In the last year, many hotels took diminished capacity as an opportunity to renovate and upgrade their physical spaces. But, getting customers in the door is a journey that starts long before they step onto the newly stained wood floors and plush carpets in the lobby.
Are your leisure reservations looking a little threadbare?
Here’s some advice on how to upgrade customer support online and on the phone to make sure your posh velvet couches that convince customers to upgrade their rooms are on par with customer service that introduces them to amenities and offerings they didn’t know they wanted.
Use Search and Discovery to Promote Under-Adopted Amenities
Brands that upgraded their physical spaces or added amenities in the past year, now want to be able to promote those amenities to customers who are looking for a great leisure travel experience. Many brands could improve guest’s search experience online by understanding that a customer’s intent when searching for a “kid friendly” hotel could include amenities like free breakfast, a hotel pool, and free Wi-Fi. If your search experience is not set up to be able to understand the customer’s intent and the meaning behind their search, you might be leaving dollars (or reservations) on the table.
Along with taking advantage of the latest search technologies, you should also review your current filters and facets to make sure customers who do want a more advanced search experience can quickly find what they need, especially if you’ve updated these amenities in the past year! AirBNB does a great job of this, allowing consumers to quickly select what amenities are important or what type of property the consumer is looking for, whether it be pet friendly, or has breakfast available or an eat-in kitchen. Take a look at your current filters through the fresh perspective of leisure travelers. This is a great way to make sure you are promoting your property and services in the best light.
Reduce Friction in Booking
Another way to incorporate great customer service while adding to your average booking size is to understand your customer using the data and touchpoints you’ve had with them in the past to help assist them. Can you tell from past reservations that this customer always prefers to stay at a certain brand or chain? If an agent is helping that customer, they might suggest that brand based on their preference for it in the past. Or, let’s say the customer booked a stay and wants suggestions for nearby activities or restaurants—can you help facilitate that with a chatbot to easily pull up their reservation, determine what needs to be done, and then handoff the customer to an agent where appropriate while giving them the context of the conversation?
Another great source of content is to look at your own reviews for various products, amenities or services. What information can you pull out of your reviews to add to your suggestions and recommendations both in the search experience as well as when agents are interacting with customers? Using this data could be an important piece of the puzzle when powering recommendations, especially to customers with similar demographics or profiles.
Empower Support Agents with Ways to Upsell
Agents are an important line of defense to answer customers questions. Did you know they can also present great opportunities to upsell? The key is understanding a customer's unique needs and history well enough to upsell. Upselling done right helps the customer find more value than they were expecting, and can increase revenue by up to 30%, thereby improving customer retention and increasing customer lifetime value. Unfortunately, call center agents are not always equipped to perform support and upselling effectively. Training, scripts, and a standard customer profile are just not enough. Agents need deeper insights into the customer journey and access to information in real-time.
One great way to encourage agents to focus on opportunities to upsell or to find additional solutions to customer problems are to focus on this in your QA or scoring rubrics that you use to rate agent conversations. One organization I spoke to recently included this in their agent assessments and found that successful agents were able to add on additional services or product offerings based on their conversations with clients at a very high rate, which was a huge win for the organization. If agents know they are being scored on these metrics they will help you achieve them if they are given the opportunity to do so!