that goes unanswered. Investing today in an outsourced call center ensures that your next incoming call is also your next satisfied guest.

About Travel Outlook

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's clients include many of the world's finest hotels and resorts.

John Smallwood

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    About Travel Outlook Premium Hotel Call Center

    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, Columbia Hospitality, 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. www.traveloutlook.com.

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