Booking Process Analysis: Do you Know Where Your Bookings Are?
By Mike Kistner President, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board, Pegasus Solutions | March 06, 2011
I recently presented the "Q&A Worth Distributing" session at HEDNA's Winter Conference with John Burns, president of Hospitality Technology Consulting. In a single discussion about distribution, we not only agreed that the voice reservations channel was not dead, but also laughed that there may be an opportunity to sell rooms for mobile through iTunes since the payment mechanism already exists.
Simultaneously, we're seeing reports of consumers fleeing the online booking process for the security of their travel agent, while monthly data from Pegasus shows revenue through the leisure channel setting records from growth over 2009.
In this schizophrenic booking environment, it's more important than ever to analyze your booking process to understand where your reservations are coming from, and where opportunities to generate more business exist.
Give Voice a Voice
In 2009, various industry reports stated voice reservations were the source of anywhere from 22% to 33% of business for major hotel brands. Additionally, a June 2010 PhoCusWright report cited the "need for personal service" as the number one reason for travelers to book leisure travel offline. While emerging channels like mobile often capture the headlines and our imagination, we can't forget those that built our industry and remain the go-to for a sizable buying audience.
Bookings coming through the voice channel should account for the geographic markets targeted and served by a hotel, and should place a premium on customer service to put the discerning voice caller at ease. Content for voice, such as correct phone numbers, should be consistent and available 24-7 with the capability to manage overflow. Additionally, the voice channel, which allows use of traditional sales tactics through personal connection, can be integrated with the hotel site through use of "Push to Talk" icons to allow site browsers wanting that "personal service" to speak with a live reservation agent.