The hospitality business is one of the most customer-facing industries. Each establishment’s reputation is often based on how well it treats guests. However, a hotel’s performance is only as good as its customer reviews. This is why most hotel management operations try to focus their efforts on continually improving the customer experience. As a result, many inadvertently pay less attention to their back-office operations. This can lead to bigger problems down the road, such as front-end workers losing out on the critical back-end support they need to accomplish their regular tasks. If this situation spirals out of control, hotel management will spend more time putting out fires than making gains.
Fortunately, outsourcing certain functions can help companies keep their eyes on the prize. Partnering with the right outsourcing provider can provide much-needed help in managing back-end operations. In doing so, hotel management can spend more time and resources meeting customer needs.
Outsourcing provides a host of benefits for hospitality companies. They include the following advantages:
Outsourcing Helps Improve the Hotel Guest Experience
Outsourcing helps relieve the pressure placed on hotel management and prevents the company from spreading itself too thin. Getting outside help allows for more time and resources spent providing customers with a great hotel experience. Outsourcing can ease areas like booking, reservations, and customer support. This will start a chain reaction that can eventually end with favorable hotel reviews.
Today’s Consumers Like Doing Their Own Research
Today’s consumers are more inclined to look up their preferred destinations. They diligently search the internet to check for the best prices and availability. This reveals a lot about these future hotel guests. First, they are always looking for the best value, even when going on vacation. This is evidenced by the fact that they spend time looking for the best deals they can find.
Today’s consumers are using this research period to set their expectations. The information they gain from web reviews, customer inquiries, and even testimonials from friends and peers can play a big role in their eventual purchase decision. Even before they set foot at your hotel, many already know what to ask for and who to look for. Consequently, any experiences that do not meet their expectations can result in an unfavorable review.
Outsourcing Can Start the Customer Experience On the Right Foot
Finding the right outsourcing partner to handle customer inquiries, bookings, and reservations can make a world of difference. The experience when calling your customer service number can determine whether they will make a reservation or continue looking for better deals elsewhere.
Friendly customer service agents are the best way to start the customer experience. If customers call your inquiry hotline, it’s best to make the wait time as quick and efficient as possible. If they talk to a friendly, enthusiastic agent, the deal is likely done. Callers who have a great customer experience are more likely to book a reservation. In contrast, customers placed on hold for tens of minutes are less likely to be pleased. By the time they get the information they were looking for, the deal is off.
Choosing an outsourcing partner that’s well-versed in providing information and taking reservations is always the correct call. Their expertise allows them to focus on providing the right answers to even the wrong questions. They also have plenty of experience when it comes to handling calls, including setting standards for response time and customer satisfaction. They also know how to keep customers engaged all the way up to the day of their arrival. For example, the customer service team can send confirmation emails and thoughtful reminders on behalf of the hotel management.
Once callers are satisfied with their customer experience, they often assume that if they received very good service during the call, they can safely expect a similar (if not better) service once they get to your hotel.
Outsourcing Streamlines Finance and Operational Costs
The great thing about outsourcing is that it can provide expert assistance in back-end operations while keeping costs down. Getting an offshore company to help out with back-office operations can save a company up to 70% in labor costs. Imagine generating this substantial amount of profit and utilizing it to further grow your business!
Operators Are Standing By
For an example of how outsourcing can help your business, let’s look at customer service. Outsourcing can provide you with a customer service team that’s ready to receive inquiries from day one. Instead of spending the first few months working on the hiring process and setting up an office, you can simply hire a service company to handle it all. Once you sign an agreement with a reputable outsourcing company, all you will need to do is onboard the team with your specific requirements.
In comparison, assembling your own customer service team will require a significant investment of manpower and resources. The space alone needed for a full team will likely take up a big chunk of your office space as well as your budget. Then, you’ll have to shell out the money needed for proper equipment: a complete call system, dedicated lines and servers, PCs, and more.
Continuous Training Will Cost You
Apart from the financial outlay, you’ll also need to devote enough time to training in-house workers for the entire back-office process. New training requirements are also bound to surface every now and then. Each time new systems or upgrades come out, you’ll be on the hook to train your in-house team. This can eat up a sizable chunk of your training and technology budgets every year.
Meanwhile, outsourcing centers will keep their pool of workers continually updated on the best practices for your company. These firms are established experts in customer service and technical support, so it’s in their best interest to stay up-to-date with the latest industry technologies. As a result, they are more equipped to provide their teams with cutting-edge tools and technologies to make them ready for any new assignments.
