Why Text Messaging Matters in Hotel Industry

Why is the Need For Text Messaging?

Communication is the key to success and in every respect, transparent communication is the most sought after. Well, the hospitality business is no exception to this. Every hotelier has the ultimate aim to improve the quality of his business and gratify his customers to the greatest extent possible. For this, it is extremely important to know what’s trending and what is being liked/disliked by the customers. Ascertaining the customer opinion is crucial to the growth of a business. While there are various ways of doing it (surveys, feedback, etc.) one way that has now taken precedence over all the others is text messaging. Paving the way for having a clear-cut or transparent communication with the guests, this service starts right before a guest even arrives at the hotel. Hence it is significant and comes with multifarious benefits.

Research shows an astonishing open rate, resting at 98% for SMS in comparison to only 20% for emails. This suggests that people are much more inclined to take notice of a text than an email thus making it one of the most efficient ways to get in touch with others. Again, it takes the average person only 90 seconds to respond to a text message, a stark difference to the average 90 minutes it takes to reply to an email.

In fact, messaging has been termed as “the new language of the globe.”

"Messaging has been termed as "the new language of the globe."

Nearly 80% of consumers prefer to communicate with a business via text, and 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt. Again, another Forbes article entitled "Millennials Hate Phone Calls, And They Have A Point" stresses much upon the importance of text messages and emails in comparison to a "15 minute phone call to convey two lines of information" which is simply "a waste of time."

This suggests that people are much more inclined to take notice of a text than an email thus making it one of the most efficient ways to engage with guests and potential customers.

Despite the various ways devised to offer the guests an impeccable experience, things may sometimes go haywire. A disgruntled customer is likely to revert with a negative review flashing their disappointment with the service. So before that happens, it’s important for every hotelier to look for a way through which they can prevent this thing from happening. Here, the text messaging comes into picture by allowing the hoteliers to know what guests are expecting from them and what can be done about improving their hotel message business. However, the advantages of text messaging service are many as this feature has a wider scope and greater benefits.

The Benefits of Text Messaging

• It allows ascertaining customer opinion and expectations.

• It helps to have a straightforward and transparent communication with the guests for understanding their requirements better.

• It starts way before the guests’ arrival at your hotel and can be deployed smoothly at all the different stages: Pre-Arrival, Check-in, Mid-Stay, Check-out, and Post-checkout.

• It prevents the customers from posting negative reviews to a great extent by allowing convenient engagement, mid-stay feedback and service recovery

• It aids in streamlining customer service efforts and minimizes the number of disgruntled customers.

• It helps to know your guests better and personalize their experience.

• It makes giving feedback easy for guests during the stay.

• It minimizes the chance of messing things up or going wrong in terms of service and guest experience.

• It helps boost marketing results and revenue.

• Again, it promotes brand loyalty by enhancing the guest experience.

• It is automated, instant and therefore, less time-consuming.

• It helps to engage with the guests at every touchpoints.

• It is a two-way communication process which allows the guests to request whatever they want without really depending on the front-desk assistance and wasting their own time standing there waiting:

For instance,

If a guest is relaxing by the pool and wants a beverage, they can simply text the hotel. Or if someone wants to dine at the in-house restaurant, they can simply text the hotel to book a table for them.

• It makes the stay hassle-free or at least, less stressful.

• You can actually personalize your guests’ experience by integrating your text-messaging service with a PMS which will lend out some unique information about your guests. For example, if a newly-wed or honeymoon couple is staying with you, can send them offers regarding an experience- couple spa, romantic dinner, etc.. You can surely up-sell this way and allow the guests to partake in the amenities and services that can help enhance their experience.

• It allows to gauge the guest experience and helps resolve any issues that might have cropped up during the stay.

• It is a speedy process that decreases the dependency on man-power.

• Even the guests can request a special service from the hotel via the text message like the recommendation for restaurants, ordering a taxi, what’s happening around, information on sightseeing and guide, etc.

• Lastly, it is something that goes beyond the time-consuming phone calls and widens the communication channels.

How Hotels Can Use Text Messaging Service to their Advantage

Hotels can use text message service extensively for greater connectivity and to provide the best possible experience to their customer. From that viewpoint, there are two categories of text messages that hotels use to serve their purpose:

1) Experience-Based or Value Added Messages

2) Promotional Messages

A hotelier looking to impress his guests to earn a positive review from them can opt for a text-messaging service. This can be deployed at all the different stages in various ways so that the constant communication with the guest is maintained and things could be improved as per the guests’ expectations and preferences.

