I need to check a date?

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Hillbilly's picture
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10/22/2011

For those of you who take online reservations and have a way for guests to check online I have a question. I'm really gettIng tired of people callIng me to ask what we have open. I wear a lot of different hats during te day and I don't always have a computer to check for them. I tell them they can check online on our site for live reservations. They then go and look. Do you guys get these same calls? If not any suggestions on how to fix this? I probably get 10-15 a day. Thanks!

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Hillbilly

 

Iris's picture
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As many of you know, I have only last September started to use a reservation system. Until then, I answered the phone and dropped everything for that phone call.  this is the point (the phone inquiry) where you can sell your place. So, never answer the phone if not able to help immediately. 

Now I love my fairly recent purchase of an iPhone, I can be in a cottage cleaning it, answer the phone and I am able to see my calendar, thus help the guest and I can also take a reservation right then and there.  

I am tired of the unending questions myself.  Why do we bother to describe and explain everything if no one reads it?  I have also taken to sending a little note 14 days ahead of the guest's arrival to give them some ideas on what to expect, in case they didn't read the other info readily available on my confirmation. All in an effort to avoid yet more *&$%* questions

 

Dear {{guestfirstname}} {{guestlastname}},

Your trip to "the most beautiful place in America" is almost here. The beach is ready!

Provided for you are bed linens, towels, soap, coffee.
Cooking is not allowed in cottages without kitchens. Please do not bring your indoor grills, microwave ovens, etc.
We do NOT provide hair dryers or liquid shampoo.

Make sure to pack your bathing suits, beach towels, hiking shoes, binoculars, bicycles, paddle boards, etc., and get ready for some rest, relaxation and fun in the sun.

Before leaving home, make sure to do this:
<a href="http://www.visitbenzie.com/passport-to-fun-70">Passport to fun</a>    Eye-wink

and do this if you have a smartphone:
download this FREE app "Traverse Traveler". It is filled with suggestions for restaurants, wineries, services, entertainment, etc.

If, at the time you made your reservation, you entered your cell phone number, we will send a text, if your cottage is ready before the official
check-in time!

We are looking forward to your visit,
Mike and Iris

 

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Here's the problem I'm having with your A & B questions. On A, you're saying that if you answer the phone, you're telling them just to check it themselves, which isn't the case in how I approach it. I look online with them on the phone, tell them what's available. THEN have them book it. (I know you're being general in your question, but it doesn't have to be such a curse interaction with them)

I have lost more people with the B scenario. They will just go on to make the next call.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

Here's the problem I'm having with your A & B questions. On A, you're saying that if you answer the phone, you're telling them just to check it themselves, which isn't the case in how I approach it. I look online with them on the phone, tell them what's available. THEN have them book it. (I know you're being general in your question, but it doesn't have to be such a curse interaction with them)

I have lost more people with the B scenario. They will just go on to make the next call.

But that is not what was being discussed past the orig topic. YOU do that, but the other comments were "I am not where I can check availability or help them..." If they call and you answer the phone, yes you should be able to assist them and take the reservation, that is my point exactly. Don't answer if you can't take the reservation or give them availability answers.

The curse if for the guest who calls and has to be told to go to a website and find out yourself, that is what I am saying, from the guest POV, which is what I said, not the innkeeper.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

Here's the problem I'm having with your A & B questions. On A, you're saying that if you answer the phone, you're telling them just to check it themselves, which isn't the case in how I approach it. I look online with them on the phone, tell them what's available. THEN have them book it. (I know you're being general in your question, but it doesn't have to be such a curse interaction with them)

I have lost more people with the B scenario. They will just go on to make the next call.

But that is not what was being discussed past the orig topic. YOU do that, but the other comments were "I am not where I can check availability or help them..." If they call and you answer the phone, yes you should be able to assist them and take the reservation, that is my point exactly. Don't answer if you can't take the reservation or give them availability answers.

The curse if for the guest who calls and has to be told to go to a website and find out yourself, that is what I am saying, from the guest POV, which is what I said, not the innkeeper.

