Do you Reconfirm Your Customers' Hotel Reservations During COVID-19?
One of the biggest problems that the global tourism industry has suffered during COVID-19 has been the lockdowns. During these periods, many hotels had to close their doors completely. Others closed their doors to disinfect their establishments. In a situation as chaotic as this one, how can travel agencies and OTAs act so that their clients won’t find their hotel closed without a warning from you? We can start with a question regarding the customer service your company provides: Do you reconfirm your customers' hotel reservations?
Do you reconfirm your customers' hotel reservations in general?
COVID-19 caught by surprise many people in the hotel industry. The most affected ones were the companies with a weak customer service team. By the time they had to deal with the wave of cancellations and complaints about hotel closings at the beginning of the pandemic, the impact for them was devastating.
Travel agencies with robust customer support teams had a much stronger foundation to address this situation. If you were used to reconfirming your clients' reservations directly with the hotels, carrying out this pandemic follow-up may not be as difficult for your company as it is for the rest.
How is the communication between the hotel, the bedbank and the travel agency? In many cases, Covid-19 has showcased that there is a lack of communication between the 3 and it can cause problems with your customers. This is a serious problem especially if the hotel decides to shut down without notifying the supplier.
What is the worst that could occur? Your client finding out about the closure of their booked hotel before you do. This situation can severely affect the reputation and credibility of any travel agency. Therefore, avoiding situations where your customers are the ones who inform you about these problems is essential.
Opportunity to stand out
You have already seen the fatal consequences of not properly managing your customers’ reservations with the hotels that closed due to COVID-19. Many companies have been struggling with this since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s in this context that your company can stand out from the rest by showing exceptional customer service, which provides security and confidence to your customers.
In an industry where communication between hotels, suppliers and travel agencies is not efficient enough, it’s up to your company to be the one to reconfirm the hotel reservations of your clients and guarantee that they will not find an unpleasant surprise during their travel. Make a habit of re-confirming hotel reservations 7-14 days prior to the last date of free cancellation. This shall give you plenty of time to find solutions if necessary and showcase to your customer that you are constantly looking out for their best interest.
Going the extra mile is also thinking about how you can solve cases in which the hotels booked by your clients will be closed. Don’t just report the issue to your customer. Instead, your company can negotiate with the bedbank to find a solution that meets the customer's needs. Also, do not hesitate to offer your clients the alternative of staying in a similar or better hotel for the same price.
One of the biggest problems for travel agencies and OTAs in the context of COVID-19 has been the constant closure of hotels with active bookings from their clients. To approach this, your travel agency must take initiative and reconfirm your customers’ hotel reservations and provide any solution needed in order to not disrupt your customers´ travel plans.