Most hoteliers these days seem well aware of the importance of managing their online reputations by monitoring social media postings and online guest reviews. However many are neglecting the reputations they are making every day based on their agents performance on their “voice” channels.By Doug Kennedy
Although it can be argued that many more people will read an online review or social media message, those who make the effort to call the hotel directly either already are “customers” or are “hot prospects” seeking to become one.
Perhaps this lack of focus on telephone hospitality represents the hotel industry’s overall bias towards electronic distribution channels at the expense of neglecting traditional channels for guest communications and sales. Yet if you take time to notice, the phones are still ringing daily at hotel front desks, sales and reservations offices.
It is true that the phone does not ring as often. Those who used to call their family, friends or colleagues on their guest room phones now reach them directly on mobile devices. Vendors and suppliers now send emails versus calling, as do many meeting planners, and of course many guests do book online.
However if you take time to listen-in to real calls these days you will find that those who are still calling represent the hottest prospects; they are potential guests who have tried to book online but got hung up in the system. Or they are prospects with special needs and requests. Or they are prospective guests who have read media reports that the best rates are to be had by calling directly. Or perhaps they are among those who have read the “poor” and “terrible” guest reviews that even the top-rated hotels have a few of and who need some reassurance.
If the caller is already a guest, they might be calling for directions because their GPS got them lost, or to maybe because they left an important item in the room at departure. More often than not the phone calls from confirmed or in-house guests are less routine and of a more urgent nature.