I see what you're saying JB. I didn't understand that innkeepers actually would not help them at all! Sheesh, if you're doing that, I'm sure you're losing lots of reservations that way, and if I were a prospective guest and told I'm on my own, I would go elsewhere.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

Here's the problem I'm having with your A & B questions. On A, you're saying that if you answer the phone, you're telling them just to check it themselves, which isn't the case in how I approach it. I look online with them on the phone, tell them what's available. THEN have them book it. (I know you're being general in your question, but it doesn't have to be such a curse interaction with them)

I have lost more people with the B scenario. They will just go on to make the next call.

But that is not what was being discussed past the orig topic. YOU do that, but the other comments were "I am not where I can check availability or help them..." If they call and you answer the phone, yes you should be able to assist them and take the reservation, that is my point exactly. Don't answer if you can't take the reservation or give them availability answers.

The curse if for the guest who calls and has to be told to go to a website and find out yourself, that is what I am saying, from the guest POV, which is what I said, not the innkeeper.

I see what you're saying JB. I didn't understand that innkeepers actually would not help them at all! Sheesh, if you're doing that, I'm sure you're losing lots of reservations that way, and if I were a prospective guest and told I'm on my own, I would go elsewhere.

yes

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QUESTION:

As a guest or person looking to book a room, would you:

a) prefer the person who owns or runs the place have no answer and put you off, and/or tell you to visit a website to check? or

b) have a machine answer saying "sorry we missed your call while we are working hard here at the inn...you can check availability any time and reserve on line at..."

Just wondering.

a) would make me mad as a caller, I would think, WHY THE HECK ARE YOU FRIGGIN' ANSWERIN' THE PHONE THEN!

Just thought I would share my very vocal opinion on this.  Are you actually assisting the guests by not having an answer for them, as that is the reason they called. angel

 

Hillbilly's picture
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I hear what your saying JB. This is a hard thing to do. I try and answer every phone call that comes in. Regardless if I can help them with knowing what I have open for the time they are requesting. I think it's better to at least have a warm body on the other end of a phone rather then a machine. But even if I do not have the answer in front of me I try and help them in a way they an very easily get the answer. Most of the time they have other questions and I can answer them. It's the calls I get to just check on what we have open that gets frustrating sometimes when the answer is looking them in te face. 95% of the time they are on our website when they call.

Madeleine's picture
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Bob wrote:
It's the calls I get to just check on what we have open that gets frustrating sometimes when the answer is looking them in te face. 95% of the time they are on our website when they call.

This is where you need that little blurb that says this is the same calendar we look at when you call.

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Madeleine's picture
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I'd rather B than A but if I'm out of the house I really can't check things for them or quote exact prices so I have to tell them A.

A lot of people don't like that. Because they don't 'get' that this is not a hotel with dedicated staff doing each little thing. Which is another reason when I leave the house I don't take a phone with me. Then they get the answering machine that tells them B.

And they can go with it or call another place where the owners are tethered to the phone 24x7. I just can't do that 24x7 phone thing.

Arks's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

QUESTION:

As a guest or person looking to book a room, would you:

a) prefer the person who owns or runs the place have no answer and put you off, and/or tell you to visit a website to check? or

b) have a machine answer saying "sorry we missed your call while we are working hard here at the inn...you can check availability any time and reserve on line at..."

 

Yes, I'd prefer B.

But I'm a do-it-yourselfer, and perhaps some might call me antisocial, though if I really were, I wouldn't be on this forum all the time.

But I'm the sort who'd much prefer to book online without talking to anybody.

I love it when I get voice mail rather than having to actually talk to somebody.

I'm the luckiest guy in town because I always drive to one of the tubes at the bank drive through, even if lane 1 is open (which it never is) and get the window with a human inches from me. Since nobody else in my whole county will use the tube lanes, I always am first in line, drive up, do my business and drive on, while the rest of the county is waiting in a long line of cars to hand their money over to a human.

I can't speak for the opposite sort who'd rather talk to a human, any human, vs. the answering machine.

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All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

QUESTION:

As a guest or person looking to book a room, would you:

a) prefer the person who owns or runs the place have no answer and put you off, and/or tell you to visit a website to check? or

b) have a machine answer saying "sorry we missed your call while we are working hard here at the inn...you can check availability any time and reserve on line at..."