Speaking about that, there are three master phases in the guests experience cycle which are also called the three touchpoints of guest experience journey:

1. Pre-Arrival Stage

2. Mid-Stay Stage

3. Post Check-Out Stage

Text Messaging at Pre-Arrival Stage

1) Booking Confirmation Message

Once a customer books with you, you can send them a welcome email. Again, a welcome text-message on their phone confirming their booking status will work wonders:

For instance,

“Thank you for choosing us. We would like to confirm your reservation at *Arnold World Hotel (hotel name)* between *arrival date* and *departure date*. For more details on your booking, please visit *the URL.* We hope you will enjoy your stay and we look forward to welcoming you!”

2) Reminder Message

As the reservation date comes nearer, you can also send them reminders. They will surely cherish them:

For instance,

“Trust you’re doing fine! This is a gentle reminder regarding your reservation at *Arnold World Hotel (hotel name)* between *arrival date* and *departure date.* For more upgrades and special services, you can contact us by visiting *the URL.* We are looking forward to your arrival!"

3) Brochure/Guide Over the Phone Message

That being said, you would want to acquaint your guests better with your hotel and amenities offered before they make a selection about the upgrades and add-ons.

You can use the text messaging to send the hotel brochure over the phone:

For instance,

"Hi Jennifer. We are looking forward to your stay. Want to know us better? Click on the link below to learn about the amenities, request special service, learn about the area and more."

Text Messaging at On-Arrival/Mid-Stay Stage

1) Welcome Text

A welcome message as soon as the guest arrives will surely make their day:

For instance,

Hi Jennifer. Welcome to Arnold Wold Hotel. Your WiFi is HappyGuest. Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 9:30 AM. We also have Happy Hour for our guests everyday from 5pm-10pm. Feel free to text us here if you have any questions. Enjoy your stay!"

-Stella Buchanan, Front Desk Staff

2) Mid-Stay Feedback Message

Again, a survey or feedback message to check-up on what’s going on with them and how are they liking their first experience or impression. This can be done a day or night before their check-out. This makes the guests feel elated about the fact that you have not really forgotten them even after the check-in.

For instance,

“Thank you for choosing to stay with us. We hope that you are doing well. If there’s a special service that you require, please feel free to drop us a text. Again, we would really appreciate if you just take a minute to provide your feedback (or fill this survey form) to help us know your requirements better. Take care!”

3) Complementary Facilities Message

If you have a complementary facility, let’s say a welcome drink that the guests can relish, you can notify them via the text-message.

For instance,

“Welcome to the Arnold World Hotel. Once you’re settled, head over to the lounge on the second floor for a complimentary glass of wine and Hors d'oeuvre"

4) Giving out Valuable Information Message and Answering Guests’ Questions

Nowadays, you can provide your guests with some useful information easily over the text-message when requested. You can text them the gym timings, breakfast timings, Wi-Fi passwords, area information, etc. With AI and Machine learning, you can automatically answer common questions as well to save time.

Text Messaging at Check-Out Stage

1) Goodbye Message

It is time to bid your guests goodbye! So a goodbye message stating your hope to serve them again would be wonderful:

For instance,

“Thank you for choosing to stay with us. We hope you had a wonderful stay. Your bill *reference ID* has been paid in full. We look forward to the pleasure of hosting you once more.”

2) Feedback/Recommendation Message

Your goodbye message will be followed by a subtle and polite request for feedback. Remember, to keep it natural. Otherwise, it will come across as annoying:

For instance,

“Thank you for choosing us. Hope you had a great time! We would be extremely glad if you just take a moment to share your experience with us on* the link.* We hope to see you again!”
-Joe Smith, General Manager                                                                    

General Scenarios

1) Birthday Message

You can keep a track of your valued guests who have opted in for promotional and give out special offers or discounts to them on their special day via the text message:

For instance,

“Happy birthday, Jennifer! On your special day, we  are gifting you a 30% discount on your next stay which must be redeemed by the end of this month.”

2) Extended Stay or Late Check-Out Message

You can also make additional income out of extended stays or late check-outs. For instance, text messaging can be made to allow you to know what rooms are vacant for the day on the basis of which your staff will be able to provide late check-out or extended stay facility to the guests desiring it the most. This way you can gain additional income out of that.

