As everyone who fields reservations inquiries knows all too well, most callers have already been online prior to calling. They have visited the hotel website, viewed images, seen the cool new drone video, read reviews, and searched rates. Yet there’s still something that has prevented them from booking online just yet and some missing factor that has motivated them to call. That’s why these days we need to ask more and better questions, as we have explored previously in other posts, with the most important question being to ask them if they have questions! “As I’m checking those dates, are there any questions I can ask you such as about our location or amenities?”
In this month’s blog we explore what today’s reservations sales agents need to be saying in response to the questions callers ask, such as for specifics on the views, locations, activities, resort facilities, and of course the room types and suites. In responding, we as an industry need to up our game at selling the experiences!
In the past, we all trained reservations agents to “paint the picture” in the mind of the caller. These days, given that callers have already seen a multitude of images, we have a new role which is to use a story telling approach to narrate the pictures they have already viewed. To narrate is to evoke mental imagery in the minds callers, and to do so we need to use words and phrases that allure and entice, rather than listing, informing, and notifying.
This definition of “Allure” says it best: Allure: To attract by appealing to emotional desires. Certainly, conveying enthusiasm and energy in one’s tone of voice is helpful and important, as words alone will otherwise ring hollow. However, to really up your game at selling experiences and therefore convince more callers to book directly, it’s also important to use visually and emotionally descriptive language.
Our KTN Reservations Coaches spend countless hours each month listening to recordings of our mystery shopping calls, and for clients who have made the wise investment in TRACK Pulse, get to listen to recordings of real-world calls as part of our third-party call assessment services. Too often we hear reservations agents simply list-out features as if they are reading from a fact sheet or using a script. “We have, we offer, we have, we offer…”
Other reservations agents attempt to allure, but too many are limited to over-using generic sounding “comfort” words as if by default. “Beautiful, nice, great, beautiful, nice, great, beautiful, nice, great.” To up your game at selling the experience, it just takes a little extra effort to expand your working vocabulary of visually and emotionally descriptive words and phrases that convey the unique experiences that attract your guests.
Here are some train-the-trainer tips:
- Print out pages from your resort’s website and marketing collateral and share copies with your team at a reservations sales meeting. Provide them with highlighters to use to identify words and phrases they can imagine using in real conversations.
- Similarly, read local tourism websites, press releases, and articles by travel writers.
- As you listen to the agents in your office, identify and make a list of comfort words the team is over-using. Then at a meeting, visit www.thesaurus.com, enter the over-used words, and look at the list of alternatives that come up, again identifying those the team thinks they can use daily.
With a bit of effort and practice, you will be able to up your game at moving beyond crutch words and expanding your vocabulary of words to sell the experience. This is yet another tool in the toolbox to help convince callers that this is the best resort to visit and now is the best time to book!