The TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach, Florida is a premier family destination with something for everyone. The TradeWinds’ Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost properties, with 788 rooms between them, comprise the largest resort on Florida’s west coast. The resorts are continually adding activities including high-flying JetLev rides and a three-story beach water slide that keep their offerings exciting. But even at the best properties nothing happens until someone sells something, and converting inquiries to room nights is an art that TradeWinds’ call center team excels in. The team recently kicked their sales up a notch and improved conversions 13%. Here is how they did it.
The TradeWinds Island Resorts, ranked the #1 Beach Destination by TripAdvisor in 2012, is a popular vacation spot. Every year TradeWinds launches new adventures for kids while it preserves quiet spots where parents can relax with a book. The resort’s comprehensive spectrum of activities, room types, and amenities make the reservation team’s rising sales numbers even more impressive. “We have so much to offer, but a family vacation is a major financial decision. More than 30% of direct bookings come through our call center,” said Travis Johnson, vice president of marketing for TradeWinds Island Resorts. “There are so many options at TradeWinds that most guests talk to our call center more than once. This, and the trend toward mobile communication, presented a great sales opportunity. That’s why we started working with NAVIS in 2011.” NAVIS is a reservation sales systems company that provides sales coaching best practices, call recording, caller tracking, and performance reporting. “Our first full year with NAVIS we had a 13% ADR increase.” Click here to learn more about NAVIS’ reservations sales system.
Prior to 2011, TradeWinds Island Resorts operated its 24-person reservation office as a manual call center with separate providers for sales training and performance tracking. Further, TradeWinds had no way to follow up on information inquiries, or easily get back to callers they had to turn down. “NAVIS changed all this,” Johnson said. “We consolidated all sales training, statistical reporting, and call center phone technology with NAVIS. It was the right decision.”
TradeWinds team captures caller data to boost conversions 13%
Shelly Palmquist, TradeWinds director of revenue, said, ”NAVIS installed telecommunications technology that enables agents to see who the caller is, their phone number and which promotion a caller is contacting us about. This lets them quickly build a relationship and displays the dates, amenities, and other information they previously gave.” TradeWinds’ agents leveraged NAVIS caller information and best practices for a 13% improvement in their call conversions in 2012.
Outbound call program generates new revenue stream
Another big revenue improvement came from outbound follow-up calls. “NAVIS’ information enabled us to create an outbound call program,” Palmquist said. “‘Outbounding’ is a new revenue source. Now we are able to follow up on first-call turn downs. People see us in a positive way when we call back with alternate dates or new opportunities. A large percentage of them book their stay during our follow up call.”
The NAVIS system records all TradeWinds’ reservation calls, and trained the property’s managers on reservation coaching and calls scoring. This ensures TradeWinds’ booking staff is always improving professionally. “We assess our conversion statistics monthly,” Palmquist said. “NAVIS provides accurate conversion statistics. Their call tracking and recording shows we attained a 13% conversion growth our first year.”
Johnson said the trend toward mobile use was a factor in TradeWinds working with NAVIS. “More people are using smart phones and tablets to contact us, but most use the voice channel to book. NAVIS implemented a ‘push to talk’ on our system that makes it easy for mobile people to call us quickly.”
Ongoing sales training keeps the TradeWinds team at peak performance. “We train our agents on room types, amenities, and promotions,” Johnson said. “NAVIS fine-tunes our team’s skills with videos and online classes that provide testing and certification for successful completion. We monitor reservation calls and give incentives for best practices like getting email addresses and providing accurate information. The NAVIS continually helps us. Even now, two years since we signed our agreement, we have weekly calls, daily and monthly reports and quarterly reviews and management scores to keep our conversions growing.”
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