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Hotel call center 101: Elevate the guest experience and drive direct bookings

Last Updated: January 17, 2024|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |9.2 min read|

Imagine a guest calling your hotel, resort, or casino. They desire instant connections, quick responses to their queries, and reservation information. To achieve this, you need a skilled team poised to promptly fulfill those needs.

A hotel call center introduces customers to your property. It’s the first impression that will set the tone for your guest experiences. That’s why it’s important to have an effective hotel call center that answers questions quickly, books reservations consistently, and resolves issues satisfactorily. Let’s explore the inner workings, top challenges, and invaluable tips for building a successful hotel call center that wins business and generates revenue.

What you will see here

What is a hotel call center?

A hotel call center is a centralized department that manages a constant flow of inbound and outbound customer calls for your hotel, resort, or casino. It’s a communication hub for guests and potential customers, providing assistance and information related to hotel services, amenities, room types, reservations, activities, and other topics. Hotel call centers also play a crucial role in sales conversion and optimizing voice channel revenue for a property – using data and personalization to impact customer engagement and loyalty.

Think of it as a team of dedicated experts that help maintain effective and efficient communication between your property and your customers, driving direct bookings and helping to ensure that each potential guest feels heard and valued.

How a hotel call center benefits your business

A hotel call center is a powerful tool that directly impacts guest satisfaction and your bottom line. This is particularly true when call center agents have access to guest profile data through your customer data platform (CDP). With this valuable information at hand, agents can personalize interactions, upsell and cross-sell services, and quickly manage any potential problems that arise – allowing you to cultivate lasting relationships. With an integrated CDP, agents can also help you better understand guest preferences and boost lucrative outbound sales efforts by gathering feedback from conversations and reducing missed opportunities.

How a hotel call center operates

At its core, a hotel call center functions as the hospitality command center for your hotel, resort, or casino – seamlessly connecting customers to your services 24/7. When a potential visitor calls, knowledgeable agents equipped with rich guest data greet them. Armed with insights from previous trips, preferences, and specific interests, agents can recommend a favored room type, suggest amenities based on past choices, and proactively address specific needs.

Furthemore, a hotel call center can become a direct booking powerhouse. Using a sophisticated blend of technology and human touch, agents can guide customers through the booking process, leveraging their interpersonal skills and guest information to customize packages that cater to visitors’ individual tastes. With the right data, agents can curate experiences for trips that not only increase revenue but foster a deeper connection with your guests, earning you repeat business.

Key considerations of a hotel call center

Implementing a hotel call center is a strategic move that hinges on different factors tailored to your property’s unique needs. In general, mid-size to larger properties find great value in implementing this resource. However, it’s not just about the size of your business; it’s also about the level of service you provide and your volume of guest interaction.

For example, if your resort caters to a diverse clientele – such as individual business travelers, families, and large conferences – each of these segments has different needs, preferences, and expectations. A call center equipped with professional staff and customer data can become a vital tool for making certain each visitor type receives a personalized and satisfying experience during their stay.

You also want to consider technology requirements. Because the right tech is the backbone of a successful hotel call center. You need a robust solution that empowers agents with a comprehensive view of guest preferences, past interactions, and booking history. Scalability is another important element of the tech solution you choose. As your business evolves and expands, your call center solution should effortlessly adapt to increased call volumes and changing needs, allowing you to deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

And last but definitely not least, because nearly 9 out of 10 people prefer speaking to a live customer service agent over navigating a phone menu, it’s important to hire skilled agents trained in guest engagement. You need to ensure a guest’s first contact with an agent is a winning experience – particularly when you consider that our research shows your voice channel drives up to 80% of your property’s revenue. Ultimately, it’s not just about having a hotel call center; it’s about leveraging it as a cornerstone of customer service and revenue generation.

In light of this, let’s now take a closer look at top challenges and tips for managing a successful hotel call center.

Top challenges for a hotel call center

Rising attrition rates

While contact centers have historically had 30% to 45% agent attrition rates, the post-pandemic “Great Resignation” trend has skyrocketed that rate to nearly 80%.

One of the reasons hoteliers are seeing this issue is the challenge of shifting to more hybrid and remote work situations for agents. Even more impactful, however, is the issue of burnout. Recent research from Call Centre Helper shows 72% of agents feel burnt out.

Lack of engagement among staff

It’s common for hotel call center agents to feel disconnected from the brand they work for, viewing themselves as mere order takers. With no real concept of how their work impacts the business or other hotel teams, it’s difficult for them to be engaged. In addition, management often lacks the ability to adequately coach or score calls for each agent, further exacerbating the problem.

