Hospitality CTOs and IT decision-makers are trying to navigate a perfect storm when supporting a superior customer experience. Travel volume and lodging requests are exploding to record levels. This year, hotel room demand is forecasted to exceed 2019, even as many hoteliers are operating with smaller workforces due to the unprecedented staffing shortages across all customer touchpoints.
As a result of this rampant increase in consumer demand and expectations, hospitality businesses are increasingly turning to customer engagement technology and data analytics to enhance the customer experience and deliver business efficiencies amid these challenging circumstances.
The Impact of Robocalls
While digital transformation isn’t historically associated with the voice channel, hospitality brands are looking for innovative solutions to address a very real problem: customers have lost trust in voice calls and getting them to answer the phone is exceedingly difficult.
TNS data shows that 70% of Americans never answer calls from unknown numbers. Many are also wary of suspicious robotexts. That’s because the onslaught of scams from robocall/robotext bad actors continues.
Americans received billions of unwanted robocalls in 2022. For hospitality brands, this has made it difficult to reach consumers with essential reservation and travel updates, while negatively affecting the bottom line as call agents become less productive when it takes several calls to reach travelers with sales and upgrade offers.
The Hospitality Industry is in Search of a Solution
Improving customer engagement rates is critical for most businesses, but especially important for the hospitality industry as its businesses rely heavily on the voice channel to reach customers with both timely and important information regarding upcoming stays or to alert them to upgrade opportunities and services they may be interested in.
For the CTO/CIO, the goal of supporting the digital transformation of the omni-channel experience must include the voice channel. And key to doing so is to evaluate branded calling technology.
Branded calling, as a concept, is not new. But over the past few years, it has evolved dramatically for enterprises to utilize. It helps to restore trust in voice calls by delivering brand information content on an incoming call screen so consumers can identify who is calling.
For hospitality technology leaders, branded calling can deliver several capabilities that improve internal efficiencies and external customer-facing operations:
Improved call agent productivity
With branded calling solutions, call agents can reach customers in fewer attempts and therefore are able to make more calls throughout a business day – improving their productivity and efficiency.
Our data also shows there is significant customer demand for this solution as well: 61% would answer a call from hospitality/travel brands if the brand logo/name was displayed on their incoming call screen. In particular, 69% of 25 to 44-year-olds said they would answer those calls. As business leaders seek ways to improve their efficiency and profitability, branded calling offers enterprises in ‘high-touch industries’ like hospitality a competitive advantage in their market.
Converts brand tech to brand trust
For hospitality leaders, robocall scams used by bad actors can erode brand trust. Branded calling solutions that are equipped with call authentication technology help address this challenge as consumers can trust that it is a legitimate organization (and not bad actors) trying to reach them when they see a verified brand on an incoming call screen.
Higher customer engagement rates facilitate an improved lead-generation process
Branded calling technologies help businesses convert warm leads that originate through other channels such as the web, email, and social media. With more brand information on the incoming call screen, the consumer will connect the call to earlier touch points and be likelier to answer the phone.
While it’s common for hospitality industry customers to interact with businesses’ other channels to gather initial information on travel reservations, the voice channel is still critical for closing sales.
In the hospitality industry, branded calling solutions are being deployed to verify reservations, upsell lodging options, communicate promotions, as well as respond to customer inquiries and complaints.
This technology offers hospitality leaders a solution that helps boost call agent productivity, drives more revenue to the company’s bottom line and smooths the lead-generation process. As hospitality businesses focus on operating - and thriving - in a climate of lean staffing, lofty customer expectations and unprecedented brand risk, technologies that strengthen every touch point are critical to improving business efficiency.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shelley Dunagan joined TNS in 2022 as Senior Director of Enterprise Branded Calling for its Communications Market business. In this role, she oversees TNS’ branded calling solution working closely with enterprises to restore trust in voice calling, increase answer rates and improve customer engagement.
A dynamic leader with a proven track record of creating performance driven sales teams, Shelley has worked in technology sales for nearly 30 years. She was previously ranked the number one Sales Director globally in 2009 and 2010 for Siemens for her work increasing revenue in Software Sales.
Prior to joining TNS, Shelley was Vice President of Sales for UFP Technologies and Head of Sales for Contact Solutions. Most recently, she was Principal at The Dunagan Group where she built high-performing sales teams and developed channel ecosystems to create incremental sales and service revenue.
Shelley has a Bachelor of Science in Business from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego. When not at TNS, she enjoys traveling, boating with the sharks and whales in New England and supporting the Buffalo Bills. Shelley also volunteers as a basketball coach for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).