As with booking airlines, booking hotels online is easier thanks to sites and apps like Expedia. However, some travelers are still susceptible to making mistakes when searching for their preferred accommodation. Below are five common hotel booking mistakes encountered on your accommodation website and the steps that can be taken to avoid or resolve them.
Incorrect Arrival and Departure Dates
Incorrect arrival and departure dates pop up quite frequently on online booking sites. This is mostly due to unforeseen factors such as flight delays or wrong estimates when crossing international date lines. Cancellations for these are often costly so expect negotiating customers. For scenarios such as these, it is best to provide options such as rescheduling or even a different room. As with managing airline ticketing, laying out dates correctly and adjusting them according to the different time zones on the website can alleviate these problems.
Booking a non-refundable fare
Travelers are always on the lookout for the most affordable deals online, however, they tend to overlook various amenities such as the ability to refund in case of an untoward incident. They neglect to consider that a refundable fare will be more lucrative in the event that their travel plans fail to materialize.
Fortunately, it is still possible to establish a middle ground between the hotel and the customer. While a full refund is often unlikely, some hotels may be willing to adjust depending on the cancellation policy. Live customer support brings with it a human touch capable of empathizing with the customers and their circumstances. The support team will be able to make the appropriate judgment on what option can the establishment provide the customer, allowing them to remain satisfied resulting in a better service overall.
It is a massive letdown for the customer when they head to the front desk only to find out that there are no available rooms. A faulty system that fails to update information in time causes double bookings to occur. Rooms may show up as available; even when other customers have already booked them.
This part of the job, however, is unavoidable. Some errors slip through occasionally so having a well-trained staff to handle incidents will be necessary. The hotel must issue a sincere apology first before working to assist guests in finding alternate accommodations within the hotel or a different place nearby.
Assigning a smoking guest to a non-smoking room or providing two separate beds for a guest that requested a queen-sized one is the result of incorrect data entry. Although disclaimers regarding preferences have been indicated in the fine print, some tourists may still overlook this information so it is common that you may encounter this problem with your customers.
Preferences are not always clear and some requests may just be impossible for the hotel to honor. Some tourists also have the habit of communicating their preferences upon arrival only, without entering the information on the online forms. Factors like these cause obstacles to efficient customer experience and make for a difficult transaction between hotel and customer.
The good news is, this issue is sometimes easy enough to resolve. There just needs to be a clear structure in place. Are front-desk staff members authorized to give refunds or immediately provide an available room more appropriate for the requests of the guests? When should complaints be raised to senior managers? Having a clear chain-of-command should streamline conflict resolution ensuring an untarnished reputation for the business and a pleasurable stay for the guest.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, scamming techniques start to become savvier as well. Last November 2018, actor James McAvoy nearly fell for a phishing scam trying to book a holiday to the Spanish island of Tenerife. A website resembling the official Ritz Carlton Abama Hotel site almost managed to trick him into purchasing. Fortunately, the actor avoided the scheme after double checking with a travel agent when charged with just $14,000 (a tenth of the original price).
These malicious phishing sites often dress themselves up to look like legitimate sites used by major hotel branches. It can be very difficult to verify the page’s URL, especially on mobile. With mobile representing a quarter of total travel bookings, this is a very alarming development for guests.
Staying on top of industry news will help prepare staff for such situations. It is recommended to instruct them to keep an eye on the most recent scams going on.
The Importance of a Phone Call
For travelers, these mistakes could prove to be costly. One way of ensuring that everything goes according to plan is by making a phone call to the hotel itself. Aside from discussing the details, a phone call will allow travelers to negotiate rates and fees. Hotels, in turn, can also provide reference numbers for transactions and requests. This kind of customer service is just as essential as amenities for providing a quality experience for the brand.
A call center team in place to accommodate complaints and inquiries 24/7 is very handy for handling these requests. Having trained call center agents in the team ensures a prompt response to any complaint or inquiry. Agents can provide guests with exceptional and personalized service which benefits the whole operation despite all the little mishaps.
AGBI provides an organized team of individuals capable of representing your brand in the best possible way. Working with AGBI gives you access to fully trained employees who undergo product training and quality assessment sessions to guarantee a seamless experience for your customers. Interested in learning more about techniques in keeping your consumers happy and satisfied? Give us a call today.