The conversations that today’s reservations sales agents are having with callers have certainly changed significantly over the years as guests have so much more information prior to dialing our 800-number’s. Yet the comment we hear today just as often as back when I took reservations calls myself is: “I’ll have to check with my spouse and get back with you.” Of course most callers are a bit more specific such as saying “I need to check with my wife.” Now as happily married man I have to admit this carries some credibility, yet when I hear female callers say “I have to check with my husband,” based on my life experiences, I find that much harder to believe!
This famous statement is most often spoken in response to a reservation agent’s pro-active attempt to secure the sale. Some callers use different versions such as: “I need to book my flights first” or “I need to make sure my vacation dates are approved” or another old one we used to hear which is “I don’t have my credit card with me.”
Some guests will be honest and say what they are all actually saying: “Okay, thanks. I’m going to do some more checking…”
Too many reservations agents simply give up the fight for the sale at this point and proceed to wrap up the conversation. Sales superstars know that this is the caller’s polite way of essentially saying they are not yet convinced.
In truth, some do indeed still need to check with others — especially those who are traveling with larger parties where multiple decision makers are involved. What I love about the Track Pulse system is that it makes it easy for you to turn that inquiry into a lead by offering to send a follow-up email and to trace them for a follow-up.
Even better, try to overcome their resistance by creating urgency and removing barriers to booking now.
Create urgency with comments such as:
- “Availability is limited” or
- “We have a limited number of that type of room/that view” or
- “The rate could change, that promotion is based on availability…”
Remove barriers with comments such as the following. (Use the ones that best fit your deposit and cancellation restrictions.)
- “Why don’t you let me lock this in for you now? We don’t actually charge the card this far out. That way you will have X number of days to call me back after you check with your spouse?”
- “The good news is that I can lock this in for you now with a one night’s deposit. If plans change or fall through you can always call back to cancel…”
- “Let me place this on a courtesy hold for you for 48 hours. I’ll send you a quick follow-up email shortly and then check back with you. What’s the best email to reach you?”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, be sure to speak extra slowly when explaining these concepts. For one, understand that this can be confusing and uncomfortable for some callers. Many people feel for some reason that when they book a room, they are crossing a point of no return. Secondly, understand that you are trying to change someone’s decision! You need to give them time to contemplate what you are saying. If you just gush out the above statements in rapid fire, they caller will not even listen and just give you another no. So slow it down at this phase of the conversation.
By making the extra effort, you’ll be helping convince more guests to stay with you, therefore ensuring job security for all of your co-workers in operations. You’ll also be extending a courtesy for the caller, who might otherwise wait too long and call back only to find that nothing is available or that rates have changed.