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Delta Vacations Sales Distinction

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Delta Vacations, Minot, ND
Entry Submitted By: MLT Vacations
Company Description: Delta Vacations, managed by MLT Vacations, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines and one of the largest providers of vacation packages in the United States. Delta Vacations has been in the vacation business for more than 45 years. Delta Vacations, offers travelers convenient, one-stop shopping for custom-designed vacation packages to more than 300 of the world’s top leisure destinations.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Distinction Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Distinction of the Year - Hospitality & Tourism

Nomination Title: Delta Vacations Sales Distinction

Tell the story about what this nominated organization achieved since the beginning of July 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes: TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

Anyone can book a vacation online. So why would they take the time to call into a reservations center to book that same vacation? And why would they call again when they’re ready to book another vacation?

Why Delta Vacations?

Repeat customers tell us the reason they keep coming back is due to one thing – our Customer Engagement Center (CEC) located in Minot, ND, which employs over 300 employees dedicated to providing outstanding sales and customer service support.

Employees at the CEC share a singular focus - to ensure our customers have the best vacation experience possible, period.

When we started to create a culture to recognize people who are passionate about sales, the results were immediate and extraordinary. In the past, our Reservations team was made up of employees in a generalized sales/service agent role. In 2012 we used performance data to identity those employees with a propensity for sales and moved them to a new sales-focused role, leaving everyone else to focus on service.

Our close rate jumped, which we attributed to being able to route all new sales calls directly to the sales agents. We have increased our close rate year over year since, from a close rate of 13.9% in 2012 to a close rate of 28.4% in 2017 - an improvement of 204%!

Distinguishing between sales and service also meant we could change our hiring model. In 2016 we moved from hiring into sales roles to hiring into service roles. Employees hired into service roles who demonstrate an aptitude for selling are then provided an opportunity to move into sales positions.

We are thoughtful & innovative

We approach each opportunity to grow our employees’ product and destination knowledge through thoughtful and innovative methods.

Each year, our sales and service agents spend a week in one of our destinations to learn about partner hotels, interact with in-destination representatives, and experience that destination’s unique features. They bring this knowledge back and use it to provide personal recommendations specific to each customer’s wants and needs.

In addition, each calendar year more than 50 destination experts travel to Minot to meet face-to-face with our employees to showcase what is new and exciting about their hotels or destinations.

All of this product and destination training empowers our employees to be able to answer with confidence that they ARE the right person to talk to when a customer asks, “Have you been there?” This fosters a relationship with our customer that is built on trust.

We upgraded the tools to maximize our employees’ selling opportunities

Last year we introduced a new in-house built reservations booking system, Navigator, replacing a 20+ year old DOS system. Navigator has a web-based graphical interface that users of current computer technology are more familiar with compared to the command-line driven DOS system. The new system provided enhanced tools for employees that they can use seamlessly while interacting with customers.

These tools included:

  • A variety of product filtering options , including keywords and attributes, which result in quickly addressing customer priorities
  • Enhanced destination and product images including a hotel comparison tool to drive upsell opportunities
  • Alerts for required advisements and policy information that, if not communicated, could potentially result in negative customer experiences and put at risk our company at risk for fines

We believe this focus on development of sales experts, destination knowledge, and the right technology make the difference for us when it comes to booking vacations. This difference is what makes our sales story so distinctive and why we believe Delta Vacations should win the award for “Sales Distinction of the Year.”