On Hold Marketing: Profitable On Hold Messages!

On hold marketing is growing in popularity as hotel operators look to monetise the time it takes for a potential guest to get through to a telephone operator. But creating that perfect on hold message can be a challenge.

We speak to Mark Williamson, sales and marketing director for PH Media, and ask why hoteliers should pay close attention to on hold marketing.

Note: Click here to hear an example On Hold Marketing track from PH Media

hotel-industry.co.uk: What is “on-hold marketing” and what can it do for hoteliers?

Williamson: It is inevitable that callers are placed on hold or transferred in a business environment.
Businesses place a lot of emphasis on their visual appearance but what can often be overlooked is how a business sounds. For example, research has discovered the average business will spend 94 per cent of their marketing budget getting people to phone in but only six per cent handling that call when it does come in.

What callers hear when they are placed on hold or transferred is very important. If they are forced to listen to beeps, silence or poor quality music, then it may adversely affect their perception of your business. Telephone messaging is an important aspect in how your brand is presented, so it is important to consider if your service represents an image that accurately reflects your business.

By providing a series of short pieces of information, designed to inform, engage and entertain callers, you can improve call retention, and the up-sell and cross-sell of products. Furthermore, research has shown 60 per cent of callers will be sat in front of the computer so a message directing them to your website can help them quickly find necessary information and have a serious impact on web traffic. This on-hold space is a medium that simply cannot be ignored.

Think about how a business sounds, is the voice and music used congruent to that business, brand and is it consistent across all touch points?

hotel-industry.co.uk: Can on-hold marketing improve the guest experience?

Williamson: On-Hold Marketing can set expectations for a guest when buying into a hotel stay. If they are greeted on the phone with poor quality music, silence or beeps, this could leave the guest expecting a low standard of service during their stay.

If greeted with a professionally scripted, voiced and produced auto-attendant message that is brand congruent, the caller is more likely to feel welcomed by a professional and friendly hotel.

By using On-Hold Marketing to up-sell to your callers, you can offer promotions on breakfast, access to the spa, table bookings for evening meals or drinks promotions in the bar. All of a hotel’s facilities combined will help to offer a guest the best possible experience and 20 per cent of callers are likely to make a buying decision while on hold.

hotel-industry.co.uk: What are the challenges of integrating on-hold marketing into the hotel brand?

Williamson: Logistically speaking, the process is very simple – a professional engineer will install the equipment in no time, usually in under an hour.

In terms of the audio being brand congruent, we have a tried and tested process that will help you choose the best voiceover and music to represent your brand. We’ve made it very easy without compromising the outcome.

hotel-industry.co.uk: Is it easy to measure the ROI of an on-hold marketing campaign/product?

Williamson: You can certainly test it by having an offer that is unique to your on-hold marketing. This way anyone who asks for that offer has plainly only heard it while on hold.

It would not represent best practice to follow this method long-term, however. Greatest yield is always achieved through an integration of all marketing channels, reinforcing your brand identity through each touch point.

It is useful to test on-hold marketing in order to gain a better understanding of which messages work best and which offers are more appropriate. But ROI can be maximised through repetition and reinforcement of core messages across all platforms

hotel-industry.co.uk: How do you envisage on-hold marketing developing in coming years?

Williamson: In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses are always looking for an edge – a way to increase profits and bolster their brand.

More and more businesses are realising on-hold marketing can help them increase the amount of time a customer is willing to wait on hold, improve customer satisfaction and increase customer spend.

Considering all of these factors together, it is easy to see why on-hold messaging can play such a crucial role in a firm’s overall marketing strategy.

As a business, PH Media has grown year-on-year for the past decade and we are confident that’s because the product is strong and businesses are getting to grips with the benefits it can offer.

Click here to hear an example On Hold Marketing track from PH Media

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