Summer breaks are coming. It’s very easy in the school holidays and the weeks surrounding them to do a roaring trade, and I’m sure some of you are recovering from the bank holiday breaks you’ve been providing in excess for the past couple of weeks – there was some wedding or something on I heard.
But summer breaks are on their way, and you need to be ready for them. Here’s a short checklist of things you ought to have ready in time, before the customers start rolling up the driveway.
> Beds! Do you have broken bases, sagging mattresses, worn sheets, lumpy duvets, etc? There won’t be any time to replace things like these whilst you’re fully booked, so get it done now.
> Temps! If you’ve got offers on certain rooms, lots of functions booked or dinner events planned, it might be wise just to review your staff levels. Pop into the HR Office and run it past somebody there to see if taking on temps is possible and/or wise.
> Stock Levels! Make sure that you’ve got enough food, booze and other important items scheduled to be coming in, and it probably won’t hurt to stock a little extra now if you’ve got the room, just in case there’s a rush on.
Those three things are pretty key to the customer side, but don’t forget the more esoteric aspects – is there some money put aside for emergency breakages or replacements? Are rotas organized? Staff disputes at an all time low? These things can be equally as important as the more practical arrangements.
Have a good summer.
Getting enquiries on the phone is a normal, day to day part of the hospitality industry. What we sometimes don’t realise however, is that the way your business is represented on the phone can sometimes make all the difference – it can be the tilt over the edge into a booking, or a very good reason for the customers to look elsewhere.
So, here are the Hospitality Hotspot’s Top 5 Tips for Telephone Manner
1. Be a Good Human
It’s really easy, when you’re answering the phone for the fourtieth time that day, or straight after a customer complaint, to let your stress/tiredness weaken the politeness of your tone and how approachable you sense. As best you can, be a good human and let your customer realize you’re a nice person, with a job to do and that you’re there to help. Sound professional, but not rigid, confident, but not scripted. Just help them out as best you can – care about them and be kind.
2. Be a Good Listener
If your customer has some specifics, be a good listener. Let them tell you why they’re coming to stay (Business? RnR? Honeymoon?) and be interested, especially if their stay is out of the ordinary. Don’t butt in on what they’re saying with an offer on a discount room you’re trying to fill – time it right so that it sounds like you’re just trying to help them out – which, I’m sure, you are! If they talk, let them talk.
3. Be a Good Speaker
But the time comes when it’s your turn to speak. This is it – this is the real make or break. Be a Good Speaker, and focus on being clear and understandable. Avoid jargon terms, don’t make your sentences too long, and crack a joke. Sounding like you’re easy to get on with really puts the boot on your foot – they might even feel like it would be unkind to not book with you if you’re likable enough.
4. Be a Good Friend
Don’t multitask! Give the person on the other end of the phone the attention and respect you would give your closest friend, were they on the phone to you. Don’t clean your desk, don’t write an email to someone else, don’t read anything, just concentrate on the person you’re dealing with. Believe me – customers really can tell when you’re distracted and busy with something other than them, and it’s a real turn off.
5. Be a Good Salesperson
You still have an employer. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your purpose, when dealing with this enquiry, is to convert it into a booking. Be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. Care for them and believe you can help them – but help them to see that they should book with you right now. Do all you can, within reason, to get their details down, and don’t be afraid to call them back at a later date and ask how their search for a place to stay is going.
In the Hospitality Industry, you need to know what’s going on with the industry as a whole. Innovations are always being made, and changes in the law are always affecting the way we do business – so you have to keep up, or you’ll simply die. Or worse, become illegal!
The British Hospitality Association is useful for keeping up. They’re not as practical as the Institute of Hospitality – but they keep you involved and informed on the modern direction and shape of the industry, especially from a political and legal point of view.
These days there is a growing group of customers, web-savvy and wise, who will check out reviews of your establishment online before they come close to booking with you. What that means for you, is that being well-spoken of on review websites is of pretty crucial importance to your image as an entity.
TripAdvisor is probably the most commonly used review site of this nature for UK Hotels, BnB’s and Guesthouses. If there isn’t a review of your Guesthouse on there, you either aren’t well publicized or aren’t good (or bad) enough to write home about.
Head on over to http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ and see if you can find yourself.
So I came across this website, provided by World Wide Web Designs in Eastbourne, UK. They have developed an online booking syste that looks pretty easy to use, and also promises to cut out the dreaded pile of unwanted enquiries. Sound intriguing?