Sincerely, BLLA

Why Boutique Hotels Can’t Afford to Ignore Voice Channels

Outsourcing your hotel’s call center might be your next best decision For boutique hotels, it’s personalization of service that matters the most. I...

Outsourcing your hotel’s call center might be your next best decision

For boutique hotels, it’s personalization of service that matters the most. In a bid to distinguish yourself from the larger chains, boutique hoteliers need to ensure the experiences they offer are unique and tailored to their guest’s needs.

All Hands On Deck

At the center of providing an individual experience is to ensure that your staff are best able to cater to your guests. Your staff should be focused on providing a one-of-a-kind service that your guest will not forget. This goes double during lean times when occupancy across your hotel is low.

As COVID-19 continues to affect travel bookings, it is now more important than ever to make sure your staff are completely focused on the needs of your guests. With the addition of more protocols to ensure that guests and hotel staff minimize the risk of further spread of COVID-19, your employees have their hands full as it is.

Which is why more boutique hoteliers are outsourcing their call center requirements to make sure they can maximize bookings over the phone while the front desk staff get to focus 100% on the needs of on-property guests.

A hotel reservations office can face distinct challenges, especially during a pandemic. For one, the difficulty of social distancing within an in-house reservations center will be one few hotels can overcome. As the number of cases grow over seasonal periods, this difficulty may also require some hotels to be understaffed. Amidst major layoffs in the hotel industry since March, employees will also have greater confidence in their jobs knowing that voice channels are being handled safely by way of an outsourced call center.

Moreover, it may also be unrealistic for hotels to have their employees work from home. With growing technology restraints and training challenges in situations few hotels have prepared for, the problem of ensuring that workers are adequately equipped to work from home is a bridge too far for many hoteliers.

“Many hotels have been turning to outsourcing their voice channels to ensure that employees won’t have to sustain these challenges. What these hotels find is that it’s important that the call center reflects the boutique hotel’s unique brand standards. The fact that outsourcing a call center may be a less expensive option than setting up your own doesn’t hurt either!”

John Smallwood, CEO of Travel Outlook

Getting the Most from Your Voice Channel

As the travel industry tries to recuperate from some of the catastrophic losses of the last eight months, any loss of business can be especially tough on the smaller boutique hotels. On the other hand, the crisis does have a silver lining with at least one study predicting that the “Boutique Hotel industry is anticipated to experience revenue growth over the next five years.” 

So, it makes sense that your guest’s first introduction to your hotel ends in a confirmed booking. For boutique hotels, this means focusing on the conversation and making sure that voice channels–by way of a highly trained call center agent–can personalize bookings for your guests.

But do voice channels matter all that much? With the right call center, your guests can also be made aware of your hotel’s unique benefits or offers. Using an outsourced call-center can also allow you to tailor your travel experiences to the individual customer.

Call center agents are specifically trained to speak the language of hotels, and they know exactly how to sell a property’s unique benefits and features.

In a recent survey only 7% of hotel call agents were found to have mentioned that the hotel offered complimentary breakfast or had a convenient location. This can make it or break it for some guests when booking a room at your hotel.

“Asking discovery questions is extremely important because they help an agent learn more about the caller, make personalized recommendations, and ultimately drive the booking.”

Doug Kennedy, President of Kennedy Training Network

Voice Channels Breed Customer Loyalty

In addition to making first-time bookings for your boutique hotel, voice channels can also establish an all-important sense of belonging and lead to longer-term customer loyalty. In a world of chatbots, people prefer the personal touch of human voices, and this personalization can complement the tailored experiences you offer your guests.

In a recent interview with BLLA, David Assef, MD of Australian luxury boutique Spicer’s Retreats, highlighted this appeal of belonging to a brand and how it can lead to repeat customers. “[The guests] are looking for familiarity when they stay; they’re looking for personalization. They like to be remembered.” From freeing up the needs of your staff to personalize their service to your guests, to ensuring that your guests come back for more, outsourcing your call center needs just might be the best decision your boutique hotel makes.         

Written by the CEO of BLLA Member, Travel Outlook Premium Call Center

In addition to the unique use of world-class call center technology, Travel Outlook is the only call center certified by Kennedy Training Network, the hotel industry’s best source for sales training and guest service excellence. Its luxury call team is tested by Forbes and Kennedy each month. Travel Outlook’s clients include many of the world’s finest hotels and resorts.

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