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CRO Voice Reservations vs. On Property

The CRO was able to demonstrate to the REIT, higher year-over-year conversion rates and guest check‐ins, as well as outperforming properties that were still handling calls at the property level.

MEASURED SUCCESS

Background.

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that offers a unique alternative to extended stay hotels and short-term housing in more than 130 locations across 21 states was reevaluating the interaction experience of guests and potential guests.

Call volume was routed to a property-specific, local telephone. With limited staffing at each property, the General Manger was tasked with handling all inbound phone calls regarding reservations, general inquiries, and requests for transfers to guest rooms, while at the same time juggling the operational responsibilities of a 120+ room property.

This call routing strategy had several pitfalls:

  • There was no information about call types, service levels, call volumes, call dispositions, call metrics, or abandoned calls.
  • Lack of information about the nature and consistency of branding during each guest interaction.
  • No ability to respond to inbound marketing campaigns
  • Arrival rates of guests with “reserved” rooms was less than 33%

 

Findings

When researching how the reservations calls were being handled at the properties, several opportunities were uncovered:

  • The quality of the on‐property reservations staff training varied widely across the company.
  • The property branding was delivered inconsistently.
  • Throughout the portfolio, the variety of outdated Private Branch Exchange (PBX), voicemail and calling systems had limitations in terms of feature set and capacity, and presented obstacles to standardization of the guest interaction experience.
  • As a result of limited staffing and phone coverage, callers were often forced to leave voicemails, or make several calls until they reached someone.
  • The REIT had no centralized reporting or visibility into call volume, service levels, conversion rates, quality of sales processes, abandon rates or call
    types and dispositions.
  • Quality Assurance on inbound calls was performed sporadically and subjectively. All calls were not recorded.
  • The National Reservations Toll Free Number was answered at a central location, but in many instances the Guest was required to leave a voicemail. A
    similar set of circumstances was in place for the National Customer Service line.
  •  The REIT was pursuing opportunities to create regional and local marketing efforts to increase Brand visibility, but was concerned about the properties’
    ability to handle the increased call volume.
  • While the General Managers attempted to multi-task, it was virtually impossible to effectively sell across the desk, manage operations and
    facilities, provide excellent customer service, and promptly and professionally answer inbound inquiries.

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