You and your family get off the plane, pile into the rental car, and head out for vacation. Immediately you're faced with two problems: You can't remember the exact name or location of the hotel, and even if you did, you wouldn't know how to get there. This scenario is surprisingly common, according to Holly Boginis, general manager of the 99-room Lincoln Suites Hotel, located in Washington, D.C. And mailing a hotel brochure containing travel directions with reservation confirmations didn't solve the problem--people either don't read it or promptly misplace it. Other problems include requests for date changes (as many as 15% of guests) and no-shows.
Trying to avoid such hassles, the Lincoln Suites Hotel started a policy of calling guests several days before their scheduled arrival date. The front-desk staff person scheduled to be on duty when the guest arrives uses a checklist to review:
Arrival and departure dates
The number of people in the party
Preferences for smoking or nonsmoking accommodation
Directions to the hotel
Special queries or requests, e.g., flowers in the room or tickets for events and tours
Guests like the personal connection, and the call eases travel anxiety by addressing last-minute concerns. When checking in, 25% of guests contacted through the program ask to speak to the person who made the confirmation call. As a result, the hotel has reduced the number of no-shows. And these days, the front desk is receiving fewer calls from lost vacationers.