Smart, hands-on leaders in the digital marketing space these days clearly recognize the interplay between voice and online channels.  Yet when I read articles and blog posts from esteemed publications, I get the impression that too many still believe that “voice” is a separate and “dying” distribution channel.  The stereotype seems to be that the only people who call are 80 year old grandmothers who don’t know how to work a computer. First of all, this is an insult to the octogenarians like my wonderful, tech-savvy Aunt Teeda who is as active on social media as most twenty-somethings and who can hunt down a digital bargain with the tenacity of a bloodhound.

Secondly, this clearly shows that those who believe this stereotype don’t take enough time to speak with their voice reservations agents.  Each month I conduct on-site training workshops at four to six hotels, resorts or call centers and can tell you the participants I speak with bust this stereotype immediately.  

For anecdotal evidence, just take a moment to ask your own in-house reservations agents these questions:

  • How often do you hear callers open conversations with some version of “Hi, I’m looking at your website right now and I have a question…”?
  • How many times each day to you see a reservation come through the website channel and right away you know it was someone you just spoke with, based on the dates requested, room type booked and/or name?
  • How frequently do you hear questions that start with this:  “Hello, I just booked online and I wanted to make sure…”?

For actual proof, just randomly select 15 or 20 online bookings, find the phone number, and then cross reference that with your telephone records from your 800 long distance provider or your call tracking system.  

Here are some training and marketing tips for those who recognize the interplay between voice and website:

  • Post your phone number prominently on your website to make it easy to find on both the desktop and mobile versions.
  • Encourage web-surfing prospects to call instead of clicking elsewhere or booking you through an OTA by adding copy such as: “Call now to reach our in-house, on-site experts…”
  • Likewise, make it easy for prospects to inquire via email if they desire to do so.
  • Keep your reservations agents updated on the latest special offers, packages and promotions before they go live online.
  • Before you make your next website updates, ask the reservations team to list off the most common questions they are receiving in order to post the information or to make it more prominent.  

Doug Kennedy

November 21, 2018

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