This story begins during a global pandemic. Perhaps by the time you read this we will all be less concerned about covering our faces and social distancing, but for the foreseeable future, this is a critical part of life as we know it. What we all took for granted not so long ago -- the ability to hang out with our friends at a local pub, go to concerts or sporting events and, in particular, travel to anywhere, any time we pleased -- has become something we are now eagerly anticipating getting back to; the sooner the better!
Though the history of HotelBeds spans almost 20 years, the world’s leading bedbank — with over 180,000 hotels and a network of B2B travel buyers such as tour operators, travel agents, airline websites — the company has never before addressed a situation with such widespread implications as a global health crisis and its impact on the travel industry.
Although, no doubt, we have experienced an increase in the number of daydreams we’re having about booking our next vacation to some far off destination, the reality is that there has been a dramatic decrease in actual travel and bookings during recent months. During this time, HotelBeds has had to address these COVID-19 challenges, and has been leading the way in sharing critical information and accelerating recovery in the travel and tourism industry by hosting TravelTalk” webinars and participating in online travel industry forums.
The business side of travel during COVID-19
The pandemic has also had an impact on the way HotelBeds now conducts business with its partners and clients. The corporate website is currently offering comprehensive COVID-19 travel updates on existing travel bookings, future bookings, closure of destinations (due to certain country governmental mandates) and information on how to modify or cancel reservations. Likewise, COVID-19 has changed the way HotelBeds communicates with its suppliers and customers.
“In the current COVID environment, it’s important that we continue to communicate effectively,” said Paul Anthony, CIO at Hotelbeds Group. “Maintaining a close relationship with suppliers is important. But, as you can imagine, COVID has made in-person communications rather challenging. So we are now conducting a lot of what used to be face-to-face visits via calls, and surprisingly we are seeing our productivity improve. Being able to measure that increase of productivity by using the capabilities of the Vonage Contact Center solution is extremely valuable to us.”
With Vonage Contact Center, HotelBeds can determine how many calls per day are being made, who is making them, who is being called, which of the company’s teams seems to be having difficulties and more.
“We’re also seeing savings, having made this transition,” said Anthony. “Because, from a cost perspective, we can bring all of our calls together and we have, in essence, a virtual PBX in the cloud. In terms of our contact centre, we wouldn't have been able to do it without the Vonage solution. And to be honest, the fact that we're able to do it now has reset some of the teams’ mindsets about, do we really need to have large offices and conduct all of our calls on-premise? Vonage Contact Center has very much helped us.”