Quantcast

Booking on the phone

INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources

Help Support INNspiring.com | Innkeeper Forum & Innkeeping Resources:

Red Handed Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
263
Reaction score
0
For some reason, lately, it seems we are having a lot of guests who end up wanting *me* to book them on the phone. For the time being, I've just given up trying to send them back to the site (especially when they're all ready looking at it <eyeroll>). Don't get me wrong - our website won't win any prizes. But it's functional. These folks all have different reasons for wanting to book on the phone - most (not all) are elderly. Sometimes they don't like the (standard) wording of the booking engine. Sometimes .....ack. They all have different reasons. Sometimes I think they just want to talk (seriously. They're all excited about their getaway/visiting their auntie/coming to see <insert event here>.). That's actually NOT my post.
The thing is, when I book a guest - it takes me a lot longer than if they just book themselves. They read, type answers, and it gets emailed to me. I copy & paste, process the deposit, and click confirm to send the automated email. When they call...I ask questions. They answer. THEN I type. Then I check the spelling/repeat back what they said (so I get it right). At some point, we probably end up in a discussion of food allergies. Eventually, the reservation is processed but THEN I keep them on the phone while I run the cc for the deposit because I don't want them to think they're booked only to have me call back and say, "Your credit card didn't go through." I figure I better make sure it's actually a "done deal" before I hang up.
NOW for my question. Am I the only one where it takes more time (total - mine & theirs) to book on the phone? I do try to redirect them to book online. I have even told people it will be faster. Sometimes (when I'm lucky) they ask what's easier for me. Is this just what needs to be done to "close" the deal sometimes?
 

Arks

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
6,113
Reaction score
131
Red Handed Jill said:
Am I the only one where it takes more time (total - mine & theirs) to book on the phone?
Lots of businesses (airlines, hotels, etc.), realizing that it takes a lot more time to book or sell on the phone, give a lower price to people who book online. It's becoming very common. In this way, you get paid a little extra if you have to handle them "manually".
It's probably better to word it as a discount for booking online, vs. calling it an extra charge for booking by phone.
 

egoodell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
3,023
Reaction score
0
I don't take phone bookings unless absolutely necessary as I don't trust them - I have no proof they understood the cancellation policy. All my guests book online if I have to walk them through it. I tell them I need to have them "in the system" so that the room is not open for double booking.
This works for me, but may not for everyone. I get a lot of guests who are computer savvy.
RIki
 

Red Handed Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
263
Reaction score
0
I don't take phone bookings unless absolutely necessary as I don't trust them - I have no proof they understood the cancellation policy. All my guests book online if I have to walk them through it. I tell them I need to have them "in the system" so that the room is not open for double booking.
This works for me, but may not for everyone. I get a lot of guests who are computer savvy.
RIki.
egoodell said:
I don't take phone bookings unless absolutely necessary as I don't trust them - I have no proof they understood the cancellation policy.
That's another time suck. When phone bookings check in, I hand them a copy of our policies and ask them to sign a statement that they received a copy. I can't make them agree, but I can put the policies in their hot little hands.
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,554
Reaction score
137
I take the phone reservations - I get more phone calls than online actually. I do not try to key it in as I take it. I do not know how to type so mistakes are inevitable that way. I take it on a 3x5 card and then enter it into the system after I hang up. I would be calling them anyway since I do not take cc numbers online. It works better for me this way. I encourage cash or checks so I do not run the card. I have not had any problems with bad cards so this has worked. If I did, I might change my practices.
The thing about talking to them is on several occasions, I was able to send the guest where they wanted to be - had it been just an online rez they would have been as unhappy as I would haev been. One asked me how far I was from the airport. Which one? She named the airport in the Capital - 140 miles away. The other asked how far I was from the hospital - again, which one? She names one about 50 miles from here. In each instance I was able to give name and number of a B & B in the correct city.
Edited to add: I e-mail a confirmation letter and request a read receipt. In the confirmation letter are my cancellation policies and check-in times.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Question: Am I the only one where it takes more time (total - mine & theirs) to book on the phone?
NO!!
Phone bookings are always long, chit chat, because we can't just say 'Hey lady let's just get this done!' and they feel they need to ask even more questions, just out of being polite I think.
A phone booking for me...is almost always at least 20 minutes, some of them are longer. A;ways on my dime, I return their call as they has a question like "do I have to share a bath" or something silly. Sometimes "How far are you from?" "Why I have you on the phone...what is there to do around there?" Me "What do you like to do?" Them "Well are there any...?"
WORST THOUGH is after ALL OF THAT, they say "Okay, well I would be silly to not book online and save $10...BYE"
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Arkie wrote: In this way, you get paid a little extra if you have to handle them "manually".
I guess this is where we get the term "man - handled"
 

