Over the years we at ResortsandLodges.com have analyzed hours of call data from hotels and resorts across North America and have gathered this list of Top 10 Ways to Overcome Rez Staff Pitfalls. This list calls attention to every resort or hotel property so they can realize what their reservation staff may actually be saying to potential guests. Every phone call counts and may equal potential revenue for a hotel, resort, lodge, inn, or rental management company. It is imperative for anyone who owns or runs a property to become conscious of these situations, which may be happening at their own property.
We’ve compiled a list of the most alarming things we’ve come across.
1. Not Closing the Deal: Many times the reservationists could not close the deal, allowing potential guests to hang up.
Our suggestion: Hanging up without giving any options or suggestions to sell the potential customer is not acceptable. If someone is calling about your property, they took the time to find your property’s number – either online, from a friend, etc. Calling your property means they’re interested in what they’ve heard or seen. This should be an easy sale! If they aren’t ready to book right away, certify that your staff is pleasant and helpful so when they do decide to book, they remember your property’s service. A good technique would be for your staff take the contact information of each caller and follow up several days later. The more positive interaction you have with potential customers, the more likely they will want to stay at your property.
2. Customer Knowledge: Many reservationists assume potential guests know as much about your area as the locals do.
Our suggestion: Remember, most people who travel want to discover an area –they likely do not know as much as someone who lives there. Thoroughly train your staff. Your staff should be equipped with knowledge of the property as well as the surrounding area and local attractions. Create a staff handbook (keep it at the front desk) filled with all the information needed to assist customers. An instrumental and friendly staff generates more revenue and customer recommendations allowing your property to become more successful.
3. Flexibility: Many reservationists were unable to book a group because the person who normally books groups was not available.
Our suggestion: There is no set schedule for booking a reservation. Customers can call at anytime. Make sure someone is always available to book reservations, both for single customers or for large groups. Have this same person follow up with these booking customers to make sure all the information provided is accurate. Well-trained staff is prepared for every type of phone call, because travelers can call at anytime!
4. Patience: We once heard a reservationist say “After I show you this cabin I cannot spend much more time with you on this.”
Our suggestion: One big “No!” Your staff must be dedicated enough to engage with potential guests and never too busy to talk to them! Does your staff have enough time to talk to potential customers on the phone? If not, would you consider hiring more staff?
5. Arguing: Telling prospective guests that their accommodations are not the type of accommodation they are looking for. Example: “These are cabins, they are rustic, and they are not luxurious.”
Our suggestion: Put the customer first. Guests make mistakes too. There are bad and good ways to handle these situations. Do not – argue with the guest. Arguing is a negative touch point and negative touch points drive guests away from your property. Do - make sure your staff understands what the guest’s point. Where they got this information? In this scenario, suggest comparable amenities and accommodations to what they may have been looking for. Staying positive and cordial will help your cause.
6. Referring to Competitors: Reservationists, instead of trying to overcome an objective, refer guests to competitors. Example: Wanting an Indoor Pool as opposed to an Outdoor Pool.
Our suggestion: Train your staff to recognize what makes your property great and more desirable than your competitors. Create a property fact sheet, and leave it at the front desk, explaining all of the great accommodations, amenities and service offered. Knowledgeable employees equal greater sales.
7. Attitude: Reservationists, young and old, with an “I don’t care if you stay here or not” attitude.
Our suggestion: Attitude is everything. Your staff should care about your property, their jobs, and making sales! Staff with “I don’t care” attitudes will definitely rub off on potential guests and turn them away. Again, it’s a negative touch point that can be stopped before it starts – hiring the right people!
8. No knowledge of promotions or events: Reservationists without knowledge of property specials, promotions or events.
Our suggestion: Communicate your marketing initiatives clearly to the front desk staff. The communication between the marketing team and the front reservation staff should be seamless. Every promotion and event must be communicated to the front desk.
9. Referring potential guests to their website instead of answering questions on the phone:
We’ve heard this happen many times: Reservationists referring potential guests to the property’s website rather than answer their questions on the phone.
Our suggestion: If most of the property information is on your website, it would be helpful for the front desk staff to have access to your property’s website so that they can explain the information over the phone as well as mention that all information can be found there.
10. Callers being put on hold for more than 2 minutes or being transferred back and forth between several lines or reservationists:
One of the most common issues: Callers being put on hold for long periods of time or being transferred back and forth from reservationists.
Our suggestion: Putting a guest on hold for more than 2 minutes (which is a long time) is bad business etiquette. Customers become irritated and often hang up. If your front desk is getting a high volume of calls you need to make sure you have enough staff to answer the phones and close business deals.
Ensuring your front desk staff have positive attitudes, genuinely want to fill rooms at your property and have the proper training should help combat any of the above pitfalls commonly made by reservation staff. By tracking all of your phone calls through your advertising on ResortsandLodges.com or through Phonalytics call tracking and speech analytics technology, you will have a clear understanding of whether these pitfalls are occurring.