Attaining Extreme Efficiency in the Group Business

By Greg Pesik President and CEO, Passkey International | February 22, 2009

In light of today's economic uncertainty, hotels now more than ever need to make sure that they are operating as efficiently as possible, taking advantage of the latest technologies to get there. The question really boils down to, how can you do more with less, how can you generate more revenue and save costs, even in a downturn?

Driving Reservations Online

The reality is that some attendees are still accustomed to making their hotel reservations the old way - by calling the hotel directly. But recently, we have seen a significant push towards online reservations. That is becoming a mega trend, particularly as more and more Millennials or Generation Y (as they are called) are starting to move into the workforce and apply their habits.. what is ingrained in them.

With this new generation hitting the workforce and with people in general becoming increasingly more comfortable with conducting business online, offering online reservations across the board, from leisure to groups, is emerging as a standard business process and objective. Since everything is shifting in that direction, it only seems natural that group business and reservations should also follow this model.

In order to provide an unforgettable service, a hotel needs to understand and achieve all of the required elements. With the move to online reservations, a hotel can allow its meeting planners to offer a convenient and consistent booking experience for their attendees, which makes the hotel look first-class.

By shifting its group reservations online, a hotel stands to benefit in many ways, both in terms of providing superior service to its meeting planners and attendees, as well as generating incremental revenue and saving costs. Each meeting or event can have its own customized reservation website, including its own logos, text, pictures, etc., so attendees can enjoy the convenience of making their hotel reservations for the event anytime, online. In addition, the hotel can allow its planners to track their events online in real-time and receive automatic email updates. Planners gain many advantages from feeling in control of their event. The most significant being the ability to mitigate attrition costs without constantly calling the hotel for updates and reports.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.