What’s in it for me?
Know what? Guest journey begins way before a guest even arrives at your doorstep! This is what makes ‘pre-arrival’ one of the most important and initial stages for the hotels to work on carefully and sincerely in order to provide a stellar experience during the rest of the guest journey. This guide will acquaint you with the pre-arrival concept by providing samples and examples along the line while dealing with the guests at this stage, right from confirming a reservation to scheduling a reminder message regarding their upcoming booking. In addition, there are sample messages attached for other stages of the guest journey for a holistic understanding of the guest messaging concept.
There is a radical change in the way the hospitality industry is operating today compared to the last decade. From shifting guests away from the front desk to favoring mobile check-in, it can be a lot for any organization to process and maintain consistency ― particularly right now as the guidelines and state regulations are subject to abrupt changes. The need for communication is increasing tenfold between the hotel leaders, employees, and guests, as everyone must navigate the ongoing uncertainty and changing societal norms. Keeping in tandem with the latest technological developments, hotels have begun to employ these tools to maximize their efforts to cater to the needs of modern-day travelers/guests. One of such tools that has increasingly become a significant and inseparable part of the hospitality industry is Guest Messaging. Though the utility of guest messaging is widely applicable, its integration with the guest mapping journey, specifically the starting stage with pre-arrival guest messages can truly help any hotel ensure a personalized and memorable experience.
Though not exactly the first stage in the guest journey cycle as the significance of pre-booking stage has started getting the maximum exposure in the world of customer journey mapping for hotels, pre-arrival can be regarded as one of the initial points of contact with the guests. It is one of the first stages and first impression of your hotel on the guests, as you and your crew gear up to set the stage for providing a wonderful welcome and an overall stellar experience to your guests. While a hotel heavily needs to invest in offline actions to prepare the stage better for a memorable stay experience, communication at this stage is equally important to help your guests look forward to a seamless experience at your property.
Before you wonder how to check-in guests in a hotel, you need to consider the things that need to be done at the pre-arrival. This is the preparation time where the guests will be gearing up for their upcoming trip after having received the booking confirmation from your end. This will enable them to pack accordingly, refine their itinerary, and gather the necessary documents with which they will be flying- prerequisites for a seamless guest arrival procedure.
Now that you know what is pre-arrival in hotel, you must proceed to create experience-oriented services that are associated with emotions. To create conscious and positive emotions for guests, the entire sensory spectrum (right from the pre-arrival guest cycle) must be activated, and verbal and non-verbal communication taken into account. Because only emotionally charged experiences succeed in anchoring themselves in the long-term memory of guests, creating guest satisfaction and loyalty, thereby generating a decisive competitive advantage.
Nowadays, the guests seek a personalized and hassle-free time from their vacation which can be easily done with guest messaging. To forge a meaningful experience that will resonate with the guests and turn them into fans for life, you should focus on authentic in-person interactions – and personalized communication. You need to have an in-depth understanding of consumer psychology and understand what motivates your customers – what their needs are, their hesitations, and concerns. Thanks to communication, especially through pre-arrival guest messages.
• Travel research and planning
• Booking the stay
• Post departure
Guests expect immediacy, whether it’s quick to search and book options, or respond to their pre-stay or in-stay inquiries, or dealing with cancellations. Hotels will need to use their staff service smartly to make sure guests’ requests are honored and hotel operations are seamless. Guest messaging solution gives the additional boost the hotels need to secure bookings, manage online check-in, and provide guest services digitally.
In all these different stages, the hotels communicate differently with their (potential) customers (for instance, pre-arrival guest messages at pre-arrival) and they have a different goal during all the stages. For the hotels, it is important to get more insights into what their customers’ experiences are during this journey. They need to make sure their customers feel like they are taken seriously and that they get a delightful and valuable experience out of it.
Identifying what your customers want and expect will increase customer value and customer satisfaction. By mapping the customer journey, the hotels can figure out what the most important touchpoints are, between them and their customers, and they could improve these by enhancing the customer experience with solutions for detected problems.
1. Booking confirmation from the hotel.
2. Both the necessary and additional details to make their stay easier- check-in time, online check-in facility (if any), itinerary, weather details, things to do and pack, amenities offered, hotel address, special services, details regarding the shuttle or transport service that the hotel offers, the facility of leaving their baggage with the hotel while they explore the city, local recommendations, etc.
