News for the Hospitality Executive
Hotel Reservations Sales Training Tips – Circa 2009
|by Doug Kennedy
March 27, 2009
For veteran hoteliers who are experiencing our industry’s fourth economic down-turn in the last twenty years, it is interesting to see how consumers are reacting to the latest media-driven “fire sale” stories that “hotel discounts are there for the asking.” In past down-cycles, such as in the early 1990’s after the savings and loan crisis, again after 9-11, and once more in spring of 2003 when we were facing the treat of the Iraq war and SARS virus, guests increasingly turned to the Internet to find what they perceived as the absolute-best available rates.
Not surprisingly, during the most current economic down-cycle, guests still check the Internet first, although this is no longer a simple task. With the emergence of “meta-search” engines such as SideStep and Kayak, with more than 20 million guest reviews on TripAdvisor alone, and with new information being posted every day on social networking sites, prospective guests now have an overwhelming amount of information – and misinformation – available to them.
After spending countless hours online reading every hotel review, looking at every hotel photo (including seeing the real truth by visiting the “traveler photos” at TripAdvisor and video shorts at YouTube), and even trying to take the mask off opaque channels by visiting websites such as BiddingForTravel.com and BetterBidding.com, many of today’s value-driven deal-seekers eventually become very confused and even stressed by their decision-making process.
Here in 2009, an increasing number of these multi-tasking maximizers in the end revert to a very old-fashioned tactic that is “so 1980’s”, which is to call the hotel directly and talk to an actual live person. What a concept! For evidence, just ask those fielding reservations calls how often they get asked right up-front “Where are you?” by callers who have checked YellowPages.com for a local phone number just to make sure they can reach an on-premise agent.
According to numerous travel experts, the most famous of which is Peter Greenberg (a.k.a. The Travel Detective), this is the very best way to get the absolute lowest rate. Many guests are also discovering that this is a great way to get a feel for the level and style of service they will receive as a guest.
As a result of these trends, it is more important than ever to carefully train your reservations (and front desk) salespersons to capture and convert every possible inquiry, while simultaneously increasing average rates by better-presenting higher-rated accommodations, packages and promotional offerings. Here are sales training tips for your next reservations meeting:
Doug Kennedy, President
|Also See:||Is That the Best Rate You Have? - How to Train Your Voice Reservations Agents To Handle Today's Deal-Seekers / Doug Kennedy / February 2009|
|First Step In New Sales: Believe It Is Possible! / Doug Kennedy / January 2009|
|Good News Formula For RevPar in 2009 / Doug Kennedy / January 2009|
|Alluring Descriptions Are Key To Converting Hotel Reservation Callers / Doug Kennedy / November 2008|
|Bringing Out The Best from Our Most Negative Hotel Guests - Brings Out The Best In Ourselves / Doug Kennedy / October 2008|
|Profit Optimization Is Everyone's Job / Doug Kennedy / August 2008|
|Hotel Lessons Learned Growing Up In Kennedy Craft Shop / Doug Kennedy / July 2008|
|Personalized Hospitality Excellence Still A Deliverable! / Doug Kennedy / June 2008|
|Real Conversations vs Rigid Scripting Increases Reservations Productivity / Doug Kennedy / May 2008|
|Hotel Lessons Learned From A Five-Star School Principal / Doug Kennedy / April 2008|
|Road Warrior Shares Tips On How Hotel Guests Can Minimize Environmental Impact / Doug Kennedy / March 2008|
|Right-Sized Staffing Ensures Front Desk Sales & Service Success / Doug Kennedy / December 2007|