According to a 2018 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook Report, the hotel sector is projected to sustain strong 5–6 percent growth throughout 2018, setting up the industry to hit a record-breaking $170 billion in gross bookings.
In order for hotels to capitalize on this trend, they need to think about how to engage guests throughout their stay and drive incremental revenue in a personalized way.
However, communicating with guests during their stay may be a challenge because there is a good chance guests are out and about hanging out at the pool or out sightseeing.
Many hotels are utilizing text messaging as a new and more convenient way to communicate with guests due to its ability to non-intrusively connect with guests wherever they are without much effort from the guests themselves.
Before I get into how you can drive more revenue with text messaging, there are a couple of things you need to do beforehand.
First, invest in guest text messaging software.
There are many reasons to invest in guest text messaging software.
The first obvious one is that you never want to use your personal phone to communicate with guests because no one wants to get work messages on their personal phone. Plus, it would be hard to manage and track.
The second reason to invest in guest text messaging software is the robust capabilities it comes with including automation, integrations with internal guest management systems and social messaging platforms, the ability to manage all messages within a central portal for easy management, just to name a few.
It’s also important to have a plan and process in place before you start promoting your text messaging program to your guests so you know who are the staff members responsible for text communication and when.
To learn more, read our free eBook on creating your text messaging program.
Second, promote your text number to guests.
It’s simple, guests won’t try to text you if you don’t let them know they can. Whether it’s during the booking process or while checking in to their room, let guests know they can text you for anything they need. Make sure guests are willing to communicate with you via text as different guests have different preferences, and the last thing you want to do is make them mad by sending unwanted text messages.
Here is an example.
Now that you have a system and process and guests know they can text you, it’s time to start engaging them.
Here are some ways you can use text messaging to drive more incremental revenue.
1) Hotel Restaurant
Most of the time when guests stay at hotels, there are many options for dining outside of the hotel. However, guests are often spontaneous when it comes to deciding which restaurant they want to go to. This is the perfect opportunity for you to engage guests with a text message.
One thing you can do is send a text message to guests promoting your restaurant with a link to the menu. This will give guests instant access to check out the food selection no matter where they are.
Additionally, you can enable guests to make a reservation by directly responding to your message, making it a seamless and effortless process. You can even throw in a coupon as an added incentive.
2) Hotel Bars & Lounges
Encourage your guests to quench their thirst at your hotel bar rather than go elsewhere. To drive more guests to your hotel bar, you can send a text message to guests enticing them to take advantage of your happy hour with a 2-for-1 drink special or free appetizer when they show the text message to the bartender. This is a good way to drive more traffic to your hotel bar during slow times.
3) Gift Shop
Guests want convenience. So rather than having them go to your gift shop, why not bring the gift shop to your guests? I have not heard of any hotels doing this but could be an idea for someone to test out.
Create a small catalog of your most popular gift shop items and enable guests to buy them by sending a text message. You can then charge the purchase to the guest’s account and have it delivered to their room.
4) Activities & Rentals
If your hotel offers activities and equipment rentals, make it easy for guests to rent them before they head out and find out that they are all gone. Like the gift shop idea above, display a flyer or brochure in rooms letting guests know what activities or events you have going on and what equipment they can rent. Then, all the guest need to do is send a text message to make that reservation without calling and waiting on hold.
5) Late Check-out
This is a popular one that I have seen with Zingle customers with great success. From an analysis of thousands of text messages exchanged with guests, one of the most common messages is guests asking for late checkout.
What you can do for your hotel is send a message to guests about 30 to 60 minutes before checkout time asking them if they would like to have a late checkout along with the cost. Then the guest would simply respond yes if they want to extend their checkout time.
As an example, the Talbott hotel sent text messages to guests offering a discounted late checkout and extended stay and drove around $5K in additional revenue each week.
The important thing to note is that you must let your guests know they can text you for these things mentioned above by displaying signs throughout the hotel where there is frequent foot traffic including the lobby, in rooms, the pool area, by the entrance of your restaurants, bars, gift shop spa, and even bathrooms.
The convenience of text messaging presents great potential benefits and additional revenue opportunities for hotels. However, be sure to have a plan and process in place when using text messaging with guests to ensure the best experience possible for both guests and staff.
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