Creating a Seamless Customer Experience For Your Web Site and Call Center

By Cid Jenkins Vice President, ATG's eStara | January 27, 2012

Consumers are consistently turning to the Internet to book their travel accommodations, so now more than ever it is critical to create a seamless experience for them. Over the years, the Web has grown to be one of the greatest resources for travelers looking to compare options, explore potential destinations and research accommodations. Yet because booking on the Web is so easy and there are so many competitive sites available, hotels and resorts must ensure their Web sites provide customers with a memorable experience not only to gain their business, but also to keep them coming back for more.

According to a study from Forrester Research, over 80 percent of respondents say that improving the usability, usefulness and 'enjoyability' of the online experience is more important in 2008 than in years past - proof that the time is now to invest in the Web. Advancements in technology have paved the path for hotels to improve the way they interact with customers across multiple touch points to create consistent and relevant customer experiences. A major opportunity that has yet to reach its full potential in the hospitality industry is the ability to strategically include click to call capabilities on Web pages, tying the internet to the call center.

Call centers are often operated by hotels or outsourced to another separate company to handle incoming support or information inquiries from consumers. There are many reasons why hotels need call centers, including helping with inquiries that arise from customers browsing the company's Web site and experiencing the following:

  • they are confused about availability for a particular date
  • unsure of the rates during a season
  • curious about the quickest method to book their trip
  • hesitant about their next step
  • need assistance to book their trip
  • additional options for assistance should they have trouble booking online

The common tie

More and more hotels are implementing new technology such as click-to-call, when they are in need. Click to call helps tie the Web site and call center together and give customers a seamless booking experience. Click to call lets users click an HTML button embedded on a Web site, e-mail, banner ad, search engine or online directory listing, and immediately launch an automated call between the consumer and the contact center.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.