Hotels require consistent and elevated service during high season in order to maintain guest satisfaction levels. As such, a lot rides on having the best seasonal staff possible.
The art of hiring successful, high-performing seasonal staff can be cultivated by asking the right questions. Here are our top 10 questions to ask seasonal reservations agents, though most of these will help vet any seasonal applicant.
- This job will last X weeks. Why are you interested?
Look for employees who want to learn more about the hospitality industry and view this position as a way to get their feet wet. It’s okay if they aren’t all destined to be GMs, but a genuine interest in a service profession will bring better results. If it’s realistic that top performers could be brought on permanently, mentioning that might reveal candidates with broader ambitions in the industry, or weed out those who aren’t confident enough to think they might make the cut.
- What will you do when the season is over?
This question helps you determine, first, if they will stick it out for the season, as well as whether or not they have any interest in a long-term role at your property. If you know who is interested, you can pay attention to their progress and open up opportunities for them along the way.
- How do you think you would fit in a sales-driven culture?
An important question for any guest-facing position, this one helps you determine if they will support the mission of your organization. It will help weed out applicants who envision the reservation agent as just an order taker.
- Have you ever had performance goals? If so, how do you respond to them?
Of course, it’s better if they do. Look for them to ask for more details about the goals.
- Are you competitive? How would you rate your competitiveness? Moreover, have you ever worked in an environment where your goals and statistics are shared publicly?
Every reservation sales agent, even those who are seasonal, should be measured and mentored. If they are uncomfortable working in a competitive scenario or being measured against peers, they may not be a good fit.
- Role-play using real examples. Something like, “I’m interested in booking a four-day vacation somewhere in this destination. How would you sell me this property?”
Role playing lets you know if the prospective employee is likely to succeed in sales, as well as whether they’ve done their homework and how quickly they will ramp up.
- What frustrates you at work? What do you thrive on in your job?
Look for employees that thrive on sales and a social environment. Make sure they aren’t afraid to go off script. Your property is not the right fit if the applicant seems frustrated by criticism or high-pressure scenarios.
- What’s your favorite topic or hobby? Tell me more about it.
This gives you insight into their personality and lets you know if they are interactive or one-sided in their conversations. Are they engaging? Do they draw you into the conversation? You might even ask them to tell you about a funny thing that happened to them, or something they’re really looking forward to doing.
- How would you ask for the sale from a guest on the phone?
This is an essential skill for all reservations agents to be comfortable doing. Again, you might need to role play a bit to get them in the flow of how a call might actually proceed.
- What are your dreams and goals?
Seasonal staff will be connecting with guests and with your other departments. When you bring on inspired and motivated people, their energy spreads. The same can be true of a negative person. You also want to know if they have any interest in staying on for long-term employment or a recurring role.
In addition to these questions, look for seasonal applicants that ask insightful questions. Consider whether or not they are engaging and communicative. Do they have an easy rapport? Seasonal sales agents should be adaptable and flexible, competitive but self-aware, socially adept, and creative. While it may seem like a tall order to ask for this level of temporary staff, the return is well worth it, leading to increased bookings and revenue.