There are few industries which are subject to such great fluctuations in seasonal demand as hotels. With hoteliers in EU countries having to adapt to occupancy rates which are, on average, 3.7 times higher in August than in January1, the challenge of providing consistent customer service throughout the year is clear to see.
With a wide range of factors affecting seasonal demand for hotels, such as school holidays, unexpected weather events, and even political circumstances, it can be challenging to ensure that every guest receives the same high-quality, personalised service. Hotels must constantly monitor and alter their strategies in terms of logistics, staffing and technology, proactively adapting to fluctuations in demand.
Contact centre managers must be able to scale their services up during peak periods, as well as scaling down for quieter months. Cloud-based technology offers an easy solution, allowing hoteliers to quickly expand and contract to meet changing requirements, without the fixed capacity of legacy on-premise systems. Cloud services can therefore represent a significant cost-saving for contact centres, as those which offer pay-per-use models ensure that hotels only pay for the capacity they need, when they need it, regardless of fluctuations.
From a customer experience perspective, stability and consistency are key in delivering a high-quality, personalised service to every guest. With both predictable and unexpected spikes and troughs in demand to contend with, any technology which can make contact centre interactions more intelligent and efficient should be seriously considered. Global trends across a wide variety of B2C markets demonstrate a rapid increase in automation and self-service, and hotels are not exempt from this. Innovations such as Natural Language Processing and Unstructured IVR empower guests to organise trips and process payments independently and, crucially, securely, without ever having to speak directly to a contact centre agent. With many enquiries processed automatically from end-to-end, agents have more time to process more complex interactions and focus on the key metric of First Contact Resolution. With routine enquiries automated, hotels can prioritise training and developing agents to deliver the excellent service that earns good brand recognition and a first class reputation among consumers.
Sophisticated technology, combined with an expert team of staff, can put hotels in control of every guest’s experience, from the start of the booking process, through their entire trip, and beyond. In a world where customer experience is rapidly catching up with price and product quality as the key differentiator2, hotels cannot afford to let seasonal demand become an excuse for complacency.