George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.” The rise of digital/mobile means of research and booking has spiked an exponential growth in written and visual communications—and with it an increased likelihood that the communication isn’t really taking place, that it’s missing the mark.
Many hotels have perceived travelers’ embrace of online research/booking as a shift away from voice (phone). However, a dive into the revenue potential of OTA, phone, and website bookings demonstrates lucrative reasons to encourage the voice (phone) channel rather than focus entirely on the web.
A review of NAVIS hotel and resort clients shows that on average phone reservations result in 27% higher ADR than OTA reservations and a 37.8% increase in total guest spend over OTAs. When compared with bookings on Brand.com, phone reservations still outpace with 5.3% higher ADR and 8.6% more revenue.
When these guests become repeat visitors, they become even more lucrative. Not only do repeat guests have a greater tendency than first-time guests to book via phone (approximately 44% of new guest acquisition is via phone, compared with 64% of repeat guest acquisition), repeat guests spend more than first-time guests. A new guest via phone averages $925.96 in room and ancillary revenue while a repeat guest averages $1,196.68. This is a 25.5% increase in revenue for future visits.
Part and parcel to this increased spend is the ability to form a relationship with the guest. Creating profitable repeat guests hinges on creating positive relationships, and this begins with the guest experience launched by reservations agents. The potential to increase the lifetime value of a guest is exponentially higher when the guest has a personal connection to the property.
Drive the Voice Channel
75% (or more) of marketing budgets have been dedicated to Brand.com bookings in recent years. The voice channel is often perceived as the back up. Marketing tactics should include strategies to drive the direct voice channel. Mobile click-to-call and click-to-chat offers opportunities to drive calls where experienced agents can sell the experience, increasing ADR and ancillary revenue.
Market to Profitable Guests
Technology such as Narrowcast and Reach track essential guest data, such as spend per channel, behaviors, and preferences, and can be utilized to outreach to the most profitable guests at the most profitable times of the year.
After hours and overflow calls account for as much as 24% of missed calls, that’s lucrative business ending up at the competitor’s property. Ensure the phones are being answered at all times, whether in-house or with an overflow service.