Like all hotel companies, Bartell Hotels was looking for ways to increase direct bookings as part of an overall strategy to reduce its distribution costs and to recapture market share from other channels such as OTA’s. As the owner and operator of 8 fine hotels in the San Diego area, Bartell maintains its own centralized reservations call center to provide the personalized service and local area knowledge that today’s callers are seeking.
In early 2015, Bartell Hotels contracted with KTN to provide its Hotel Reservations QUEST training and mystery shopping program for the reservations team at its call center and also implemented the best practices KTN recommended, such as implementing new “by agent” sales metric reporting and updating its staff recognition and incentive contests.
“We were super excited to onboard Bartell Hotels last year,” said KTN President Doug Kennedy. “They were clearly among the enlightened hoteliers who recognize just how important the voice channel still is as a tool for capturing more direct bookings.”
Bartell Hotels engaged KTN for one of its Ongoing Training Programs that involves three customized, on-site training interventions over a 12 month period along with monthly mystery shopping support. “We really like that Doug Kennedy personally presents all of the KTN workshops and coaching sessions,” said Bob Hilborn, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Bayside where the reservations office is located, “…and especially that Doug personally reviews and comments on all of the performance metric reports he recommended each month to reinforce the training.”
Shannon Pavich, Director of Central Reservations said “KTN has improved the quality of our calls in our call center. Their mystery shoppers are wonderful and are nearly impossible to detect, unlike what we found from dealing with other companies where our agents always seemed to know when it was a shopping call. Before KTN some of my agents would go months without getting shopped and now each agent gets feedback each and every month.”
“The results speak for themselves,” according to Sergio Davies, General Manager of the Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn and Suites. “For example, as compared to the first 4 months of last year, in 2016 our call volume went down by 10%, while our total revenue sold actually increased significantly by 5.6%. This is because our agents’ call conversion was up 4.8 percentage points, (a 17.7% increase) and also because our ADR increased by $2.13 per room night sold by our call center.”
“Our training alone cannot cause this type of change,” said Doug Kennedy, “But when nested into the right corporate culture where leaders are open to new ideas and ready to reinforce, it definitely always makes a difference.” Kennedy says that many hotel companies believe that voice is an unimportant distribution channel and they fail to see the huge opportunity for channel conversion of online shoppers into direct bookers. “Bartell Hotels was different. They recognized right away that our new QUEST program gives agents the tools they need to convert someone who has already seen the rates, viewed pictures and probably also read reviews,” he said. “Rather than using a scripted approach to spew out a list of random features, QUEST is all about asking the right QUESTions to figure out what it is they need to hear to make a commitment.”
About Kennedy Training Network
Kennedy Training Network (KTN) is the lodging industry’s best source for customized hotel training workshops, conference presentations, and private individual hotel team webinars. KTN specializes in reservations sales, hospitality and guest service excellence, hotel sales training, and front desk upselling and profit optimization. KTN is also a leading provider of hotel telephone mystery shopping for hotel brands, management companies, and individual hotels from all market segments. Contact KTN at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) 922.4662 or visit: www.KennedyTrainingNetwork.com
About Bartell Hotels
Founded in 1975, Bartell Hotels is one of San Diego’s oldest and largest independent hotel companies with eight hotels, six restaurants, three marinas, and the nationally renowned Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay. Bartell Hotels include: Holiday Inn Bayside, San Diego Airport Hilton, The Dana on Mission Bay, Pacific Terrace Hotel, Sheraton La Jolla Hotel, Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites, Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina, and Days Inn at Hotel Circle by Sea World. Marinas include: Shelter Island Marina, Half Moon Marina and Dana Marina. For more information visit: www.bartellhotels.com
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