In March 2020, the travel industry effectively hit pause in response to the Covid-19 pandemic spreading quickly across the globe. After a brief hibernation that may have felt like an eternity to travelers and those in the travel industry, travel is back on track.
As normal slowly starts to appear on the horizon, many around the world are eager to get back out on the road. Domestic travel has already seen substantial growth since travel restrictions began relaxing in the late months of 2020, and as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues international travel is sure to follow. In fact, many travelers have already begun planning for the second half of 2021, the beginning of 2022, and beyond.
As hoteliers, there are certain measured steps you can take to anticipate the inevitable uptick in calls and resulting travel boom. Continue reading for some insights on how to handle the inevitable spike in summer travel, and beyond.
Understanding the surge
To most in the travel industry, the increase in tourism were—without a doubt—expected once the vaccine rollout began. To fully prepare for travel’s big return, one must understand the causes and motivations behind the sudden wave of new calls and bookings.
Travelers will check off big-ticket items on their bucket lists in 2021 and 2022.
For over a year, solo travelers, families, couples, and friends have been kept at home, unable to experience the richness of travel. As more intrinsic and monetary value is placed on experiences, travel is now seen as an essential commodity, and consumers will likely want to make up for the lost time by traveling even more than normal in 2021 and 2022.
Dissecting the trends
Travelers are eager to check off big-ticket items on their bucket lists, so we can expect to see a sharp uptick in luxury travel once vaccine rollout is complete and borders fully open.
According to TripAdvisor, 47% of travelers surveyed globally are planning to travel internationally in 2021, with 45% of US travelers planning to participate in international travel this year. After a year locked inside, it’s easy to justify big spending on travel, and that’s exactly what’s happening.
For example, Oceana’s famed Around the World for 2023 Cruise sold out in a matter of hours. In addition, 2021 and 2022 will continue the exponential growth of domestic travel that began in the later months of last year.
Divide and conquer
With the expected return of travel on the way, phones in reservation departments all over the world will begin ringing non-stop. So, how do you prepare for the upcoming travel and call rises?
With such a sharp expansion in business after a relatively dormant period, hoteliers will have to decide where to focus their attention. In some cases—especially where staff levels are low—they will be forced to choose between focusing on making future reservations and answering calls or paying attention to current guests.
A big issue for many hotels that are starting to reopen is having enough on-property staff to field incoming calls. A lot of hotels still have employees on furlough, and many have sadly had to let people go. In these situations, a limited number of front desk agents are being asked to attend to a queue of guests and answer booking inquiries over the phone. This is a serious burden that needs a viable solution.
Rather than sacrificing your guests’ experience, outsource your reservation department to an independent hospitality call center with expertly trained agents that will maximize your reservations and upsell clients on the unique features of your property.
Trust the experts
A trained call center with agents who know the inner workings of your business will not only help you deal with the amplified call volume and free up your staff to focus on your guest, but it will also increase your total reservations.
A properly trained call center agent will convert calls to reservations through their in-depth knowledge of your current offerings. Well-trained hospitality call center agents speak the language of hotels, and they know exactly how to sell a property’s unique benefits and features.
As you prepare for our new normal to begin to look a little bit like the old normal, make sure your hotel is well-positioned for the incoming influx of calls and guests in 2021 and 2022. A professionally trained hospitality call center will help your hotel deal with the steady increase of calls and travelers during the upcoming travel season.
John Smallwood is CEO of Travel Outlook Premium Reservations Call Center. In addition to the unique use of world-class call center technology, Travel Outlook is the only call center certified by Kennedy Training Network, the hotel industry’s best source for sales training and guest service excellence. Its luxury call team is tested by Forbes and Kennedy each month. Travel Outlook’s clients include many of the world’s finest hotels and resorts.
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