Texting has emerged as one of the most popular ways for hotels to communicate with their guests. However, the time-consuming nature of one-on-one text messaging makes it seem at times at odds with the busy atmosphere of the front desk and hotel concierge. A tool such as guest messaging automation increases employee productivity as it enables hoteliers to spend less time doing the actual sending and more time communicating.
In recent beta testing, hotels that have adopted guest message automation as a part of their communication strategy have seen an increase in their guest engagement by over 25%. By using automation to help their communication with guests, pre- and at arrival, during the guest stay, and at departure, hotel staff are applying the time they save to have more meaningful interactions with guests, thus streamlining staff operations and improving the guest experience.
Here are three benefits of incorporating elements of automation to your text messaging program:
1. Efficiencies for hotel operations
Text messaging is a powerful tool to drive guest loyalty and engagement, but proactively reaching out to guests requires a lot of time hoteliers may not have. One of the biggest benefits of text message automation is that it saves staff from sending the same welcome message or WiFi password again and again, thereby giving staff more time to have meaningful conversations with guests.
2. Speedy replies
The convenience of text messaging as a way to get in touch with a hotel is increasingly expected by guests who are growing accustomed to texting with businesses. But texting is only convenient for guests if they can count on quick responses. In a previous ALICE study, guests expect a response sent by text message in 12 minutes or less, compared to 18 minutes with mobile applications and 25 minutes with email. Automating responses to frequently-asked questions makes an immediate response easy, and lets staff focus on responding to other texts in a more timely fashion.
3. Improved engagement across all phases of the guest journey
Performing multiple tasks simultaneously comes with the territory of the front desk. Automation allows your hotel staff to complete multiple tasks while amplifying their personalized reach before the guest even arrives on the property.
Pre-Arrival: Help your guests plan their stay
With automation, hotels can communicate a welcome message before guests check in to convey a pleasant check-in experience and memorable stay:
“We are so excited to have you at the hotel in X days. Is there any way we can assist you before you arrive? Just text this number to let us know.”
Hotels, such as the Holston House in Nashville, Tennessee, are embracing this communication method. “Text messaging automation ensures all guests feel welcomed before they step foot onto the property,” Ernesto Gonzalez, Director of Rooms, emphasizes. “Given how busy the desk can be at peak times, it’s difficult to expect our front desk agents to have the time to welcome every guest. Automation with ALICE improves the guest experience we offer at Holston House while saving valuable time for our team. It’s a win-win.”
At Arrival: Welcome your guests
When hotels use text messaging automation, hotels can set up campaigns to welcome every guest the day of arrival:
“We are delighted to welcome you as our guest this evening. Please reach out to us at the Front Desk by simply replying to this text message, should you need any additional amenities for your room or have any questions during your stay.”
During the Guest Stay: Continuous open conversations with your guests
Once your guests are settled into their room, text message automation continues the open conversation at the guest’s convenience. Template responses to guests’ frequently asked questions such as “What’s the WiFi password?” and “What time does breakfast start?” can make your guest feel as if their needs have been met at any point of their stay.
At Departure: Improve guest feedback
With text messaging automation, hotels have the ability to be proactive in resolving guest issues before they checkout from the property. Sending departing surveys privately through automated text messages resolves issues before they reach review websites and hoteliers can capitalize on these complaints as insight to adjust standard operating procedures.
With automation, hotels can leverage text messaging to engage with their guests before they even arrive on the property, and save time while texting throughout a guest’s stay. With text message automation, guest engagements will come across more personal pre-, during- and post-stay, heightening guest satisfaction to lead to increased brand loyalty and revenue.