What's in it for me?
A short and sweet article sailing through the various stages of hotel guest journey in order to harp on the importance of lead collection, right from the initial stage when the visitors establish their first ever contact with you, through your hotel website. Talking at length about how to use guest messaging for immense lead generation, it also highlights the benefits of integrating your website messaging with chatbots/WebChat. Here you can find more ideas on how to retain and convert leads into customers by deploying guest messaging for your property.
The average cart abandonment rate for travel is higher, at 81.31%
Technology presents an opportunity for hotels to reach out and connect with their target audience as long as they know how to use the potential that comes with it. Improving communication lines, responding to your customers' needs, proactively interacting with customers, and keeping them informed should be prioritized. Creating an accessible platform for your customers is the need of the hour.
As a result, technology has helped come up with tools to meet your target audience at the right place, right time, the right way, and with the right kind of communication. Leads can come from multiple sources but retaining those leads and capturing them to be able to turn them into customers at a later stage is what the modern technical tools aid in!
Hence, the emphasis is on delivering the guests the best possible experience by utilizing the wide array of modern technologies that are on offer. The emergence of tools such as chatbots and guest messaging to collect leads has revolutionized the hospitality industry and made things easier for hoteliers, thereby helping immensely in the overall lead attraction, retention, and increased generation.
The hoteliers or people working in the hospitality industry can make use of smart technology in hotels or solutions that arm them and power them with efficient, unique, and personalized customer service. This can further help in attracting and retaining hotel guests and increasing revenue. From a marketing perspective, technology allows hotels to target their prospects and customers better. A basic manifestation of this is the hotels reminding business guests about their meeting room schedules, targeting specific groups, such as those who have arrived for a convention, with special deals or offers, and more. The ability to connect with targets in real-time reduces marketing costs while increasing effectiveness at the same time.
Regarded indeed as a boon or marvel of the modern era, guest messaging works wonders for hotels when it comes to collecting leads. The ultimate aim of every hotelier is to improve service quality and provide a top-notch experience to their guests. Well, guest messaging seems to have enhanced the hotel’s productivity by spending less time doing the actual sending and more time communicating. Automating guest messaging at your hotel helps in communicating with guests- pre-arrival. on arrival, during the guests’ stay, and at departure, taking care of your entire hotel guest journey messages. You can apply the time saved to have more meaningful interaction, thus streamlining staff operations and improving the overall guest experience.
Before we dive into how you can use guest messaging to collect leads for your hotel, it is pertinent to penetrate deeper into customer psychology- a vital aspect for every business. Planning a vacation is like planning a dream for the guests and they would go to any lengths to make sure that nothing goes out of sync during this time. Right from researching to booking a stay, everything needs to be prim and proper.
Let’s just say for most of the folks, the guest journey begins from the moment the guests arrives at a hotel. But we’ll beg to differ by highlighting the truth in bold- guest journey begins way before this, right from the pre-booking stage, where the guests are still researching their travel options and searching for a suitable accommodation. Yes, your online channels and your website thus act as the first meeting point between you and your guests, allowing you to release your true potential in presenting possibly everything that can help capture the guests’ attention to book a stay with you. Hence deploying guest messaging at this stage will be a sure-shot way of starting with the process of lead collection.
81.6%* of online travel bookings are abandoned according to a survey – worth an estimated $1.78 trillion!
One of the Reasons: Extreme Delay In Getting A Response During the Pre-Booking Stage
The primary aim behind using guest messaging to collect leads is to attract potential guests to your website and increase traffic as much as possible. However, an increase in website traffic does not necessarily mean an increase in bookings. In fact, the opposite stands true in most cases. Customers invest a lot of time in searching for their dream destination and ideal accommodation. Widespread digitization has provided the opportunity for hoteliers to secure leads and engage their potential guests at the very initial stage- the first point of contact. If you are able to engage your potential guests and solve their queries at this stage, it is more likely that they are going to book your hotel and provide you an opportunity to serve them.
