Consumers are increasingly choosing to spend their money on experiences rather than on material goods as the ‘experience economy’ grows in popularity. This is fantastic news for anyone in the hospitality business, as spending on experiences such as dining out, traveling, and lodging is on the increase. The development of platforms such as Airbnb and Homestay has provided travelers with more options than they have ever had before when it comes to finding lodging in a new location. As a result, it is critical that hotels capitalize on the growing number of travelers by marketing their services effectively.
As smartphones become a more integrated part of our lives, an increasing number of people are conducting their vacation research on their smartphones. A mobile phone is used to start more than half of all vacations, and a mobile phone was used to finish 79% of the booking process. This demonstrates that not only is it critical for hotels to ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly, but it also represents a significant marketing potential for these establishments. We already know that travelers use their mobile phones to plan their trips, so it only makes sense that we promote tourist services directly to those who are already using smartphones to plan their trips.
Mobile messaging (SMS) has long been the most effective method for communicating with consumers directly to their mobile phones, with an astounding 98% open rate. This three-part series illustrates exactly how bulk SMS can be utilized at each point of the customer experience and how it can be used in particular by hotels to communicate with guests.
In the hotel industry, the goal is to fill rooms. If a hotel or motel has empty rooms, they’re not making as much profit as they could be. Since we already know that travelers are using their smartphones to book reservations, why not market directly to their devices?
SMS is a powerful tool that has proved to be effective in the marketing space. Industries all over the world have been taking advantage of the benefits of SMS marketing, and it’s time that hotels begin to do the same. Here are some examples of how SMS can be utilized in the hotel industry:
Reservations by SMS
Setting up a 2-way SMS service for your company can make it easier for guests to inquire about and make reservations for their upcoming stay. You may send an SMS confirmation with the booking details if they choose to make a reservation by phone or online, ensuring that they have access to all of the information they require right in the palm of their hand.
Improve the customer experience by sending a message to your guests a day or two before their scheduled arrival, reminding them of their upcoming visit to your establishment. Make sure to include a link to useful information, such as a Getting to the Hotel section that includes information on public transportation, car parking alternatives, Uber, taxis, and other options. If your hotel provides a driving service, make sure to mention the information in the message. Not only does this supply your guests with useful information, but it also advertises and enhances the sales of your pick-up service.
Two-way SMS, which allows visitors to send a text message for services surrounding your hotel, can relieve burden on your customer care team while also making it simple for them to arrange for essential services. For example, valet parking, concierge service, and room service are all available. Surveys have revealed that 52 percent of guests would prefer to text rather than talk on the phone for customer support!
Suggestions through SMS
Take your customer service to the next level by providing your guests with suggestions for the top events, restaurants, pubs, and activities in the area while they are on their vacation or business trip. Consider having a conversation with your guests upon arrival about the types of things they’ll be most interested in and tailoring your SMS message to their specific interests. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’re thinking of them, and in the hotel industry, providing a personalized client experience is crucial.
Allowing guests to check out by texting the front desk will streamline and simplify the check-out procedure for your establishment. You can also send transportation offers to your guests to assist them in getting to their next location, and they will depart with a positive impression of your establishment!
Responses through SMS
The importance of having a positive online reputation is more vital than ever in today’s digital marketplace, where travelers frequently have an overwhelming number of hotel options and book online based on reviews of those accommodations. Sending your customers a text message asking them to rate their experience at your hotel will help you improve your web profile. Encourage them to post a review if they had a good time during their stay. It’s also possible to provide an incentive to do so, such as a discount on their next visit, to encourage them to do so. The opportunity to address their concerns and attempt to solve the situation reduces the likelihood of them venting their frustrations on a public forum such as the internet.
Advertising with text messages (SMS)
Offer your leaving customers a discount on their next stay to encourage them to come back to you. You should make the offer valid across the board if you have a chain of hotels, so that you can cover them in numerous locations.
SMS Loyalty Programs
Customer loyalty programs are one of the most effective methods of retaining and rewarding customers, increasing revenue, and accelerating growth. Interestingly, according to a survey conducted by Emarketer, SMS is preferred by more than twice as many individuals as the next most popular category, email.
Using SMS, you can keep your customers informed at every stage of their hotel customer journey. Customers are satisfied, costs are kept down, employees are free, and evaluations are positive as a result of this strategy.
How to Get the Most Out of SMS Marketing for Hotels
Concentrate on gathering information about visitors.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “data is the new oil.” And the hotel industry is like a sea, with a wealth of information about its guests.
In fact, for hotels, there are a variety of sources from which to gather information, such as:
- Booking history is kept on file.
- Memberships in loyalty programs
- Inbound phone calls, email, and WhatsApp inquiries from website visitors
- Social networking outlets are available.
Then you may use it to commence your SMS marketing campaign by creating various lists based on the guest segmentation you’ve identified.
SMS marketing can be automated with the help of a chatbot.
SMS marketing is one of the many marketing jobs that are now automated, and it is one of the most popular. Nonetheless, only if you have installed a chatbot on your premises would this be possible. Installing a chatbot on your website allows you to program it to collect visitor information and deliver promotional text messages at predetermined intervals.
Create a number of different text templates.
When it comes to SMS templates for hotels, you should have a variety of options to choose from for different occasions. Allow me to illustrate with an example. The first thing you’d like to share with your guests is a promotional offer designed to get their attention and get them to stay. The following is an example of what could happen:
“Bring in the new year with a boom. Book a stay with us, you will receive a complimentary gala dinner and unlimited drinks. For more information, please call XXXXXXXXXXXX.”
Let’s say a guest found it fascinating and decided to reserve a room with you. The next step would be to acknowledge their reservation. If you’re sending a text to your guest, it should look something like this:
“Dear XYZ, Thank you for your reservation. We hope to serve you soon. Contact us at +XXXXXXXXXX for any questions.
You must design templates that you may use to communicate with visitors at each stage of their stay, beginning with the day they book your home and continuing until they return. Make sure that every message you send is less than 160 characters long, or otherwise the guests will only receive a portion of it, undermining the entire purpose of doing SMS marketing in the first place.
Invest in campaigns that are timely.
Every marketer makes the error of sending promotional messages either on a regular basis or at irregular intervals, which is a significant blunder. When dealing with the first scenario, customers may become upset and decide to unsubscribe from the hotel’s promotional offers as a result. In contrast, in the second scenario, the campaign may fail to produce the desired results. As a result, before you begin any SMS marketing campaign for your hotel, make sure you have a good calendar in place. Check for upcoming long weekends, upcoming festivals in the area, and other such occurrences in advance.
Inform your in-house guests of any changes via SMS.
As previously stated, the provision of in-house services via SMS is a function of the hotel’s text messaging infrastructure. The only thing you have to do is develop an SMS template that highlights the services offered at your property and includes a link to your website. Don’t go overboard with the details. Simply give them a heads-up and direct them to your website. The following is an example of a promotional SMS for a hotel:
Dear XYZ, we invite you to visit our Ayurvedic spa to make your stay even more comfortable. More information can be found by clicking on the link. (Link)”
SMS has proven to be a cost effective and fruitful option in the marketing industry. Businesses all over the world utilize SMS for everything from reminders to promoting sales and other deals. Due to the nature of traveling primarily being planned using a smartphone, it only makes sense that the hotel industry can benefit from a proper SMS service.