BITAC Tech & Operations 2014, May 4-6 at The Peabody Memphis: The NAVIS buzz was all about “Reach-ing” out to transient travelers. Hoteliers said there’s a need for marketing that drives more transient business. They were pleased to hear about the NAVIS Reach solution. Reach accesses more of your real-time data to create automated, one-to-one e-marketing that engages transient (and all other) guests. NAVIS Reach response rates are typically three times the industry average. Do you want similarly stellar results from your reservation agents? Read on to discover how to motivate for excellence.
Every coach knows that skill is only one part of a winning equation.
So far we’ve discussed how to train your reservation agents in the best practices for call conversion success. Now, your team needs the inspiration to apply those skills on every call. It’s well worth the effort:
Did you know that a reservation agent can produce as much as 85-90% of the room revenue that a group sales manager does? And at a fraction of the cost! This is especially true at independent properties.
With that statistic in mind, here are some proven ideas from NAVIS on how to spur your team to succeed on every call:
Step #1: A Staff with the Right Stuff
Remember, the primary skill set for an effective reservation sales agent is not customer service. You want agents who are eager to be groomed as sales people.
Step #2: Behavior Incentives
Reservation agents can’t wish a potential guest into making a reservation, but they can take actions that will make a call conversion more likely. Train your team like athletes on these behaviors (see The Seven Non-Negotiables and The Big Three).
Step #3: Conversion-Based Incentives
Once reservation agents have adopted best practices, you will want to create incentives for the behavior you want to see:
- Create short-term incentives that feel achievable. A good rule of thumb for reservation agents is monthly incentives spiced up with weekly contests.
- Set individual incentives based on each agent’s progress. Set a team incentive for the group. For example, you may decide that your team must hit a 50% conversion rate to win the team bonus. You’ll be surprised how quickly your reservation agents become invested in each other’s success. They’ll often share strategies on how to handle calls.
- Set conversion-based incentives rather than revenue-based incentives. A conversion focus encourages agents to value every call and work to meet the potential guests’ needs in order to focus on converting each reservation inquiry.
- Set incentives for your reservation managers as well. Base the incentives on behaviors such as call scoring and coaching sessions.
Motivation: Where Skill Meets Inspiration
Performance motivation works best when you frequently change it up to keep your reservation team interested and inspired. Here are some guidelines:
- Monetary bonuses are an obvious–and greatly appreciated–way to motivate your reservation team. Bonuses need not bust your budget. Calculate the increased revenue from higher conversions and pay out bonuses as a percentage of that increase.
- A whiteboard on the wall of the reservation office works wonders. Post everyone’s conversion rate each morning. Sales types are notoriously competitive and want to see their name at the top of the scoreboard. Believe it or not, public recognition is secondary to cash!
- Contest-type “Spiffs” should be matched to the agents’ interests. Award free golf games to the golfers, wine for the connoisseurs, etc.
- Gamification is another fun and effective motivator. If, for example, the incentive is to up-sell secondary or ancillary services, the agent with the most bookings could spin a “carnival wheel” for a prize. Or the winner might pull from a hat for a surprise that ranges from a coffee shop gift card to an electronics store shopping spree.
Incentives and motivation require calculations based on reliable, objective data. You need good numbers for fair scoring. NAVIS’ Reservation Sales System and the new NAVIS Reach products create the hospitality industry’s most robust and most complete solution to optimize your sales and marketing, backed by our Client Advocate Consulting Team. We help you inspire your reservation agents to capture bookings that drive your leisure revenue.
If you’re as serious as we are about your bottom line, join us in Los Angeles, June 23-26, for HITEC 2014, Booth #1329. Look for the flags flying high at our booth. We are starting a “REVENUETION”–a revenue revolution—to fight for every revenue opportunity from your voice and data channels. Join The Revenuetion!
And check this space next month where we’ll discuss a brand new outlook that will significantly boost your revenue. Do you worry about guest loyalty? What about your loyalty to your guests? Find out how NAVIS Reach creates one-to-one marketing to drive your revenue one happy guest at a time!
Hope to see you in sunny California,
Michelle Marquis, NAVIS VP Marketing and Strategic Initiatives
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