8 Qualities of Top Performing Hotel Call Center Agents
How to pick a call center that’s right for your property
By John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook
Hotels in 2021 have a lot of catching up to do. 2020 and the first half of 2021 presented the hospitality industry with a whirlwind of challenges that still linger today.
One way hotels are rising to the occasion and meeting the needs of travelers is by utilizing a professional hotel call center to man the lines in their reservation department. Not all call centers are created equal.
So, how do you know if a hotel call center has what it takes to increase your reservations and boost revenue? To find out what to look for in a hotel call center, continue reading below for 8 Qualities of Top Performing Hotel Call Center Agents.
1. Effective Communication Skills
Over the last year and a half, there has been a sharp uptick in direct bookings. To be exact, in 2020, direct bookings accounted for 47% of worldwide bookings. So far, in 2021, direct bookings account for 44% of all bookings. So, why the increase in direct channel bookings?
After all the uncertainty of the last year , travelers are craving genuine hospitality and hands-on reassurance about safety measures taken by hotels. It’s also possible that OTAs are becoming overwhelmingly saturated with too many paid ads and misleading information.
According to Doug Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Training Network (KTN), “in an increasingly digital world, a personal touch goes a long way. A friendly, helpful, and informative voice on the other end of the line is just what it takes to turn a curious caller into a new guest and to set the tone for an in-house experience that results in a repeat guests for years to come.”
2. Knowledge Retention and Recall
A properly trained call center agent (like those trained by the KTN) takes the time to learn and honor your brand equity, inside and out.
The best hotel call center agents train to become experts in your hotel so that they can sell reservations using your hotel’s unique features. A top-performing call center agent will highlight your properties best features, whether those unique features are your property's location, its business amenities, or its rewards program,
3. Ability to Handle Pressure
Taking calls isn’t always easy. Occasionally, potential customers are frustrated and can direct that frustration to whoever is on the other end of the line.
It’s all in the training, and professional call center agents are trained to handle all sorts of high-pressure situations and have the ability to diffuse practically any situation.
4. Speed and Efficiency
Speed and Efficiency are key attributes to a successful call center agent. The longer a call goes on, the more time the customer has to change their mind. Top-tier call center agents waste no time converting leads to sales.
The Kennedy Training Network devised a sales strategy that is designed to convert leads efficiently. Call centers trained by KTN can close up to 70% of the qualified reservations calls they receive. Leading hotel call center agents are not only trained by KTN but are tested regularly by Forbes and KTN.
The ideal hotel call center should be proven to convert more calls to confirmed bookings and to close them at a higher average daily rate, and they do this while creating an initial feeling of professionalism and courtesy for the hotel in the mind of the guest, setting the stage for higher ratings in sites such as TripAdvisor.
5. Creative Problem Solving
Modern problems require modern solutions, and with the way 2020 and 2021 have gone thus far, hoteliers are in need of some seriously new approaches.
2020 and 20201 introduced a plethora of new challenges to hoteliers around the world, and many were forced to adapt and pivot to survive. Top-performing hotel call center agents can be a resource in times of crisis.
Expertly trained call center representatives regularly engage in training games, team activities, role-playing, and group exercises. This provides Reservations Specialists the training they need to focus and succeed in today’s world of over-informed, multi-tasking callers who have looked at too many choices online.
6. Emotional Stability
Highly trained call center agents exude emotional stability, even in times of crisis. They rely on their training and understand the importance of remaining cool, calm, and always collected.
Today’s travelers are craving a personal touch while navigating through a world of uncertainty. And they need to hear a reassuring, reasonable voice on the other end of the line.
A high-quality call center representative understands your hotel, your guests, and your brand. A professional call center’s training, coaching, and quality assurance efforts are built specifically for your hotel’s market segment, property type, revenue strategies, company philosophies, and any unique operational needs. A top-tier call center agent’s empathy goes beyond understanding your brand. Call center agents are trained to be in touch with guests' needs and wants.
8. Team Player
Top-performing call center agents work as part of your team. They are an asset that can be used in all aspects of the hospitality world.
Hotel management is complex and ever-changing. Professionally trained call center agents help simplify management by handling the more burdensome tasks. A top-tier call center agent will blend into any hospitality team, no matter if the client is a hotel chain or an individual property.
John SmallwoodMore from John Smallwood
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.