Shifting focus to the most profitable channel
Capturing market share, revenue and driving personal service means shifting strategies to emphasize the most profitable reservations; these are direct (phone) and personal. The direct channel costs 10-15 times less than OTAs and 4-10 times less than GDS travel agents.
Unfortunately, most properties are not maximizing this channel, only converting an average 30-40% of calls. That means there is a lot more revenue potential available for properties who leverage this opportunity.
The online channel and the voice channel should work in tandem. The path to purchase flows from devices to voice, from voice to devices—sometimes multiple times depending on whether the reservation is complicated or of unique importance. A recent Google study reports that among travelers;
– 52% will call a hotel directly from a search to make a reservation
– 50% will call to inquire about promotions, incentives or deals
– 49% will call to ask about or compare pricing
Rather than declining in importance, voice conversions are increasingly critical in this new travel-purchasing model. While the voice channel relies on people, ideally a savvy reservations sales team, conversion rates can be substantially improved if this team has the assistance of the right technology.
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