Outsourcing Maintains 24/7 Hotel Management Operations
Round-the-clock operations are a difficult feat to pull off even in the absence of back-end operations. Maintaining a 24/7 presence will entail a significant rise in payroll and operating expenses. Additional shifts mean increased workloads for supervisors and managers, who are likely to demand better compensation in exchange. HR will also run into difficulties as they scramble to fill shifts when workers fail to show up.
All in all, companies should have a good reason to run 24/7 operations before they actually do so. More importantly, they should make sure the increase in revenues will justify and offset the increase in operational costs.
Hotel Management and Customer Service Often Require 24/7 Availability
Unlike most offices, hotel management and operations require some staff presence even during the wee hours of the morning. A front desk operating 24 hours is standard for hotels. However, it’s usually not the same for kitchens, housekeeping, and even customer service.
Unfortunately, customer needs don’t work on a set time schedule. Depending on the size of the hotel, there will always be guests with specific requirements at odd times. Add the possibility of any emergency happening at the most inconvenient time and you’ll see why it makes sense to have on-duty officers available at all times.
Similarly, guests can benefit from the 24/7 availability of a hotel’s customer service and support system. For one, customers hailing from different time zones will appreciate having an agent to talk to when making inquiries or booking a stay. In the highly competitive tourism and hospitality markets, having 24/7 availability is a definite advantage over those whose operation hours only cover eight hours a day. In addition, having 24-hour customer support provides relief for the front desk staff who need to prioritize the hotel’s current guests.
24/7 Omnichannel Availability Is Even Better
Adding an omnichannel service to your hospitality system provides customers with an additional way to communicate with a company representative. Today’s generation of digital-savvy travelers prefers having email, text, chat, and voice support for their concerns available at all times.
Providing these omnichannel services requires a bit of expertise. After all, customers prefer not to repeat information they previously gave during an earlier conversation on a different channel. A true omnichannel experience is one that lets a customer’s information follow them across various channels. As such, hotels that employ an outsourcing company with experience in omnichannel support will have a definite advantage over hotels with a single channel and fixed support hours.
Other Processes Hotel Management Can Outsource
While ideal, it usually doesn’t pay to offer continuous, 24/7 support. Instead, it’s best to limit this offering to processes that can benefit customers the most. Aside from customer service, there are other departments that can operate 24/7 and still provide the best returns on reservations, data gathering, and market research.
Booking and Reservations
In particular, international hotels can benefit from operating a 24/7 booking and reservations desk. Customers who use this service are often those hailing from other countries, looking for a good deal for their planned stay. Having someone to talk to during their waking hours can help them decide to book their stay at your hotel. This availability can boost a traveler’s trust in the hotel itself. If your staff can cheerfully respond to a caller half a world away, they sure can meet their needs when they arrive at their destination.
It’s not just booking reservations that benefit from round-the-clock support. Cancellations are very time-sensitive events that require immediate resolution. Having 24/7 availability for customer support can make the difference between a canceled reservation and one that was successfully rescheduled. Blaming forfeited reservations on a difference in time zones can leave a bad taste in the mouth of seasoned travelers. This can lead to poor customer reviews and condemnation from other travelers. This is a preventable circumstance that likely won’t happen to hotels offering 24/7 customer support.
Data Gathering and Market Research
Learning from customer support interactions with prospective clients can provide a potential gold mine of information. This data can help shape an organization’s future strategies if harnessed correctly. In addition, insights collected from actual guests can also help set a company’s direction.
Collecting this information and then sending the data to analytics is a continuous and repetitive task that can benefit from outsourcing. When an outsourced market research team performs this service rather than in-house employees, this option can be much cheaper.
Look for the Perfect BPO Partner
It’s vital for hospitality industry members to maintain an active customer support line 24/7. This gives customers the much-needed venue for booking or canceling reservations, upgrading purchased services, and filing concerns. Making the service 24/7 recognizes all clients, even those from other countries. It also assures the public that the company remains committed to providing customers with the channels they need to directly contact representatives with their concerns.
For your hospitality outsourcing needs, consider Helpware. As a fully-digital service outsourcing company, they provide agile and cost-effective staffing to companies in need of assistance.
Helpware can help keep your company’s background operations running while you focus on growing your business. Chat with us soon so we can learn more about your company and your particular needs and requirements.