That is exactly where you need to enlist the help of Guest Messaging to collect leads by treating it as a vital part of your hotel marketing strategy. This helps to create a great first impression on your guests by instantly responding to their queries.
Guess what? This personalized interaction can help you score well, providing you a chance of converting your potential visitors into customers because personalized communication is acting as one of the driving forces here. It is high time that hotel businesses adopt a strategy that includes an interactive guest platform like AI chatbot or virtual assistants. The need for a customer engagement platform is thus necessary for you to surge ahead of the rate race and establish your presence in the virtual domain along with the reputation of providing an excellent guest experience.
It seems you’re on the right track!
The idea is to expedite communication and, in turn, keep the visitors on your website hinged by providing them swift and prompt replies. This cannot be done manually, of course! To convince the website visitors to try your services which, in simple terms here, means booking a stay with your hotel, you need to automate things by deploying the modern tools. Deploying a WebChat for your hotel website is what will help you get started. Through this website messaging, you can get to speak directly with potential guests or assist them automatically with an AI Chatbot, 24/7.
The collective shift towards private messaging means hotels must adapt and fast. But, to be truly effective and operationally efficient, messaging needs support from other structures like a chatbot, automation, AI, and data analytics, to provide the service level expected and collect the information to improve hotel operations going forward. AI-enabled chatbots are gaining more and more popularity in automating repetitive tasks across different businesses. The global chatbot market is expected to reach USD 1.25 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 24.3%.
Something we have learned over time is that information drives every single part of the guest’s journey. Guests have many (many) questions and expect correct, quick answers whether researching for their next stay, in the phase leading up to the stay once they have booked, or while they’re still on site. Guests that can’t get the information they need will not book a hotel, guests that can’t get the assistance they need when they need it will be dissatisfied. We live in an age where we don’t write down things in our notebooks anymore. We just get our smartphones out and grab information, then and there.
Chatbots have been an emerging hospitality technology trend for several years, but the importance of this option is only growing, especially as customers now demand swift answers to questions at all times of the day. Hotels and restaurants will also often attract queries from people in different time zones, so having staff available is difficult. A good chatbot will answer the most common questions without the need for any human involvement. In more advanced cases, the chatbot can obtain information from the customers and then pass the query on to a human agent at the earliest opportunity, while also providing them with access to what the customer has said. The best part about the modern WebChat is that it answers requests right from the Guest Messaging interface, thereby assisting a solution like Guest Messaging to collect leads in a wholesome way!
With the perfect integration, your guests can get involved in a conversation with a chatbot which can also be carried on through their smartphones. This will eliminate the hassle of staying online and keeping the chat window open 24/7 on the part of the guests, just to carry on the conversation. They can very well receive a response and continue to chat through their smartphones. It’s as simple as that!
Hotels can increase their website conversions with chatbots which when integrated with Guest Messaging can allow your website visitors easier access to engage with you through the on-the-go website messaging. In a way, the first impression or interaction with the guests can be personalized itself, thereby setting the stage for conversion and making them aware of what all your brand is capable of.
“The odds of successfully contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times. The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times.”
Moral of the story: The faster you do it, the better!
The element of integrated guest messaging to collect leads is bound to provide a satisfactory guest experience which, in turn, might lead to increased bookings. During the initial planning phase of the journey, travelers are viewing immense amount of content and spend a long time sifting through information whilst researching their options. Once they’ve chosen a destination, robust hotel descriptions, compelling imagery, and information on nearby points of interest all influence a hotel booking decision.