Why is agent engagement important? According to Gallup research, engaged employees translate to a 10% increase in customer engagement and loyalty, plus a 23% increase in profitability.

No personalization — a common hotel call center issue

Oftentimes, hotel call center platforms don’t support seamless, personalized interactions. CCW Digital research shows only 6% of companies believe their contact center experience is fully personalized — and an overwhelming 86% recognize the need to improve.

But the biggest issue revolves around lack of data. The same CCW report indicates that two-thirds of companies acknowledge their agents can’t personalize conversations with customers, because they don’t have access to all the information they need.

Out-of-date tech negatively affects performance

When you use patched-up legacy systems instead of modern solutions, it negatively impacts agent performance and puts your business at a disadvantage.

CCW’s research shows that nearly 7 out of 10 agents feel that insufficient automation forces them to spend too much time on manual, low-value work. The same percentage of agents are frustrated with the need to move between multiple screens and systems to do their jobs. And many have difficulty accessing tools from remote locations using their own devices.

Luckily, there are solutions.

5 tips for managing a successful hotel call center

1. Implement call scoring in your hotel call center

Call scoring is a way to measure agent performance by evaluating how they interact with callers. With call scoring, you can create a set of non-negotiable KPIs to ensure agents maintain the highest call quality every time.

For example, you’ll want to ensure agents use the guest’s name, employ active listening techniques, adhere to your brand voice, ask open-ended questions, and hit the 5 “P’s”: polite, positive, professional, patient, and personalized.

With a voice channel solution that includes call-monitoring and recording technology, as well as analytics and reporting solutions, you can quickly address any weaknesses and track agent progress.

2. Develop a sales mindset among agents

To increase bookings and revenue, you need agents to not only convert inbound calls but also outbound calls. Developing a sales mindset among your agents by including proactive sales calls as part of their regular job duties can help.

If you’re leveraging advanced hotel call center technology, you can also track agent progress each day. Call conversion reports let agents see their call volume and how much revenue they’ve booked. This gives agents a sense of ownership. They see the fruits of their labor and understand how they personally contribute to company goals.

Need proof? Through the improved coaching and call scoring capabilities enabled by Revinate’s Reservation Sales solution, The Broadmoor reservation team increased outbound revenue by 98%.

3. Standardize note-taking

Our research shows that 64% of guests don’t book on the first call with an agent. That means there could be a second, third, or fourth call.

On follow-ups, you can increase personalized interactions (which guests love) — and eliminate callers repeating themselves (which guests hate) — with a solution that standardizes the way agents take notes during calls. You can ensure crucial contact information, timelines, and reasons for trips get recorded on that first call. You can also ensure agents record details that come up in conversations. This helps the next agent give tailored recommendations and further establish rapport during any follow-ups.

4. Adopt the right tech

When hotels use modern, cloud-based reservation technology, such as Revinate’s Reservation Sales, agents benefit from automation and streamlined operations. You can automate aspects of coaching and scoring, helping to improve agent performance and lowering call handle time.

And using a solution that integrates with your PMS, CRM, and/or CDP puts rich guest data at agents’ fingertips. This means they can comfortably welcome a returning guest and easily see what their preferences are. With the right technology, your agents will be happier, your customers will be happier, and you’ll successfully drive more bookings — boosting your bottom line.

5. Coach your hotel call center agents

With the right platform, you can more effectively coach agents. This eliminates a number of challenges for your hotel call center. You can easily track, tag, and locate recorded calls that provide ideal teachable moments.

You’ll also have instant access to a knowledge base that empowers agents to answer complex queries on the spot. And customized, real-time coaching allows new agents to achieve early wins, starting them on the path to success. Bottom line: Regular coaching increases agent engagement and productivity, reduces attrition, and improves the customer experience.

Help your reservations team make a 5-star impression

A good first impression is a catalyst for a lifetime relationship with a guest. A hotel call center is more than just a service – it’s a gateway for visitors to connect with your property, setting the stage for your reservation team to make a 5-star impression. By smoothly handling reservations, inquiries, and issues, it becomes the heartbeat of customer satisfaction for your hotel, resort, or casino. Challenges exist, but armed with the right technology and systems supporting your voice channel, you can drive inbound and outbound conversions, build guest loyalty, and optimize your workforce.

Ready to start making the most out of your voice channel? Learn more about our solution to see how it can help you increase bookings and revenue.

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