3. Preferably, a personalized micro page or pre-arrival email wherein is listed all the relevant and useful information regarding their upcoming stay with the hotel, almost like literally helping the guests with “this is what you will need.” Smart hotels are resorting to pre-arrival guest messages to make things a lot easier.
4. A reminder for their upcoming reservation, preferably a day before their scheduled arrival.
5. Special services, if any to be booked at the very outset.
6. Instant and useful replies to some more travel-related queries through WebChat or SMS, WhatsApp (Guest Messaging), or guest self-service portal.
7. As the world moves more into the messaging realm, you can use direct messaging to announce upcoming food specials, or let guests know that their room is ready early—these little alerts can be customized accordingly to ease hectic travel situations.
Engagement with guests at every touchpoint especially at the pre-arrival stage can be achieved through pre-arrival guest messages via guest messaging along with providing a personalized guest experience and communication. Guest messaging can be an ideal alternative for human resources. In addition, guest messaging requires minimum resources and efforts but allows you to communicate with a bigger targeted audience and enhance engagement.
With Guest Messaging, you can do so much more in terms of sending out accurate pre-arrival guest messages:
Just like pre-arrival email to hotel guests, pre-arrival guest messages are extremely important:
“Hi Suzanne, thank you for choosing to stay with us. Your reservation has been confirmed. We are waiting for you on 30th June at 1 P.M. Please feel free to connect with us for any queries or special services. For more details on your booking, please visit *the URL.* We hope you will enjoy your stay and we look forward to welcoming you!”
As the reservation date comes nearer, you can also send them reminders. They will surely cherish them, alongside your preparation for guest arrival:
“How you doing, June? This is a gentle reminder to you regarding your booking with us on 30th June at 1 P.M. We look forward to welcoming you! ”
Your guests would love to know more about you- things you offer, special facilities, what’s happening in your neighborhood, top attractions nearby, value-added services, etc. So sending out a brochure can serve the purpose well. This is one of the great ways to acquaint your guests better with your hotel and the amenities offered before they make their choice:
“Hi, Jennifer! How about knowing each other a little better? Kindly click on *the URL* below to download our personalized brochure in a PDF format, directly in your inbox. In case if there’s a special service you would like to request, text us here and we’ll take care of the rest. See you real soon.”
Oftentimes, the guests before their arrival are seen requesting a particular service:
Hotel: Hi Joanna, we look forward to welcoming you on 18th June and got your request for the shuttle service. Please let us know your estimated arrival time to prepare ourselves better!
Joanna: Hey, I will be there by 5 pm. Thanks!:)
The goal of express check-in is simple: reduce line at the front desk by encouraging the guests to check-in from their mobile devices. In short, express check-in makes life easier for both your guests and your staff and has been resorted to extensively by the guests during COVID. So, if your hotel happens to roll out this service too, here is how to inform the guests about the same:
Hotel: Hi Mercy, hope things are going well for you. We would like to inform you that we now offer Express check-in to our guests with a loyalty program membership. Being a valuable member of this program, you can avail of this option by filling the form with your details on *the URL.*
Mercy: Sounds great, I’ll check it out!
Apart from this, these are sample messages that can be sent out on other stages:
“It’s a pleasure having you here, Anne! 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, Gerald. We just wanted to follow up and ensure everything you need is in the suite and to your expectation. If anything is missing or you have some concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know.” We wish you a pleasant stay”🎉🎉🎉
“How you doing, Amanda? 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!” ✈️✈️
Every hotelier aims to provide their guest a top-notch and unforgettable experience which requires a great understanding of the current trends and customer preferences. In the current context, personalization can be regarded as an important and integral aspect of the entire guest journey experience. This particular aspect can be greatly compounded by employing tools such as guest messaging, right from the pre-arrival. Pre-arrival experience is an essential touchpoint and needless to say, it is one of the foremost phases in the guest cycle which leaves the hotelier with a golden chance to appease his/her customers to the fullest even before they check-in. Pre-arrival guest messages have the power of their own and can yield wonderful results in establishing and upkeeping flawless communication with the guests by integrating seamlessly with your Hotel PMS.
Pre-arrival calls for preparing beforehand for your guests for a stellar guest experience. With GuestTouch Messaging, schedule pre-arrival guest messages either day before or on the very day of arrival, automate messages, expedite communication with message templates, save time, boost your operational efficiency, upsell, cross-sell, engage in delightful conversations for a personalized experience and boost revenue and room sales. Integrating well with your hotel PMS, let Guest Messaging work wonders at every stage for a perfect hotel guests journey,