Just wondering.

a) would make me mad as a caller, I would think, WHY THE HECK ARE YOU FRIGGIN' ANSWERIN' THE PHONE THEN!

Just thought I would share my very vocal opinion on this.  Are you actually assisting the guests by not having an answer for them, as that is the reason they called. angel

I'm happy to answer all questions and am extremely friendly with them on the phone, but when it comes to making a reservation, I really want/need them to make it online. I've been burned too many times with phone reservations. I want that box checked that they have read and agreed to the terms.

I even offer to stay on the line with them as they're doing the reservation. I tell them that if they do it online, it's more secure because I won't even have their credit card number (we use auth.net)...it's not good practice to write all that info on paper. They seem to really like that. I also don't have to follow up if the card is not good, because the system won't accept it.

birdwatcher's picture
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that's what we do too Breakfastdiva-I am not at the Inn or am not in a position to check, but you may check our availability at......website, usually they go ahead and reserve. If they say they don't want to use computer, I say well then I will have to call you back when I get to the Inn and that may be a couple hours from now....by the time I check the resv page they made he reservation

Madeleine's picture
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I think I might add a little blurb on the side panel of my site that says, 'Just checking dates? Click here!' That's what most people say when they call, 'Just checking dates...'

Or, 'Still in the planning stages? See what rooms are available here.'

But, 50% of my reservations are still made over the phone so I don't hold out much hope of changing the mindset.

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05/22/2008

You know what..we used to hear innkeepers say "But I always want to talk to the guest. That way I can feel them out etc etc."  So maybe it is the reverse here. They want to hear what the innkeeper sounds like as well. I know if I would make a reservation on line, I would still probably call to talk to the innkeeper before I got there.  Heck I call the hotel myself at their local number to reserve a room many times when I go home for a visit.

Hillbilly's picture
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Thats a good idea. Or take the phone number off the website. Smiling

Hillbilly's picture
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Thanks for your help. Im afraid its just a part of our lives. Sometimes I get tired of the phone calls for questions that are in front of the people. People don't read. Its also crazy when I will go for a few hours with out a call. Then I will get 4 back to back. Sometimes while im talking on the phone already.

Madeleine's picture
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Wish I could help. But I think HF had a good idea, especially for those who call to 'make sure' the room is still open. He has 'This is the same calendar I will look at if you call me,' on his website. (Or some words to that effect.)

What I get a lot of are people who just do not want to take the time to look any further than at the phone number. Lately, tho, they have not stated they are on my website. So I don't know where they got the phone number.

OR, they were given the phone number on a 'save the date' card (a LOT of those calls in the summer) Got one last week where the girl asked if we have any room left for 'her party'. 'We have several rooms on hold.' No, honey, you don't. When I said all the rooms were taken she persisted, 'Well, if you don't have any more rooms for the wedding do you have ANY rooms at your hotel?'

Sigh. Her whole family has been like this. I looked a few days ago and there are at least 3 rooms taken by someone with that last name. All of them think this is a hotel. And they have all been pills on the phone. At least they are only here for the wedding, not the weekend.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I got a waitlist e-mail yesterday from ResKey. Gave the dates they wanted to be added to the waitlist. I have 3 rooms available! Only 1 room is booked. Pick another room people!!

OnTheShore's picture
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Breakfast Diva wrote:

I got a waitlist e-mail yesterday from ResKey. Gave the dates they wanted to be added to the waitlist. I have 3 rooms available! Only 1 room is booked. Pick another room people!!

 

I got that once, too. E-mailed her a couple of times, but never got any further response.

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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I have not figured out how to counteract this. One of my favorite responses is that "I'm not in my office right now, do you have internet available to you?" Most of them say they are on my website right now! They call before they even look around. I tell them where to click and see the availability and make a reservation and if they make a reservation online it takes it off the inventory immediately so no one else can grab the room from them.That usually works pretty well.

Sometimes they are calling because they found our rack card or a listing in a magazine and then I'll do everything I can to get them to book.

 

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

 Most of them say they are on my website right now! They call before they even look around.

I get this all the time too.  I don't mind so much as I can get a feel for the guests personality over the phone and sometimes they want to get a feel for mine as well. It drives my husband batty though.  

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