Savvy Hotel Marketers View Front Desk as a Distribution Channel

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Savvy Hotel Marketers View Front Desk as a Distribution Channel
  Savvy hotel marketers view front desk as a distribution channel  As revenue managers work diligently these days to try to maximize  profts during the economic recovery, there seems to be a disproportionate amount o eorts ocused on the electronic distribution channels. Yet there is still another distribution channel which is ar too oten overlooked the hotel ront desk. At most properties the front desk team faces a myriad of other opportunities to increase sales and optimize prots every day. Depending on factors such as your property’s destination, location, brand, and market segment, here are some situations your front desk salespeople might encounter daily, alongwith corresponding training techniques for review at your net departmental meeting.! Capturing more walk-in business.   reate a positive rst impression by initiating contact and welcoming the guest when they enter the lobby. #atherthan quoting only the lowest rate and sending them back out to the car to make an $either!or% decision, instead create a $which should & chose'% decision!making scenario by o(ering two or three room types and)or rate options. #eiterate benets* embellish descriptions of features that appear to be especially relevant to the walk!in party. +(er to show a room where operationally feasible.! Securing “move-overs” from disgruntled guests currently staying at other hotels in the area . otels located in dense markets might encounter $move!over% opportunities when guests of nearby properties stop by to inquire. -rain your team to present your hotel’s unique advantages and to avoid negative remarks about the competition. #ather than saying what the other hotel’s shortcomings, focus on the advantages your property has too(er $/hat’s unique about us is0.%! Upselling eectively during registration . /ith so many guests booking either online or via third parties, the registration process might represent the best time of all to up!sell to higher!rated accommodations. After reassuring the guest that the option they booked is still a good choice, gauge the  guest’s interest with questions like $Did your travel agent have a chance to mention our concierge 1oor'% or $Are you familiar with our suites at all'% 2resent the upgraded options as being a unique opportunity $/e’ve had some of our eecutive king rooms open up this evening0% 2ersonalize the benets $As a guest on level you would receive full access to0% onsider displaying a slide show of pictures of upgraded accommodations on an &!2ad placed at the front desk.! Securing return reservations at departure . Although many guests use epress check!out, plenty of others still stop by to pick!up their zero!balance receipt. 3ake sure guests, especially corporate and business clientele, are o(ered the opportunity to rebook for their net trip upon departure. 4ou’ll notonly be ensuring that your guests aren’t tempted to check!out the competition, but you’ll also potentially be eliminating distribution costs such as travel agency commissions and #5 fees, while along the way showing guests that you value their future business.! aintaining rate “!ences” and eliminating #ate Slippage from guests who re-negotiate during registration$ while in-house$ or during check-out . 3any of today’s savvy guests make it a standard practice to try to re!negotiate their rates upon arrival and)or during their stay.3ake sure your front desk sales team is aware that most are 6ust double!checking to make sure they have the best o(er available. &t is often helpful togently remind them of the terms)conditions of their o(er versus the lower!rate they are seeking $-he advance purchase rate would have required full payment upon the time of booking, and unlike your reservation would not have been eligible for change or cancellation.% &t might also be appropriate tomention rate!tiers that are even higher than what they have committed to $7ust to let you know the normal 8standard9 rate on this room is usually :;;<;;, so the :;;4;; rate you have conrmed is still a good value.%! Using “Channel Conversion %echni&ues”  to convert calls from $rate double!checkers% who have visited online travel agencies. 3any hotel prospects call directly to the front desk to make sure the rates they are seeing online are the best available. /ith most companies practicing rate  parity across all distribution channels, more often than not the rate is in fact the same either way. 3ake sure your front desk team o(ers to secure the reservation for the caller right here, right now, versus directing them to book online after they hang up. =ot only will you ensure that guests aren’t lured away by other online o(ers, but you’ll potentially be signicantly cutting distribution costs, +-A commissions, and even #5 fees.! Capitali'ing on after-hours leads for group and catering sales.  /ith the >?)@)BC work schedule many of us lead these days, it is not uncommon for the planners of business meetings and social events to place their initial call or walk!in inquiry after business hours or on weekends when the sales department is closed. -rain your front desk team to properly eld these calls by epressing interest, o(ering to answer any initial, basic questions and by o(ering the option of leaving a paper message versus a blind transfer into the sales department’s voicemail. or walk!in inquires, make sure your front desk team is prepared with sales kits, brochures, and business cards of the sales director. 3ost importantly, make sure that everyone knows what not to say $4ou’ll have to try tomorrow between Eam and Cpm when the sales department is open.%! (iscovering leads for new local corporate accounts from current in-house guests . Fspecially for hotels located in or near corporate oGce parks,industrial complees, and city!center locations, it is not unusual for guests to return monthly or even weekly. +ver time the front desk team gets to know and recognize these guests. -rain your team to pay close attention to the names of the companies your guests work for and to be on the lookout for those representing new corporations and organizations. Hy probing further tond out more about these guests and their companies, it is often possible to uncover leads for the local)corporate business.Hy epanding your front desk training to address these sales and prot optimization opportunities, you will ensure that your team capitalizes on eachand every chance to secure additional business and to maimize the margins.
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