HotelBeds Chooses Vonage Contact Center to Help Tackle the Challenges of a Global Pandemic

During COVID-19, HotelBeds needed to transition to a remote working environment for their contact center and other personnel. The company needed to upgrade and migrate its telephony infrastructure to a single platform that integrated seamlessly with Salesforce. Vonage Contact Center with Salesforce Integration was the solution.

Luxury hotel in Greece overlooking the caldera of greek island santorini terrace with seaview vacation honeymoon
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Challenge

During COVID-19, HotelBeds needed to transition to a remote working environment for their contact center and other personnel. The company needed to upgrade and migrate its telephony infrastructure to a single platform that integrated seamlessly with Salesforce
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Solution

Vonage Contact Center with Salesforce Integration
Key

Results

HotelBeds transitioned to a remote working environment and now operates on a single, cloud-based contact center platform. Call answer times and answer rates have improved, costs have been reduced, and customers now benefit from greater call stability and audio quality

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, especially, 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 center, 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.” 

“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.”
Paul Anthony, Chief Integration Officer, HotelBeds Group

Helping Operations Smoothly Ride the COVID-19 Wave 

According to Marc Albert, Global Operations Director at Hotelbeds, Vonage has been extremely important on the operations side of the HotelBeds business.  “There was a seamless transition from what we had been using prior to deploying the Vonage platform. Vonage has helped lower our costs and has given our contact center people greater capabilities. During these times of COVID-19, most of our employees are working from home. But even when they are able to return back to the office, we are hearing a desire to have more people work from home. With Vonage Contact Center, this will be possible.”

The contact center sales team that Anthony refers to has, until recently, been focused on outbound calls made for the upselling and cross-selling of HotelBeds’ cruise, hotel and destination service products. But according to Albert, times are changing.  “Our sales people are now taking inbound calls from customers, and that was not typically the case. Now PCI compliance is one of the things that we need to consider.  It's not something we generally paid attention to, because our customers usually do the transactions for bookings either through payment APIs, our website, or on their own.”

Why Vonage Contact Center Was Chosen by HotelBeds

According to Paul Anthony, HotelBeds needed to improve their customer experience by deploying a single, scalable cloud contact center solution that would efficiently integrate with Salesforce.  “The CRM platform is such a cornerstone in our organization, and Vonage was the perfect fit.”

In June of 2020, HotelBeds announced that it completed an upgrade of the entire telephony infrastructure that supports its contact center, and involved the migration of all existing services onto a new cloud-based Vonage/Salesforce integration. The Vonage-based contact center now operates on a single platform and will offer customers:

  • Greater call stability

  • Improved audio quality

  • Significant decrease in number of dropped calls

  • Full integration with Hotelbeds’ CRM system, enabling the client’s details to automatically appear to the agent when receiving a call

  • Improved call answer times and call answer rates

  • Cost savings for clients via offering local rate telephone numbers 

In addition to the benefits listed above, Marc Albert claims that his company is now receiving high value from getting access to the rich customer data provided by the Vonage platform, from which agents can make personal connections through more channels than ever before. “Although we had already been using Salesforce as a CRM across sales, sourcing, operations, and some other parts of the business, now we are seeing the benefits to having something that, once integrated, provides us with a data repository from one single point of truth.”

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