Handling bookings enquiries calls is the most important aspect of room reservations management. The way the room reservations manager or the booking agent handles these calls could be the difference between getting the booking or loosing it.
Yet, in many hotels through my personal experience, I have seen reservations staff suggesting customers to book the hotel through travel agencies, Tour operators or OTAs instead! Seriously, what kind of industry does that?
In case the customer would not be happy with the price the travel agent or the tour operator offers, the travel agent will go ahead and suggests another hotel. There you go! You just lost a customer that wanted to book you hotel in the fist place.
Accordingly, redirecting customers to book through OTAs could result in ''loosing'' the customer. OTAs do list your hotel along with your competitors often in the same page, allowing patrons to choose from a variety of hotels in the same category and geographical area.
Because they have been working in the hotel for long time, the room division workers know a lot about the property, the quality of service it offers, and primarily the amenities it has. On this notion, I personally believe that the hotel staff is the most qualified to sell the hotel to customers.
To help you convert your booking enquiries into concrete bookings, I have put together the following tips:
Converting telephone enquiries calls into booking check-list:
Always keep rates ready on your desk
Be professional: Be warm and enthusiastic when you answer the phone, speak slowly and clearly so that callers could understand you easily
Negotiate: A few dollars discount won't hurt. Remember! The travel agent will charge the guest higher prices than you would.
Showcase the hotel's amenities and services: If the hotel has 5 pools for instance don't forget to mention it. Talk about the service quality the hotel provides.
Argument with customer's online reviews: Before calling you, customers have probably checked online reviews about the hotel in Tripadvisor, HolidayChek or similar websites. If the hotel has favourable online reviews ask callers to check out what previous guests think about the property
Follow up: Keeping record of caller's phone numbers is very important for closing the sale.
About Taoufik Haraketi
Taoufik Haraketi is a room reservations manager and blogger heavily involved in Hotel rooms revenue management and hotel online marketing. He holds a BBA Hotel & International tourism management from the American University of London. He is currently employed as a reservation manager at Caribbean World Hotels and Resorts in Tunisia.