Industry Update
Opinion Article10 March 2021

Your Hotel Guests – Your Focus

Outsource Your Reservation Department to Better Serve Your Boutique Hotel Guests

By John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook

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2020 has turned the hospitality industry on its head, forcing many in the travel field to cut costs where they can or risk temporary or even permanent closure. Despite all that has changed in the hospitality industry in the last year, one thing remains constant, and that is the need for creating unique, guest-focused travel experiences, the kind of experiences that keep guests coming back to their favorite boutique hotels.

2021 is just underway, but the light at the end of the tunnel is visible. Now, many in the hospitality space are looking forward and discovering new ways to better serve their guests.

While boutique hotels may not have the same resources as larger chains, they are often preferred compared with their national and international chain counterparts because of the focus attributed to the guests' experience.

Today, many in the hospitality industry finds themselves short staffed and scrambling, oftentimes letting the pursuit of future guests hinder their current guests' experiences. Outsourcing your call center will give your staff the freedom to create one of a kind guest experiences that will foster repeat customers and brand loyalty.

Spend more time focused on current guests and less time on the phone

Outsourcing your call center will free up front desk personal and ensure your staff's focus is on current guests, not generating new guests.

While the industry has entered recovery mode since the year's end, hotels are still operating under normal capacity. When your hotel has fewer guests than usual, it's more important than ever to ensure they have one of a kind travel experiences, the kind of experiences that can only come from a dedicated staff that is focused on guests' needs for the duration of their stay.

Our new normal presents unique challenges that will occupy your staff's attention

This last year has been far from normal, and while things are looking up, it seems as if aspects of the "new normal" are here to stay. Social distancing and advanced sanitation procedures will likely be part of the future of the hospitality industry, at least to some degree.

The hospitality industry is experience-driven and requires hands-on staff to client interactions. Now these experiences will take extra time and planning. Outsourcing your voice channels allows your staff to focus on keeping your guests, rather than chasing down future reservations.

Working from home is not feasible in the hospitality industry

Like social distancing, working from home or additional flex time may be a permanent fixture for many industries. While many working professionals were able to seamlessly transition to working from home, the hospitality industry is an industry based on experiences and face to face interaction. Working from home may not be feasible for your staff.

Additionally, hotel staff working from home won't have access to necessary reservation technologies and training. Rather than risking an uncertain outcome by having your reservation staff continue to work home, outsource your reservation department to a team of trained professionals.

Travel Outlook President, John Smallwood recently said in an article for BLLA that "many hotels have been turning to outsourcing their voice channels to ensure that employees won't have to sustain these challenges. What these hotels find is that it's important that the call center reflects the boutique hotel's unique brand standards. The fact that outsourcing a call center may be a less expensive option than setting up your own doesn't hurt either!"

Let trained professionals operate your voice channels

Outsourcing your voice channels doesn't mean merely ridding your employees of reservation responsivities, but rather, it ensures that the person who answers the reservation line is a trained professional, who is intimately familiar with your property and an expert at converting leads to hard sales.

A recent survey of hotel reservation staff revealed that only 7% of hotel call agents mentioned that their hotel offered complimentary breakfast or had a convenient location, both of which could easily convince a guest to book at your property over a competitor's. Doug Kennedy, President of Kennedy Training Network, asserts that "asking discovery questions is extremely important because they help an agent learn more about the caller, make personalized recommendations, and ultimately drive the booking."

Be better positioned for growth

If you're like most hoteliers, 2021 will be the year you aim to make radical, yet strategic, changes in your approach to driving revenues. "A recent study predicted that the "boutique hotel industry is anticipated to experience revenue growth over the next five years."

An outsourced reservation department will allow you to scale in the future by making a responsible business decision now. As previously mentioned, many boutique hotels find that outsourcing their reservation department is cheaper than setting up an in-house reservation department.

The benefits of outsourcing your reservation department are plenty, from allowing your staff to focus on curating one of a kind travel experiences to positioning your hotel for future growth.

John Smallwood

    More from John Smallwood

    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. For more information, visit www.traveloutlook.com.

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