Don Draper

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
2,863
Reaction score
0
Over the past year, since implementing our online booking discount, we've found that 99% of the phone calls we receive are people looking to be an exception to SOME policy (minimum stay, # of people in room, etc.). The remaining 1% are typically elderly and don't use internet, and I am happy to call them to get them set up. The rest miraculously seem to figure it out and book it online. Via la online reservations!
 

gillumhouse

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
15,554
Reaction score
137
Question: Am I the only one where it takes more time (total - mine & theirs) to book on the phone?
NO!!
Phone bookings are always long, chit chat, because we can't just say 'Hey lady let's just get this done!' and they feel they need to ask even more questions, just out of being polite I think.
A phone booking for me...is almost always at least 20 minutes, some of them are longer. A;ways on my dime, I return their call as they has a question like "do I have to share a bath" or something silly. Sometimes "How far are you from?" "Why I have you on the phone...what is there to do around there?" Me "What do you like to do?" Them "Well are there any...?"
WORST THOUGH is after ALL OF THAT, they say "Okay, well I would be silly to not book online and save $10...BYE".
It definitely takes more time - a commodity you have less of than I do because #1 you have more rooms and #2 you have kids to consider and #3 it is on your web site to save money by booking online.
As with everything else, it is what works for each of us and what we prefer. It is Murphy at it again - those who prefer online rez gett he Chatty Cathy Phone rez and those who WANT to talk to the guest and not use online rez get the angry why can't I book online. I who do not care how it comes as long as they make a rez - get both.
 

Arks

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
6,113
Reaction score
131
Joey Bloggs wrote:
Arkie wrote: In this way, you get paid a little extra if you have to handle them "manually".
I guess this is where we get the term "man - handled"
JB, I've noticed that you never reply directly to (under) a response, but always reply to the original post, even if you're actually replying to one of the "sub-posts".
I LOVE THAT and I'm sure you are doing if for the good reason that it causes your responses to go to the bottom of the list, where they're easy to find. It's so hard on this forum to catch all the sub-post responses that get scattered all over the place on the page. I think we all miss some that way.
JB's way is much better, as long as you take the time to copy/paste the text you're replying to, like she did above (Arkie wrote:...), then post your reply to the original post at the top of the page.
 

Samster

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
6,475
Reaction score
14
Location
South Carolina
Nope, you're not the only one. :-( It always ended up taking more time than I wanted to book a guest when they called. It's the chit-chatting, repeating the spelling of everything so that you get it right, the trying to rush typing the info into the system (and I'm very skilled at keyboarding), more chit-chatting as the future guest asks more questions about a gazillion things, and so on. I really wanted folks to book online so that they agreed to the policies.
Here's a couple of tricks that I'd use:
1) If you book online, you save with our Internet booking discount.
2) Our online reservation system is secure...I want to be sure that your credit card info is secure. Are you on a portable or mobile phone now? Repeat #1.
3) Your call has been forwarded to me while I'm away from the inn, I'd hate for you to lose the room/dates you want by waiting for me to either call you back or get your info entered when I return. (If I was totally in the middle of something, I might use this as a white lie. oops.) Can you please book via our secure online reservation system? Repeat #1.
4) I can book your rez for you but I'll need you to reply to your reservation confirmation email in order for your reservation to be totally locked in. (This covers the agreeing to the policies which is part of the reservation confirmation email.) Again, repeat #1.
We had very few phone reservations but these diversions seemed to help to keep them at a minimum.
 

Red Handed Jill

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
263
Reaction score
0
Arkansawyer said:
JB, I've noticed that you never reply directly to (under) a response, but always reply to the original post, even if you're actually replying to one of the "sub-posts".
I LOVE THAT and I'm sure you are doing if for the good reason that it causes your responses to go to the bottom of the list, where they're easy to find. It's so hard on this forum to catch all the sub-post responses that get scattered all over the place on the page. I think we all miss some that way.
Ditto. Also, for me, I do most of my work on a tiny-screened net book (I can't always go to that monster desktop). The more "sub-" a response is, the narrower it's displayed. Sometimes, on really long threads, on my screen a response will only be a word or so wide.
</derail>
Thanks for the thoughts. Good to know it's not just me.
 

