Reservation Skills

Reservation Sales Agents Sales Process Overview

The following is an overview of the Reservation Sales Process and tips on how to do a WOW job when taking a reservation.

Telephone Etiquette

  • Use the customer’s name several times throughout the conversation.
  • Always be conscious of using a very friendly and professional telephone voice.
  • Smile when you are talking……it will help convey a friendly demeanor.
  • If you are rushed or overly busy, don’t allow these feeling to show through in your tone of voice.
  • Don’t use slang or phrase your questions in incomplete sentences. This conveys an abrupt demeanor.
Abrupt
More Professional and Friendly
Last name? May I have your last name?
First name? What is the first name on the reservation?
City? And may I have your city?

 

  • You can learn a lot from observation. Call other reservation departments and observe the right and wrong style of speaking.
  • Always ask the person if they mind holding, and wait for their response!
  • If you can’t help a client in a timely manner, if possible, offer to call them back rather than asking them to make additional calls or hold for a lengthy period of time.

Know Your Marketplace

  • Know the competition as they are today so you can sell against them effectively!
  • Develop a list of strengths and weaknesses of each of your competitors. Then determine strategies on how you would sell against them.
  • Shop your competition regularly on their rates so you are aware of how you are positioned in the market place and so you are aware of current market conditions.
  • Maintain records of your competitive shopping results so you have something to refer to when making rate strategy decisions and when training your new hires.
  • Obtain month-end and year-to-date occupancy trends on your competition. If possible, also maintain ADR trends. Calculate the Market Share, Penetration, and Revpar figures and evaluate them monthly.  Review the results of the latest STAR report if your hotel participates.
  • Make sure everyone who handles reservations is aware of who their competitors are, the rates they are quoting, and the market conditions. This will give them confidence in selling and dealing with price resistance.

Greeting

  • Convey a smile in your greeting!
  • Be aware of your tone of voice.
  • Don’t rush the greeting, ensure your customer can understand it.

Qualifying

  • Obtain your hotel’s list of standard questions and information that you need to obtain when taking a reservation so you can be sure to meet your hotel’s individual expectations.
  • Don’t use fragmented sentences such as: “Last name”, “First name”, “Zip?”. This can come across as abrupt and as unfriendly.
  • If time permits, ask a few additional questions to learn a little more about your customer so you are better able to present your pricing and availability. For example, “What brings you to the area?”  or….   “Are you traveling on business, pleasure or with a group?”
  • Use the knowledge you uncovered when qualifying to better present your hotel’s pricing.

Presenting

  • Take time to find out what type of guest you are dealing with. This will help determine how you will quote pricing.
  • Find out if the customer has stayed with you before. This helps clue you in as to whether you need to present the hotel at all before presenting the rate. If they’ve stayed with you before, welcome them back. This provides a nice customer service touch.
  • Develop a list of Features and Benefits on each of your guest rooms as well as about your hotel. This helps prepare you to better present the hotel’s Features and Benefits before quoting rate.
  • Incorporate some of your hotel’s Features and Benefits into your statement when presenting your room rates. This helps “sell” the customer before they hear the price.
  • Keep in mind when presenting Features and Benefits what is important to the guest you are speaking with. Match the feature and benefit to the type of customer. They will be more likely to pay attention to what you are selling.
  • Develop a “cheat sheet” of Features and Benefits and post near your desk to refer to when speaking with clients.
  • Be enthusiastic when presenting your Features and Benefits and room rates. This helps you be effective in convincing your customer to buy at the original rate quoted.
  • Present the Features and Benefits before you quote pricing and attempt to close.
  • Role play to develop your skills of “selling” your rates and hotel, versus “telling” about your rates and hotel. The more you practice, the more effective you are with your real customers.

Handling Objections

  • Always display empathy and a desire for the business. This will help make the customer more receptive to your response.
  • When time allows, incorporate into your response to the objection your hotel’s unique Features and Benefits to try and sell the client on the value they are receiving.
  • After you respond to an objection on pricing, always attempt a second close.
  • Role Play to become comfortable and skilled at overcoming objections on price. If you can role play flawlessly, you will do a great job with real clients.
  • Have confidence your product is worth the price you are quoting.  Without it, you cannot sell as well.
  • Use Fallback Rates sparingly. Ideally, only use them when you have already attempted to sell the client on the original rate quoted.  This way you won’t leave money on the table needlessly.
  • Use Fallback Rates when you know that the demand is not high enough on the dates of the inquiry to ensure a sell-out with higher rates.
  • Maintain rate integrity by giving a plausible reason for lowering or maintaining the rate. For example, AAA rate, Special Promotion, Different Roomtype or location.  This way you will maintain your customer’s trust.
  • Take time to develop strategies and scripts for your hotel on how Fallback Rates are used and how they are quoted.  This will help you utilize the rates in an effective manner.
  • Make sure everyone is selling Fallback Rates consistently in the same manner.

Upselling

  • Know your product well, so you can be effective at upselling. This can be a great way to generate additional revenues for your hotel.
  • Develop a list of options that you can use to upsell and post it so it is visible.
  • Attempt to upsell as often as possible…… It never hurts to ask!
  • Establish goals for upselling. If tangible, you will be more likely to meet the goal.
  • Place your goals in writing. Create as a group and share with everyone so everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  • Monitor the results of your goals regularly………..so you don’t lose motivation.
  • Recognize results achieved!
  • Have confidence and enthusiasm when selling your product.
  • Have fun in using your excellent selling skills to increase revenues!

Closing

  • Always ask for the business after you have presented the rate.
  • If you have to quote a second rate option, ask for the business a second time to drive for the sale.
  • Clearly communicate cancellation policies and guarantee policies so the customer is not caught unaware of these policies.
  • Reiterate the key details of the reservation back to the client so you can ensure all details are accurate.
  • Offer additional assistance. This will help convey a customer service oriented demeanor.
  • Thank the customer before ending the call. This concludes the call in a professional and friendly manner to provide a positive impression.

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