The pre-booking stage if done right through guest messaging can actually pique the interest of these leads and lead them to the final call to action which is one of booking a stay with you. In a way, due to the advancement in technology, messaging can now be combined with chatbots or WebChat on hotel websites as well as the other computer programs to simulate conversation with human users through AI. This is crucial for saving time and expediting the process, thereby providing a flawless, seamless, and personalized booking experience.We are all well aware of the different phases of the guest journey mapping which when combined with guest messaging can provide your guests a memorable guest experience. However, the journey of seeking a perfect accommodation starts way before the pre-arrival stage. Preferences and choice of the guests can be affected by many factors, including previous experiences with the hotel, advertisement, word of mouth referral by friends and colleagues, location, travel agent booking, hotel name, hotel loyalty program membership, etc.
You can easily increase the conversion rates by employing integrated guest messaging services. Understanding how to connect with your audience is critical for improving your brand image and brand awareness. The rise of speech- and text-based assistants has hugely impacted the way customers want to communicate and be served by brands, especially in hospitality. The benefits of chatbots/Webchats are seemingly endless, especially when paired with AI capabilities that expand and strengthen their functionality.
Again, the consumers today are always short on time and patience. No one wants to be kept on hold endlessly by a hotel receptionist. Using guest messaging to collect leads provides a convenient, conversational interface that engages customers and solves their problems immediately. And they do so in multiple languages! There is a definite, positive impact of chatbots combined with messaging on both the consumer and the hotels using them. This technology enables hotels to provide a superior customer experience while saving on staff costs. An integrated product lays the foundation for resolving some of the commonplace queries also quite easily by means of the general FAQS under categories like breakfast, shuttle, location, etc.
• It offers information at your customers’ fingertips: Customers usually have a host of queries regarding the hotel and other frequently asked questions. The queries of the customers may range from a wide variety of issues from something as obvious as the room availability, asking about shuttle service, the type of breakfast to weather details, exact location, value-added services, etc. A lightning response from your end is often enough for the customers to book your hotel.
• It caters to multiple requests in an instant: As a hotelier, you naturally want to provide flawless, immediate services to your clients to save their time. Guest messaging enables you to satisfy a number of consumers by promptly acting on varied requests. Glitch-free direct bookings, easy check-ins, and check-outs are now a reality for customers. Without a doubt, the guest experience delivered is far superior, thanks to Artificial Intelligence. It provides 24x7 smart assistance and a communication gateway.
• It helps identify consumer needs: Conversations between customers and chatbots provide valuable insights into your guests’ habits and preferences. Knowing what they like, dislike, the trends they follow, and the information they constantly seek, helps the hotel make personalized recommendations. This enables you to have an accurate profile of your clientele. Using the data collected from messaging improves your services to a great extent. It allows you to customize your offers knowing that tailor-made promotions appeal to clients and foster loyalty.
• It helps in boosting customer engagement: Consumers are more willing to share their feedback in conversations compared to a form. Other approaches to collect reviews are far more time-consuming and much less effective. A healthy mixture of personalized suggestions and problem-solving by chatbots integrated with guest messaging boosts customer engagement. There is even a provision to reroute queries when the guest specifically requests a response from a live receptionist.
• It helps hoteliers gain insight into customer satisfaction before it appears on platforms such as TripAdvisor: This interactive medium is simple to monitor. It is also easy for hoteliers to solve any issue within a short turn-around time and maximizes customer satisfaction. The future of customer support lies in messaging as it enhances the experience of your patrons.
• It helps in boosting sales: Since guest messaging facilitates higher engagement with the guests right on the website, it also increases the chances of getting more direct bookings. If programmed in a certain way, it will respond with sale-provoking statements or suggestions and, if the recommendations are personalized, then the chances of conversion are higher. Eventually, this will help the hotels to get more revenue.
• It facilitates mobile bookings: These are becoming more popular and represent a large piece of the business mix for hotels. Today, mobile websites and apps offer an accessible, well-designed interface. In the past, many brands did not have a mobile-specific website and as a result, frustrated users quickly exited to potentially book on a third party channel. Today, most brands have optimized their mobile sites, to employ responsive designs. These mobile sites now aim to provide optimal viewing and interaction regardless of the device. Responsive design is becoming more vital as recent reports indicate that mobile traffic makes up more than half of all the internet traffic.