3) Thank You Message to the Customer Opting for a Particular Service

If your guests have opted for a service, thank them for using it and also use this as an opportunity to gain quick feedback. But make sure not to make it sound annoying and clingy as the guests might opt-out if they find it so:

For instance,

“Thank you for using our Spa Service. Hope you enjoyed it! We would really appreciate your quick feedback on how we may improve it…”

4) Room Status Message

If the room status changes in the PMS, hotels can notify the guests that their room is ready via the text-messaging.

5) Special Discount Message

With the text-messaging service, you have the chance of notifying your customers about the special discounts and best deals. Again, you can give them a booking or experience discount:

For instance,

"Dear Jennifer! Thank you for making a reservation of the Superior Suite for *date*. If you wish to dine at the hotel restaurant, reserve a table today and receive a 15% discount on your bill. Your booking reference ID is *XXXX.* See you!”

6) ‘Miss You’ Message

For the lost-clients, the text message will be an effective way to re-establish the connection:

For instance,

“We miss you, Jennifer! We are giving out a special discount of 25% on the second night of stay. Call us on *number* to book. Offer expires in 30 days.”

Personalized Promotional Messages

Even Promotional Messages carry a lot of weight and help to enhance the overall guest experience. Also this category of messages allows the scope for the guest to connect back with you in the future.

1) Upgrading the Stay Message

Once again, room upgrade messages could be sent to the customers via the text message which can help them make the desired selection, if at all they considering an upgrade.

For instance,

"Hey Jennifer! We would love to add an extra touch to your stay. For a spectacular upgrade, you can contact us by visiting *the URL.*"

2) Discount and Best Deal Message

Who doesn't love discounts? You can notify your customers further about the festive discounts and best deals which can be a strategic selling tactic and at the same time be effective in forging brand loyalty:

For instance,

"Hey Jennifer. Hope you're doing great. We are giving out a discount of 10 percent on your next stay. You can click on *the URL* to avail it. Offer expires in 30 days."

3) Early or Online Check-in Message

A quick check-in is great but online check-in is even better. If you have that facility, you can surely promote it to the customers to make their arrival spot-on:

For instance,

"Hi Jennifer. We look forward to your arrival on *date* at *time.* For a hassle-free experience, you can click on *the URL* for a quick online check-in. Hope to see you soon!"

4) Subscription Message

From a promotional viewpoint, you can also message the customers to subscribe to your newsletter and email updates for the latest news and best deals:

For instance,

Hey Jennifer! We miss you! To know more about our best deals and discounted offers, you can subscribe to our email updates and newsletter. To subscribe, click on *the URL*"

5)Special Facilities /Spa reservation Message

While messaging in this case will acquaint the new customers with the facilities provided by you, even the old customers can stay tuned by knowing the new facilities and upgrades that you have started providing to the guests. For instance, if you have recently inaugurated the spa facility, you can simply notify them by texting:

For instance,

"Hi Jennifer. We are giving out a 10 percent off on our spa service. If you wish to reserve the service, please click on *the URL*"

[Note: Although there are two categories of messages that a hotel is likely to send to its customer but again, these categories are not fixed as it might be sometimes confusing to ascertain what falls under which segment. In other words, it depends upon the text and the idea behind that. Also, care should be taken while sending out promotional messages as it is advisable to send it only to those guests who have opted for it. Going overboard with this might come across as bit exasperating and might just make it a bit troublesome for the  other guests.]

A Few Template Text Messages

One day before a guest’s arrival, invite your guests to fill in a pre-stay form so that you can prepare their arrival and sell them your additional services:

For instance,

“Dear Mr. Smith, your stay at the *Hotel’s Name* begins tomorrow. Please fill in this form to help us prepare your stay…”

On the morning of their arrival:

For instance,

“Hello Jennifer. Our team is looking forward to welcoming you today from 2 pm onwards. You can revert to us with any questions you may have.”

Just a simple message regarding a service during their stay:

For instance,

“Dear guest, please find our restaurant menu below:…”

Text messaging is certainly a digital evolution that has modified the way the hotel industry works to elevate the guest experience. It is, in fact, the crucial piece of a bigger puzzle. So whatever messaging service you use, make sure that it has the capacity to connect with your customers and allow them to connect with you in return, so as to provide them with a wonderful pre, on and post-arrival stay.

Looking for an efficient, real-time guest messaging service? With GuestTouch, you can easily communicate with your guests and potential customers at all stages of their journey. You can also communicate with potential customers on your website with cutting edge WebChat. We offer a  beautifully designed, and simple to use AI powered communication platform that enables personalized guest experiences, operational excellence, and increased revenue.

Need help? You can find us here!

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Posted on
November 18, 2019

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