28 Mar 2017
8 Great Ways to Motivate Your Reservation Agents
You can implement an endless number of strategies and tactics to bring more people to your property this year, but what you really need above all is a winning team of reservation agents. If you want to boost profits and land more reservations than ever before, the agents you hire and manage need to be happy, well-trained, and above all, extremely motivated.
Unfortunately, keeping employees happy and eager to succeed in their roles isn’t always easy—what motivates one person on your team may not always motivate another.
As a manager, it’s your job to put a plan in place that caters to everyone. To keep all of your agents motivated, competitive, effective, and happy in their roles, consider incorporating one or all of the following 8 tips when building a working plan for your team:
1. Create Team Contests
One of the most effective ways to motivate your agents to drive more bookings is by launching team-wide contests. It’s one of the most widely used tactics sales managers and directors use across almost every industry in business. Why? Because people are naturally competitive. No one wants to be in last place, and everyone wants to be in first. Creating a team contest is an easy and fun way to pull the existing competitive nature out of your employees and make the team more successful as a whole.
The primary purpose of the contest is push your team to work harder than they normally would to get results and exceed their booking goals, but contests can also be a great way to boost team morale and culture.
Not sure what kind of contests to launch to motivate your reservation agents? Here are a few ideas:
- Contest Idea #1: Top Agent of the Month – This contest idea is fairly straightforward: each month, publicly recognize and reward your top agent for their hard work. The prizes that you give to your top agent each month are completely up to you, but could include things like a desireable parking spot, an Amazon gift card, an extra day off, plane tickets, or something specific that the individual who wins has expressed interest in.
- Contest Idea #2: Monthly Raffle Prizes – Throughout the month, offer raffle tickets for different actions or sales goals that you set for your team. At the end of the month, let everyone on your team pick from a pool of prizes using their tickets. The more tickets an individual has, the bigger prize they can redeem.
- Contest Idea #3: Cold, Hard Cash – If you really want to drive more activity during a specific month, keep things really simple by offering a big cash bonus to the person who closes the most bookings, closes the biggest deal, or makes your property the most money.
- Contest #4: Team Prize – Build team morale by offering a big reward or incentive in exchange for your team as a whole meeting specific booking numbers that you set at the beginning of each month.
- Contest #5: Biggest Fish Landed – Make a list of your dream customers or guests and send it to all your reservation agents. Attach a big prize or reward for whoever can close the deal. Make the prize big—really big— in order to really motivate your agents.
Not every contest you launch will be a home run for your employees, and that’s perfectly fine. Test a wide variety of contests to see what motivates your team the most. Once you find one that works, work it into your schedule throughout the year, and make small changes to it in order to keep your team interested and engaged.
2. Give Them Access to Tools
To keep your reservation agents focused on closing deals, provide them with technology that helps them streamline communication and boost personal productivity. Here are some tools that you can offer to help your reservation agents focus less on tedious tasks and more on selling:
- Slack: Slack is a real-time messaging tool that your agents can use to communicate with each other. Slack eliminates the need for agents to have conversations with each other in-person or over email, which allows everyone to keep the focus on communicating with leads and driving bookings.
- TRACK: TRACK is a leading cloud SaaS solution for hospitality properties. TRACK provides your agents with powerful call center, sales, and marketing CRM. With TRACK, you can streamline and optimize communication with leads, record and listen to agent calls, and send automated and customized email drips to prospects.
- Evernote: Evernote is a cloud-based note-taking app. Your agents can use Evernote to write, organize, and store personal notes, reminders, and to-do lists relating to their job. Once content is created by your agents in Evernote, it syncs automatically across all their devices and is accessible from anywhere.
- LastPass: LastPass is a password manager tool that saves passwords, generates random passwords, and auto-fills forms at login. Your agents can use it to save time when accessing the websites and tools they need on a daily basis in order to perform their job.
- Flow: Flow is a project management and task management app for teams. Your agents can use it to communicate and collaborate with each other when working together on team projects or bigger accounts that require more than one agent to manage.
These are only a few recommendations of tools you could offer to your agents, but there are hundreds more to find and consider! To find tools that could help your team, do two things: First, observe the daily behavior of your agents and try to uncover problem areas. Second, ask your agents what kind of tools they think they need in order to be more productive and motivated in their roles. From there, do a quick Google search to find the right tool for the problem you’re trying to solve or the area you’d like to optimize.
By giving your agents access to tools like these, you’re not only able to help them focus more on bookings, you’re also able to boost employee happiness and loyalty.
3. Focus on Actions, Not Just Results
Another way to motivate your reservation agents is to encourage them to focus on setting goals based on specific actions, as opposed to setting goals based solely on month-end results.
