As the world goes mobile, more industries are communicating with clients through their preferred device. Hotels who include mobile strategies in their guest communication can enhance their guest services and increase loyalty.
A study done by Local Measure over 16 months in 75 hotels showed that engaging customers through a digital strategy can result in 40% higher guest loyalty rate and increase ROI by 564%. Local Measure’s CEO adds: “We’ve been telling our hotel clients for a long time that during-stay engagement and real-time reputation management is just as important as a hotel managing post stay reviews… forward thinking hoteliers who connect with guests when they are on property see improvements in their bottom line.”
Here are three ways hotels can engage their guests with mobile:
Using text to communicate with guests has a lot of benefits. First, text doesn’t require an Internet connection, so if a guest is trying to reach you and doesn’t have access to the Web, they may still be able to send and receive a text.
Second, texts are not limited to smartphones, most mobile phones are text-enabled, allowing you to include a wider range of guests in your communication services. You can use text for a variety of actions:
Marketing. Text can be used to send offers to clients in your SMS loyalty club. Sending exclusive deals or letting them know about new hotel locations can help increase your bookings.
Welcome and thank you. Sending a text welcoming guests to the hotel with useful tips and advice like events happening during their stay or popular destinations can help orient a guest and make them feel welcome. Sending a thank-you text for choosing your hotel when a guest has checked out is a good way to end their stay by showing your appreciation for their business.
Surveys. Text is an effective polling platform. Texts have a 99% open rate, meaning that if you want to find out how your guest’s stay was, text is the way to go. It’s important for hotels to offer guests the opportunity to give feedback.
If an experience was negative, you’ll be the first to find out before they leave bad feedback on sites like TripAdvisor and social media. It will give you a chance to make it up to your guests and keep them as a client. Resolving a guest’s issue to their satisfaction can result in them telling 4 to 6 people about their positive experience.
Using a native app gives hotels a variety of advantages:
Automate keyless check-in/check-out. A pet peeve of many guests is a cumbersome check-in and check-out process. A poll by TripAdvisor found that 34 percent of guests prefer mobile check-in.
Enhance personalization. With hotels interacting with clients on so many different channels, it can be difficult to funnel all the data collected in each one into a complete guest profile. By having customers communicate through the app, all that data (messages, preferences, demographics, stay history, etc.) gets collected in one place to help hotels zero in on their customer profile, allowing them to offer more targeted and personalized services.
All your messaging in one place. George Corbin, senior vice president of Marriott International’s digital department confirms that apps help big chains standardize their global communication:
Appealing features. Apps are constantly evolving, offering new and exciting features to continue offering guests fun perks. For example, Virgin Hotel’s Lucy App allows guests not only to communicate with staff members, but also to message other guests in the same hotel through the app, creating a private social messaging service within the app itself.
While doing all your guest messaging via apps can be ideal for the hotel, it’s obviously not possible to convince all your guests to download your app. Offering messaging services on other popular platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others allow businesses to offer the convenience of choice and preference to their customers.
Daniel Kerzner, vice president of digital loyalty for Starwood Hotels comments, “guests naturally wanted to communicate with us the same way they did with everyone else.” Starwood’s staff have smartphones that are synced across various apps, and guests are guaranteed a response within 60 seconds.
Has this method been successful? According to Kerzner, this communication strategy has increased revenue and efficiency in services as well as increasing extras such as restaurant and spa treatment bookings.
Hotels who engage their guests through mobile communication can offer better services, increasing loyalty and bookings. Using mobile platforms such as text, native apps, and mobile messengers can help hotels provide better, more personalized services to their guests.