Training Your Reservations Team Is Crucial

By Allie Hembree Martin

Consumers have more than enough properties to choose from – so why should they choose yours? I spoke with Hutchinson Consulting Partner Carol Stratford on three steps that properties can take to increase sales by focusing on the reservation sales team.

Stratford shared a recent experience she had working with an exclusive resort in Hawaii. The property re-opened after extensive renovations, including enhanced recreational offerings. The reservations offices were relocated, and new sales agents hired.  But even though the property felt like new and the re-launch generated lots of positive PR buzz, the conversion rate was extremely low.

“I visited the property to understand the unique selling points and the customer base. Simultaneously, we gave each of the agents a personality test to find out their sales style,” Stratford says.

From those tests, she was able to identify the group’s top sales personalities and create a sales-pro profile. The resort continues to use this profile to identify talented future salespeople in their on-going hiring process.

Based on Stratford’s findings and expertise, a completely new call flow was designed to better showcase the resort’s unique qualities.  Onsite training consisting of script overview, role-playing, listening to test calls, and on-floor evaluations cemented the use of the new flow at the call center.  On top of that, a new, ongoing incentive program further motivates the sales agents to convert calls.

From this case study, Stratford summarizes the three areas you need to focus on within your own resort:

1.      Unique Selling Points. Identify what sets your resort/wellness center apart from all the other facilities. A value proposition is a statement of how your product will benefit your customer. It clearly defines what you will do for your ideal customer and why you’re better than your competitors. You need to make sure your team members communicate this to your guests early in the call flow

2.      Evaluate your current staff. Make it clear to your staff that they are ambassadors for the property, and their objective is to sell. There may be team members who are simply in the wrong role. Use some of the existing tests to see who your true sales leaders are.

3.      Incentive to Sell. The reservations team should be excited to participate in training.  To further excite and motivate the team, make sure you have an incentive plan in place. Make sure it is easy to understand and easy to communicate with the team.

Prior to Hutchinson’s involvement with the re-launched resort mentioned, the call conversion rate was 19 percent. In the two-month period after, the call conversion increased to an average of 39 percent.  After continued training and monthly call testing, the new conversion rate is consistently more than 45 percent for the past year.

What steps could Hutchinson help you take next to raise the conversion rate of your reservation team?

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