As a hotelier, it’s hard to ignore the meteoric rise of the sharing-economy.
Industry leaders like AirBNB offer a tempting proposition: “comforts of home”, and a more intimate, local experience. Travelers are being lured away from hotels and resorts by this seemingly attractive combination of benefits.
The sharing-economy is self-service, and plenty of people (especially millennials) obviously enjoy this kind of vacation. While it’s nice to become immersed in a local environment, it can be a lot of work compared to the ease and safety of staying in a well-run hotel, and eat up valuable time for relaxation. And isn’t that the reason for a vacation?
In addition to providing great food and enticing activities, by offering superb service hotels can remind guests how convenient it is to stay in a hotel rather than to adjust to the uneven and unpredictable lodging provided by AirBNB. Service is the reason a guest will stay in a hotel rather than in someone’s spare room, and this should be promoted during the first contact a guest has with a hotel. This is where a good voice reservations team really comes into its own.
In the hands of a good reservations specialist, guests feel instantly welcome. They can be assured that all their cares and concerns will be taken care of, helping them to look forward to a calming, comfortable stay. Importantly, a customer’s specific needs can be learned to enable the hotel to personalize their entire experience.
A reservations specialist can tactfully draw out the benefits a hotel has over sharing-economy accommodations: the hotel’s well-trained staff, and added perks such as in-room dining and discounts on organized tours and concierge services. The agent can discover how to help plan a more rewarding getaway for the client.
During that first call, guests can be reminded of the main benefit that hotels will always be able to leverage over sharing-economy accommodations: great customer service. More than ever, it’s essential that this message be broadcast cleared and consistently.
About the author
John Smallwood is the CEO of Travel Outlook Premium Reservations Call Center. Travel Outlook is a custom off-site central reservations office (CRO) service that serves as either a primary or overflow reservations department for four and five star independent hotels. John created the Travel Outlook concept in 2006, after more than twenty years’ experience in owning hotels and hospitality management. Smallwood earned a BBA from New Mexico State University and before starting in the hospitality industry, he worked with AT&T.