5 Reasons Why Automating Phone Bookings Can Drive Revenue and Profit

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Many people think that the original use of the telephone – a phone call – is outdated in today’s world. In 2019, with just a few taps on our mobile phones, we have the entire Internet at our fingertips. But people who are in the know realize that the traditional telephone call is a huge source of revenue and they’re making moves to ensure that their business is just as equipped to take orders by phone as it is online. Read this week’s blog post about how iovox technology is being used in the hospitality industry to drive revenue and customer satisfaction.

Missed Bookings = Lost Revenue

Did you know that on average, 65% of calls are missed by hospitality venues, and up to 40% of unanswered calls can be converted to bookings? Those are shocking numbers.

Restaurant customers don’t always book online, in fact the data shows that they often call because they have your number in their call history or stored in the contacts of their mobile phone and it’s faster to press dial than it is to open an app and see if a table is available. But what happens when your prospective diners call during peak hours? Or worse yet, when you’re closed for the night and someone wants to make a reservation for tomorrow, but there’s no one to talk to? Your potential customers are likely on to the next option and you’ve missed the opportunity to serve them.

Mitchells and Butler (M&B) knows this situation quite well.

“Every missed booking didn’t just mean losing income – it also meant our customers were left disappointed. We wanted a system that could capture every booking and offer customers a superior booking experience at any time of the day or night.”

M&B was founded in 1898 and operates approximately 1,700 pubs and restaurants throughout the UK. They were fully aware that their telephone booking system wasn’t as efficient or effective as they wanted it to be. Some of their challenges were:

  • Calls, particularly in busy periods, required staff to stop serving diners to deal with phone reservations or questions about directions. This was extremely inefficient for M&B and diminished the quality of service to clients both on the phone and those already in their restaurants.
  • If a call was unanswered at the restaurant, it would re-route to M&B central reservations which was expensive to operate and didn’t offer 24/7 coverage. This incurred high costs and had potential for a poor service experience.

Overall, the system they were using did not create the kind of experience that M&B wanted for their clientele.

It was inefficient and expensive, and they knew they could do better. So they did.

5 Reasons Why Automating Phone Bookings Can Drive Revenue and Profit

With this backdrop, M&B set course to improve the customer experience and along the way, realized some fantastic financial outcomes.

This is where liveRES from Zonal and iovox come into the picture.

liveRES Bookings by Phone powered by iovox was the solution that made a huge impact on the M&B business. Established in 2011 by Living Ventures founders Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, liveRES was acquired by Zonal Retail Data Systems in 2015, liveRES is the trusted online booking and table management system for some of the UK’s leading operators, including Carluccio’s, Greene King, and PizzaExpress.

For almost 40 years Zonal has helped hospitality companies achieve their business goals – large or small, pub, bar, restaurant, hotel or leisure venue. Zonal didn’t become number 1 in the market by accident. They are widely respected for their leadership and innovation, especially in the fields of customer engagement, guest management, optimizing the power of social media and digital marketing.

The liveRES Bookings by Phone powered by iovox solution was easy to implement and the benefits were immediate.

How liveRES Bookings by Phone powered by iovox works

  • a telephone booking system

    A telephone booking system that’s fully integrated with liveRES

  • allows customers to book with

    Allows customers to book with confidence 24/7

  • all bookings are immediately visible

    All bookings are immediately visible in a centralized cloud-based diary

  • real time booking slots

    Real-time booking slots, taken from your liveRES availability

  • suggests next best alternate slot

    Suggests next best alternate slots if the selected time is unavailable

liveRES Bookings by Phone powered by iovox uses online booking technology to create an automated phone conversation with each customer looking to make a booking. It captures key information by asking a series of questions which are easily answered through touchtone interactions. The booking system costs a small flat fee per restaurant per month for round-the-clock coverage – with no commission to pay for each booking received.

The benefits to this approach are:

  1. Restaurants never miss a booking. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, peak hours or when you’re closed. Every call gets a professional answer and your business captures the call instead of your competitor down the street.
  2. Keep your staff focused on the diners in front of them. Not only does the liveRES Bookings platform help capture more opportunities, but valuable staff time gets freed up and they can focus on serving the guests already in your restaurant.
  3. Pays for itself. When you do the math on missed bookings, you’ll quickly realize the liveRES Bookings by Phone system pays for itself in no time at all. The M&B data is an example of what a platform like this can do for your business.
    • 65%

      of calls are missed by hospitality venues on average

    • 40%

      of unanswered calls can be converted into bookings

    • 128+

      additional bookings generated a month per site at Mitchells & Butlers

  4. Recover dissatisfied guests. It never fails. Despite your best efforts, someone inevitably will end up dissatisfied with some aspect of their service with your restaurant. The liveRES by Phone system gives your customers a voice to show that you’re listening. Fast action on negative feedback is among the best ways to turn a negative situation to a positive.
  5. The system is integrated which means your business completely avoids the risk of double-booking. Every seat matters. Occupancy numbers need to be right and with the phone-based system implemented, all new bookings are shared across the entire booking platform which means no double booking and an accurate assessment of your available capacity.

Customers Are Happy. Bookings Are Up. Costs Are Down.

What restaurant wouldn’t want that trifecta!? The M&B results from implementing the system led to:

  • Very positive customer feedback.
  • 24/7 booking which opened windows of opportunity that didn’t exist with the former methods.
  • The system is intelligent enough to offer alternate time slots if the original requested slots are not available, giving the restaurants the opportunity to increase utilization.
  • Better allocation of staff time – serving guests already at the restaurant.
  • Increased bookings. In M&B’s case, 27,000 more bookings per week. That’s a staggering amount of increased revenue for a very small investment.

Don’t be fooled by the “people don’t use the phone anymore” hype. It’s simply not true if you look at the data and if you’re in the hospitality business, we suggest you talk to our friends at liveRES and see if they can help you out. Of course, we’re always here to help too!

Your friendly experts at iovox.

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