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Alluring descriptions are key to converting reservations
Despite the advances in training methodology that have been made in recent years, it still amazes me how many hotels still end up with a highly transactional reservations sales process. Few agents these days go beyond asking the "mandatory" or "inventory search" questions and then giving very basic room descriptions, usually based on the bedding and view. Even those agents that do attempt to provide a description of the hotel and room accommodations all too often fall back to "feature dumping"; listing only basic features found in virtually every hotel room these days: "We have an iron, ironing board, hair dryer, coffee maker, high speed Internet, ergo chairs and flat panel TV's."
What's really amazing about this is that numerous surveys are showing that as many as 60%-75% of today's reservations callers have visited the hotel website before dialing and therefore likely already know all this. With most websites featuring extensive photo galleries and virtual tours these days, along with real-time availability and rate parity, one has to wonder why people still call at all.
Yet interestingly enough, for callers who have not stayed before, all of this information (and misinformation) available online has only caused more questions, concerns, and uncertainties, and thus given them a reason to call directly for opinions and answers. And with all the multitude of choices that a potential guest will be looking at with just a few clicks online, the caller's are more confused than ever.
What the don't need to hear is to have a reservations agent spew out the same facts and features they have seen online. Instead, they are looking for that personalized, customized reservations experience that will assure them they're making the best choice.
This is why today's reservations agents need to be selling to emotion, not intellect. Rather than informing, notifying, and listing information, today's callers need to allure and entice the caller's with information that appeals to their feelings and emotions. Let's face it, with the kind of rates most upscale and luxury hotels command these days, the decision to pay the rates we're charging isn't a logical one, considering the number of hours a guest spends awake in their room. This is especially true with so many economy lodging options out there too for clean, comfortable accommodations.
By providing training and development in these topic areas for your reservations sales team, you'll be giving them the ingredients they need to convert today's over-informed, multi-tasking callers who are overwhelmed with choices only one click away. Not only will your agents convert more reservations, but they'll also be providing a positive first impression of their overall hotel experience, and set a tone for their trip that carries through to arrival and check-in.
His articles have also appeared worldwide in more than 17 prominent international publications including the HSMAI Marketing Review, eHotelier, 4hoteliers, Hotel News Resource, Hotel Online, Human Assets - Dubai and Hong Kong, Hsyndicate worldwide, BAHA Times – U.K., Hospitality – Maldives, and the Hotel Expert Magazine Hong Kong. Since 1996 Doug has been a regular contributor to the lodging industry's number one rated publication, www.hotelmotel.com , where he has been a regular monthly columnist since 2001. Visit www.kennedytrainingnetwork.com for details or e-mail him at: email@example.com
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