The antidote to LEAD FATIGUE
Today’s salespeople contend with tech-savvy customers who have done research, often on multiple platforms. Enquiries flooding in from these various touch points can be overwhelming and lead to LEAD FATIGUE. So, how do you combat the wave of unfulfilled enquiries generated by guests & booking agents shopping around through various portals? The answer in this case is opposite to the source – where tech leads have resulted in the situation, a friendly, human voice can be the antidote.
Humans sell rooms. And it’s not a new concept.
Successful reservation sales agents need to be able to ‘close from the start’ and this begins with a good first impression – it is not an action performed at the end of a conversation. A genuine connection and understanding of what your potential guest is looking for can set the tone for a successful sale.
Of course there are sales techniques, which can encourage a potential guest to commit to a booking – statements such as:
“Which of those options can I secure for you?”
“Do you wish for me to send you an email confirmation?”
However we pride ourselves on authenticity and never losing focus on the human element – and in an ever more tech world – there is great value to be placed on maintaining the warmth of a genuine interaction.
- Try and respond to enquiries personally (telephonically or email) whenever possible. Avoid generic auto responders.
- Respond promptly—within hours to each enquiry.
- Reply to all enquiries, even if your hotel is sold out or if the rate they are seeking is far below your range. Create the relationship for future bookings
- If you need more time to put an accurate costing together- let your enquirer know – make contact with them and begin the relationship.
- Respond by telephone if you can, instead of just emailing back or responding online. Even a polite and personalized voicemail makes an impression.
- Personalize email correspondence rather than sending out generic cut and paste responses and forms. Greet the sender by their full name and paraphrase and confirm key details from their original enquiry.
- Send selected relevant photos and menus, activity sheets- send all the information they may require in order to make their selection.
- Include your picture and Skype address on your email auto-signature; encourage video calling.
- Offer to host an online meeting to review the proposal and explore their needs. In doing so, use your webcam; offer live virtual tours.
Make their experience with you as professional, memorable and human as possible.
Use a positive opening greeting delivered with authenticity. Make the caller feel like you genuinely are happy to hear from them and that you are ready to assist.
Let the caller speak first, listen to their requirements (jot down some key points) then ask for and use their name conversationally. Determine whether the caller has stayed previously, and if they haven’t then describe the hotel experience using emotive descriptive language, rather than listing available features
Most potential guests have researched extensively online, start by asking the right questions instead of regurgitating a memorised list of facilities.
“While I check availability for you, Can I answer any questions on our facilities, what is it that you are especially looking for?”
Ensure you maintain a personal tone by focusing the offering “especially for” the guest.
“You can make use of our swimming pool” instead of “We have a swimming pool”
“You are welcome to enjoy breakfast in your room” instead of “We have room service”
Ask for the booking:
Don’t be shy to ask.
“A new study analysed real calls from real hotel prospects to find out what specific actions, words, and tactics increased the likelihood of the caller committing to a hotel reservation. The study found that guest service agents only asked for the sale 52% of the time; call centres ask even less frequently at just 42%.”
“The simple act of offering to secure the reservation made the caller 4.4 times more likely to book the reservation. Put another way, that means the hotel or call centre has a 440% greater chance to get the sale if the agent just asks.”
“What else can we do to secure the booking for you?”
“Is there something else you’re looking for that I’ve not mentioned yet?”
“Can I secure this accommodation for you while it is still available so we can host your visit?”
“May we confirm those vacation plans for you?”
As we continue to embrace the convenience and profitability of online systems, OTAs and specialist booking portals, it’s important to remember that professional, friendly, human interaction is still your secret weapon in building and nurturing sale leads for not only current, but future bookings too. Investing in your sales staff and equipping them with the information and confidence to be the best representatives of your business is a wise choice for combating lead fatigue, and building a business based on profitable relationships.