There is little doubt that technology has made our day to day lives easier; from our smartphones which allow us to not only make calls but to also shop online and send emails, to microwaves that prepare our meals in mere minutes. However, there are many times where technology is a “curse” due to eradicating the need for personal interaction. In terms of hospitality sales, such as hotels, has increasing improvements to technology become a blessing or a curse?
Back in the day
Twenty years ago, customers had to contact individual hotels to enquire as to whether there were any vacancies as the internet wasn’t available and there was no software to allow customers to make reservations. Aside from that, the sales process has remained the same where the seller must ask relevant questions and adhere to the needs of the consumer to earn their custom; the question is, how personal that can be with the increase in technology.
Relationships are key
As a general rule, people don’t like to be sold to but they love an opportunity to buy, technology creates an easy and effective way to do this through videos, websites and social media. In hospitality, building a relationship is key to a happy customer that will recommend your establishment through reviews online and word of mouth to family members; a personal touch from the hotel can increase chances of a very satisfied customer which in turn can produce regular custom.
However, more and more hotels are allowing their potential customers to book online, not only their rooms but their breakfast, drinks, newspapers and a number of services that they can use throughout their stay. This is cheap, easy and effective and it also eradicates the seller or the “middle man” but it also greatly reduces interaction with the hotel employees which will hinder their chances to provide excellent customer service. In turn, this makes it increasingly difficult for employees to upsell products if customers are left to do their own research as customers could also conduct online comparisons with rival hotels; this means they could be in danger of losing the custom.
Old ways are the best ways
The hotels that insist in still incorporating the middle man into their sales transactions find that their repeat custom and customer satisfaction rates are high. Even though they do allow patrons to reserve a room online, the sales team will follow up the booking with a call to discuss optional extras and may even offer a complimentary gift. This personal touch will make the customer feel special and taken care of which will ensure a raving review and regular visits.
In some cases, technology is a blessing as it has made our lives so much easier in so many different ways, however, it has become a curse in regards to sales and building rapport with customers. Even after 20 years, 90% of a sales team will regard relationships the most important aspect to ensure a sales success, however, because we have become dependent on technology, it is finding the balance between the two that will ensure a boost in hotel revenue and in customer satisfaction.