The Solution to the Front Desk Rollover Problem

June 20, 2018 Cody Putman


For approximately half of all hotels, front desk rollovers serve as a solution for answering reservation calls. We know this because only 50% of hotels have a team of reservation agents to handle inquiries, according to TripTease. When there is no reservation team, the job of inquiries and bookings is shared among different staff, and most often this falls to the front desk. When the front desk answers reservation inquiries, three things tend to happen:


1). Guest Service Suffers. The front desk is a busy and distracting place. By and large, the front desk tends to whoever stands physically right in front of them (as they should). This impacts their ability to effectively talk to guests on the phone who are interested in booking, but who may have questions and concerns.  It also affects their ability to serve guests who are currently checked in. (You have, no doubt, seen the expression on a guest’s face when a front desk agent spends too long on the phone or answers multiple calls.) All in all, guest service suffers.


2). Conversions Are Lower. Though they may have the aptitude for sales, a front desk agent will not be sales-focused in this environment. They have only the capacity for taking an order on the phone, not making a sale. Therefore, they won’t convert the incoming demand like a trained reservation agent would.


3). Call Abandonment Increase. Call abandonment rates go up due to multi-tasking. In fact, a review of call histories for NAVIS client Old Edwards Inn & Spa showed that 38% of reservation opportunities were lost when calls rolled to the front desk. That’s a lot of revenue.



There are other solutions, however, and they can prove to be very profitable.


What’s the Answer? A Hybrid Solution

We get it. Not every property can sustain a dedicated reservation team. There are space constraints, overstaffing risks, and so forth. Many properties feel they are in an either/or situation—either take on the expense of more agents or send calls to the front desk. However, some hotels in this situation successfully embrace a hybrid solution—one that combines on-site staff with rollover calls delivered to trained agents via the NAVIS Rezforce call center.


A study of 300 calls that rolled over to the front desk at Old Edwards Inn & Spa, a Relais & Chateaux property in North Carolina, demonstrates the difference NAVIS RezForce can make. 


The Old Edwards Inn & Spa didn’t realize the extent of the problem with front desk rollovers. Out of 300 calls, 115 went completely unanswered. The front desk booked 12 reservations for a conversion rate of 27%; however, the reservation team was converting at 62% during this time. 

Based on the average stay value of this period, the front desk booked approximately $8,700. Had these calls gone to the reservations team, Old Edwards Inn would have made $11,677. Remember, that number is based on only 300 calls. Multiple this by the number of calls in year and this is a substantial amount of annual revenue earned.


Further, if the reservation team had received the 115 that went unanswered, the property could have generated an additional $23,000.


What Was Lost

The property lost almost $155,000 during this period due to front desk rollovers between missed calls and lower conversion rates. These numbers also don’t account for the implied revenue generated from service improvements for both on-site guests and phone inquiries when dedicated agents handle all calls, the improved data captured by trained agents with a singular goal, and the lead follow-up that becomes possible with a call center solution. Exponential benefits. 


To read the full case study, click here. 

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