The Value of a Contact Center

Megan Becker, Manager of Hiring and Training, Reservations, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. 

The first time I heard the term cost center was about a year into my time working as a Reservations Agent. I remember feeling slightly offended. I had always considered working in a Reservations department (now more widely referred to as contact centers) to generate revenue rather than leeching funds. To hear a term that made it sound as if we (collectively, in contact centers around the world) added no value to a company was jarring.  

Contact centers add an incredible amount of value to organizations, especially when compared to their digital counterparts. Websites show pictures and videos, while the contact center agents paint pictures with words.  Guests are limited to the pricing, photos, and descriptions uploaded to the website when booking online. Online, it can be difficult to appreciate the nuances of a property, the difference in a deluxe and premium room, for example, or why the suite or package is worth the extra cost. Contact center representatives bring that expertise to the interaction: they can recommend upgraded rooms, packages, and additional amenities but also add value to each option. These special touches make the guest’s trip even more memorable.  

In 2022, Hospitality Net noted that 90% of travelers expect a personalized experience when they book a hotel. While websites cannot provide that, a person absolutely can. Agents can review a guest’s previous history if they are a return visitor to make recommendations and better understand their needs and wants to plan intriguing itineraries and reserve the optimal accommodations. 

Contact center staff can also provide customer service support in various ways, whether assisting with online accounts or resolving opportunities after a guest has departed. This action keeps the on-property team members available for in-house guests.  

Team members are the eyes and ears of the organization. They see booking trends and hear feedback from guests and callers, including those who decide not to make a reservation. They have information about why guests cancel stays and what they want to see. This market intelligence allows revenue, operations, and marketing teams to adjust as needed to provide more attractive offers, events, and insider tips. Organizations should ensure avenues exist for contact center teams to share these insights. 

A contact center team member is a cheerleader for your brand – the ultimate brand ambassador! They have extensive knowledge of the rooms, packages, and offerings available to the guest. These staff members skillfully represent the brand throughout their interactions. They care about the guest’s experience and the company’s success, so they weave sales techniques and empathy to ensure everyone wins. This simply can’t be replicated online, but team members can overcome objections and address guests’ specific needs to ensure they have the best experience possible in the interaction and have positive feelings toward the brand after the call ends.  

Experience, expertise, and insight: these traits are readily available in your contact center representatives. They know how to de-escalate situations, find win-win outcomes, provide excellent service, and communicate effectively. They tend to understand the business, solve problems, and be empathetic. Because they already understand the company culture, are well-versed in the details of the properties they represent and possess so many skills that can be applied to various roles and situations, these valued team members make great candidates for future growth opportunities, saving valuable time and money when it comes to hiring future leaders. 

Contact centers are not cost centers; they are value centers. Investment in these teams pays off in additional revenue, customer loyalty, dedicated and engaged employees and future leaders. 

To learn more about HSMAI’s Contact Center Special Interest Group, visit 

Categories: Sales
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