In other words, in addition to setting daily, weekly, and monthly booking quotas for your agents, you should also be helping them set goals around specific actions that they take—such as how many leads they communicate with, how many phone conversations they have, how many emails they send, and so on.
Lee Black expertly explains the value of this idea in a blog post about motivating sales teams written for Pipedrive. He writes, “Focusing on sales results alone can be stressful, especially considering that as a salesperson or sales manager, you can influence yet never control results. You can control the inputs that have the highest positive effects on achieving your goals — your activities.”
To help your agents keep track of progress on key actions throughout the month, use the reporting features available in TRACK.
4. Celebrate Wins, Big and Small
In the same vein as focusing on actions in addition to results, you should also be helping your agents celebrate the small wins along with the big ones. As a manager, you should obviously be praising employees when they hit or exceed monthly quotas and close specific deals, but you can also help them celebrate things like:
- Increasing the amount of actions taken in a week (shows efficiency)
- Finally getting a call or meeting set up with an elusive big prospect (shows persistence)
- Hitting specific milestones, such as one-year employment anniversary (shows loyalty)
- Improving their conversion percentage over time (shows work ethic)
When you take the time to personally show your agents appreciation for their hard work and dedication AND reference specific examples that you observed as their manager, they become much more likely to want to work hard for you and your property.
5. Get Personal
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to keep in mind that people aren’t all motivated by the same things. One of your agents could be motivated by monetary bonuses and perks, but another could respond better to individual praise and feedback. It’s your job as a manager to find out what motivates each of your agents.
The easiest way to do it is to ask each of your agents. If you haven’t already, take the time to get to know your employees on a more personal level. Try to understand some of the following:
- What are their personal and professional goals?
- What are motivated by specifically? (money, praise, growth opportunity, perks, etc.)
- What do they like to to do in their free time? (hobbies and interests)
- What tools and resources do they personally need in order to be successful in their role?
- What do they need from you as their manager in order to be successful in their role?
By working to collect answers to these questions for each of your agents, you’ll not only be able to better understand how to motivate each of them as individuals, but you’ll also show your employees that you actually care about them as human beings. By showing you care, you’re again able to positively impact the overall happiness and loyalty of your employees.
6. Plan Team Outings
To keep morale high, try to plan regular outings and events for your team to attend. The purpose of these outings should be to celebrate wins, show your appreciation as their manager, and help them get to know each other better. It’s really just a time for your team to unwind and have fun—no strings attached. That means no agenda, no surprise training sessions, and minimal ‘work’ talk if possible. Outings can be scheduled on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on your budget.
Not sure what to do for a team outing? A good place to start is by asking your team what they’d be interested in doing together, but if you want to come with ideas, here are a few to consider:
- An offsite team lunch, paid for by the company
- An offsite Happy Hour at a local restaurant
- An organized team-building activity, like going through an Escape Room, playing paintball, or hosting a board games event after work
- Attending a sporting event or a local festival as a team
- Going with your entire team and their significant others to a city like Las Vegas for an all-expenses paid weekend trip
The point with these team outings isn’t to spend money—it’s to show your employees that you care, and to convince them to keep working hard for you.
7. Give Helpful Feedback
Another great way to keep your agents motivated is by taking the time to meet with them 1-on-1 to give specific and helpful feedback on how they can improve and succeed in their roles. As a manager, it’s important to develop a genuine connection and bond with your employees—one that shows them that you care about their personal success and career growth.
For tips on how to give better feedback to your employees, read these blog posts:
- 9 Ways to Give Effective Employee Feedback from 15Five
- 6 Guidelines For Giving Powerful Employee Feedback from Fast Company
- 8 Detailed Examples Of Giving Employee Feedback from Officevibe
When your employees feel like you care about them and their success, AND when they understand exactly what they need to do in order to be more successful, they’ll be much more motivated to work hard to achieve and exceed the goals you set together with them.
8. Offer Growth and Training Opportunities
A final way to motivate your agents is to present them with clear growth and training opportunities as often as possible. As a manager, you want to make sure that your employees are engaged in their roles. That means pushing them to constantly learn from you and other successful agents on your team, and it means putting a plan in place with them that helps them understand what they’re working for and toward.
For example, can you put together a specific timeline that helps them understand what they need to do in order to get a new title, more responsibilities, or increased pay? If the answer is yes, then your employees will always be motivated to work for you.
To encourage your reservation agents to continue learning and adding to their skillsets while working for you, present them with opportunities to attend conferences, give them time to watch relevant webinars from time to time, and bring in speakers who can help personally train them on how to be more effective in their roles.
Over to You
What else have you been doing lately to motivate your team? Tell us in the comments below.
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