Since Guest Services entered the lodging industry, our services have been continuously evolving to stay modern, fit the expanding needs of clients, and provide an outstanding guest experience. In the pursuit of offering our best possible product, we have recently optimized our strategies by adopting a central reservations system. This must-need tool in the industry will transform the way we operate.
Jennifer Miller, revenue manager, coordinated and continues to maintain the central reservations system’s implementation while overseeing its rapid development.
What is the central reservations call center system?
“The central reservations system is a new tool that the hospitality division and marketing team utilize to make the reservation process more fluid, to require less on-site attention, to create more touchpoints for potential sales, and to boost the overall guest experience.”
How will this system help managers and team members?
“The idea originated during a discussion of methods to relieve pressure on front desks. When a sporadic influx or overwhelming rush of incoming calls would bombard team members, it would often cause their attention to be diverted from guests physically at their property. This could lead to very problematic customer service issues in addition to team member anxiety.
“Now, the listed phone numbers will direct guests to the call center, where we have a trained team to help callers book a reservation, but also to help guests with any issues they may have. This frees on-site team members and managers to tend to their daily responsibilities and tasks. We also have the opportunity to sell the caller on other packages or opportunities they might be interested in but know nothing about.”
Is this system available for all hospitality units?
“Currently, our system takes calls and chat requests for Bear Mountain Inn, Big Sur Lodge, The Lodge at Stehekin, The Lodge at Breckenridge, Flamingo at the Everglades, and the Lodge at Wakulla Springs. The ultimate goal is to expand this system to include as many properties as practically possible.”
Where is the call center?
“The call center is located in Naples, Florida, in the same office as Barry Trice and the hospitality division. We have five people in total: Heather Bye, the call center’s manager, and four full-time hourly employees all with varying responsibilities. They are on the phones for eight hours a day answering calls and online chats seven days a week. To combat time zone differences, the center’s hours are 8 am to 10 pm.”
How will this system change the guest experience?
“This is the new first line of direct contact with potential guests. Rather than having a desk clerk who may be rushed answering the phone while simultaneously attending to other tasks, a remote Guest Services representative will answer to help guests with whatever they need.
“The call center is also constantly being updated with the latest packages, discounts, or events so they can help guests find the best deal suited for them. It ensures that someone will be there to answer the phone, or answer their chat on the website with no potential reservations being missed.”
How is this an important development for Guest Services?
“It is another major part of the support structure we offer to our lodging properties and something that will boost our product for potential clients. When we do win more contracts, we will add more team members to the center to adapt to properties’ needs or make changes where necessary. The system is another gigantic step in the modernization of the organization.”
How successful has the system been so far?
“Since we opened on April 4th, 2017, we’ve booked $567,000 and answered 11,642 calls; both are tremendous numbers. Also, our current conversion rate is 66% which is much higher than industry standard.”
What does the future hold for the system? How will the system evolve and improve?
“As we introduce more properties, we will continue adding more team members and increasing our value with additional services. Facebook Messenger and follow-up emails are two tools that hold incredible opportunity and it’s something we are definitely interested in exploring. We’ve already started becoming an information source because of the large volume of calls for simple inquiries about the parks or lodges, which is something we will continue to build upon.”