At the pre-booking stage, apart from an easier-for-all accessible website interface, the ability to solve the queries of your customers is critical for securing leads and converting them into bookings. However, the intermediate stage of customers seeking answers to their queries is what often leads them to the next stage of contemplating a booking at the hotel. A super-fast response from your end is often a stepping stone for the customers to book your hotel. An example of a use case chat has been provided below:
Visitor: Hi, I need to know if the property provides a shuttle service?
Chatbot/Live Agent: Thanks for reaching out! Please enter your name and mobile number below enabling us to solve your queries in no time. Thanks!
Chatbot/Live Agent: Hello, Maria! Yes, we do provide the shuttle service. And what dates would that be for?
Maria: Still considering the dates... But most probably, it'll be for the coming weekend! Could you please tell me the timings?
Hotel Bot/Agent: The timings may differ based on availability. You can click here to know about the route taken and the timings in detail and accordingly, we can coordinate.
Maria: Sweet! That’s very helpful. Thank you!
While the pre-booking stage is the primary stage for lead collection and conversions, how you perform throughout the guest journey to expand your customer base is equally crucial for future lead generation and collection. There is no such adage called "once a customer, always a customer." To make it happen, you will need to be constantly striving hard. This can be done through a meticulous deployment of guest messaging to collect leads at every stage for a delightful and unforgettable guest experience.
To help you with that, here a few ways of interacting with guests at every step of the journey. Although these stages have been dealt with in detail in our other articles, a brief mentioning is important here to show how a fully satisfied customer can also act as a significant 'lead' in giving out referrals and recommending your business to others:
"Hello Ursula, thank you for choosing us as your vacation destination. We are looking forward to your upcoming reservation from June 15th to June 19th. Given the current crisis, we have also implemented a few measures by revising our policies and operations. For more details, please visit us on our website. We hope you enjoy your stay with us and look forward to welcoming you." 🎉🎉🎉
"It’s a pleasure having you here, Alice! Welcome to Hotel Lex. Your Wi-Fi password is Guest126. Your room is now ready. We have a handy concierge right on *the URL* to access the latest updates and information related to the amenities, special services, add-ons, food menu, on-site restaurant, weather details, things to do, etc. We wish you a pleasant stay"🎉🎉🎉
"It’s a pleasure having you here, Jonathan. We just wanted to follow up and ensure everything you need is in the suite and to your expectations. If anything is missing or you have some concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know."
"What's up, George? Thank you for trusting us with your stay during such difficult times. We hope you felt safe! We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to share your experience with us by filling out the following survey on *the URL.* We hope you had a fulfilling stay and with this, we also hope to see you soon!" ✈️✈️
In the hospitality industry, treating customers well is more than just a sales tactic. Customers turn to hotels and their competitors with high expectations right off the bat. So, if you want to take the lead you need to catch up on the latest hospitality marketing trends and innovate beyond them. All in all the idea is to show how utilizing modern tools like guest messaging can possess the immense potential to convert the leads into potential customers and later on, to your brand evangelists with insights and information that you procure by engaging at every step through guest messaging. This, in turn, can help earn customers for life and foster brand loyalty. With impressive hotel guest engaging strategies, the customers you have earned by deploying guest messaging to collect leads at every step can also act as the catalysts in securing further leads through the word-of-the-mouth, customer referrals, recommendations, repeat customers, etc. This can further help in enhancing your overall lead generation process. Well, the possibilities are just endless!
Customers can come in from anywhere- search results, website, other sales channels, maps, etc. You need to be prepared better to widen the avenues for them to reach out to you, unhindered! The good news is that we have now partnered with Google to help you collect leads from multiple entry points, drive more traffic, convert potential leads into customers and impress your guests with delightful conversation.
...We Have Now Partnered With
Google's Business Messages...
Try GuestTouch Messaging for free without any commitment or obligation! Book your 1:1 consultation with us by taking our free demo!
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