Morticia

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
17,351
Reaction score
224
Booking on the phone sometimes is just a matter of me filling in the form- many guests are repeats and I just hit 'book past guest' and I'm done. Other people take a half hour! I have asked if guests knew they could book online and most don't but they're ready to go.
 

Joey Camb

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
4,793
Reaction score
0
\We take probably 90% bookings on the internet now sometimes people have a particular question or like a particular room but yes it does take longer to speak to them but I think it is worth it. Sometimes it is because they have a special requirement ie grond floor room etc. However some of the agencies I use charge up to 15% so it saves me about $20 per booking therefore I forbear!
 

Emily Spiers

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
299
Reaction score
0
RHJ- Do you have an online incentive? ie- $10 off for booking online or whatever would work for you? In my mind, make your online booking work for you, but make it look like it's working for them.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Joey Bloggs wrote:
Arkie wrote: In this way, you get paid a little extra if you have to handle them "manually".
I guess this is where we get the term "man - handled"
JB, I've noticed that you never reply directly to (under) a response, but always reply to the original post, even if you're actually replying to one of the "sub-posts".
I LOVE THAT and I'm sure you are doing if for the good reason that it causes your responses to go to the bottom of the list, where they're easy to find. It's so hard on this forum to catch all the sub-post responses that get scattered all over the place on the page. I think we all miss some that way.
JB's way is much better, as long as you take the time to copy/paste the text you're replying to, like she did above (Arkie wrote:...), then post your reply to the original post at the top of the page..
Arkansawyer said:
Joey Bloggs wrote:
Arkie wrote: In this way, you get paid a little extra if you have to handle them "manually".
I guess this is where we get the term "man - handled"
JB, I've noticed that you never reply directly to (under) a response, but always reply to the original post, even if you're actually replying to one of the "sub-posts".
I LOVE THAT and I'm sure you are doing if for the good reason that it causes your responses to go to the bottom of the list, where they're easy to find. It's so hard on this forum to catch all the sub-post responses that get scattered all over the place on the page. I think we all miss some that way.
JB's way is much better, as long as you take the time to copy/paste the text you're replying to, like she did above (Arkie wrote:...), then post your reply to the original post at the top of the page.
Actually I am on chrome and not sure if it is a glitch, but can never get the window to open with one click right now, and it wastes so much time. I did it the normal way again, and had to click reply, then preview, then edit, then preview and edit again. Instead of ONE CLICK which is what I used to be able to do.

I have it set up that any reply is shows up next not within the thread...check your settings, you can adjust how you view them so any new reply is consecutive. I forget which way is the easiest to read though.
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
at the bottom of the thread you will see Comment viewing options...here is how I have mine set up:
Flat list - expanded...Date-oldest first...30 comments per page then click save settings.
See if that helps. I can't leave Chrome I have too many cool features to change, although I have to on certain applications.
 

Arks

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
6,113
Reaction score
131
Joey Bloggs wrote: Actually I am on chrome and not sure if it is a glitch...
Oh! I thought you were doing it on purpose, and I liked the idea!I'll check my settings.
As far as easy to read, I'd prefer all new comments to go to the bottom of the list where they're easy to find. I miss a lot (I fear) when they're added up under previous comments. But if they're placed at the bottom, they need to include a quote of who the response is to so it's understandable.
 

Arks

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2010
Messages
6,113
Reaction score
131
at the bottom of the thread you will see Comment viewing options...here is how I have mine set up:
Flat list - expanded...Date-oldest first...30 comments per page then click save settings.
See if that helps. I can't leave Chrome I have too many cool features to change, although I have to on certain applications..
Joey Bloggs said:
at the bottom of the thread you will see Comment viewing options...here is how I have mine set up:
Flat list - expanded...Date-oldest first...30 comments per page then click save settings.
See if that helps.
Yep, that's much better! Thanks!
 

JBloggs

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
17,743
Reaction score
0
Takes a few to get used to, then it will be much easier. and yeah I am replying on a new window...again, I post too often to have to click 5 times and wait each time.
 
Top