Being one of the world’s fastest growing industries, the travel and tourism sector has its own challenges. The rising number of market players makes it more and more difficult to compete for the attention of your audience and build brand loyalty. On the other hand, global trends have reshaped the way the companies in hospitality industry communicate with their customers. The ability to reach them on the go and keep them engaged has become vital for the success of any business where customer satisfaction and quality service are the number 1 priority.
In order to keep up with the latest marketing trends and provide a streamlined customer experience, many businesses turn to SMS Text Messages.
With around 87% of Millennials having their smartphones by their side almost 24/7 and 80% grabbing the mobile immediately after they wake up. SMS is the most effective channel to engage customers easily and instantly.
In a number of recent surveys, around 75% of respondents have agreed that companies using SMS marketing leave a good overall impression, yet many businesses still miss out on this opportunity to build positive and long-lasting relationships with their customers. It’s not a secret that mobile users are super-connected via messaging, so why not include SMS Messaging in your marketing mix to fuel your revenue growth?
Your customers have gone mobile - so should your hotel business.
As a hotelier or a hostel-owner, your prime concern should be providing a unique experience to your guests during and after their stay. You can use SMS to keep in touch with your guests, offer them some special deals, request a feedback after they leave, follow up with the ones who haven’t shown up and resolve the complaints of dissatisfied customers.
Here are some of the best practices for integrating SMS Text Messages in your hotel marketing strategy.
1. Respect the privacy of your customers
A key thing to remember before sending messages to your customers, is that SMS is a permission-based activity, so you should always make sure your customers have opted in for your messages and agreed to engage with you on the mobile platform. To do so, you can include a special field in your booking form, asking them to subscribe for your SMS alerts. This simple step will help you ensure that your messages don’t seem annoying or intrusive to your customers.
Just as you wouldn’t disturb the privacy of your guests during their stay, you should also respect the private nature of their mobile phones. Don’t abuse the privilege of having their phone numbers, by sending spammy content or irrelevant promotional offers. Use the principle of scarcity, putting the accent on the quality and value of the messages you send.
2. Confirm the bookings with a text messages
Thank your customers for making an online booking, providing details about their stay as well as a link to your website where they can change or cancel the reservation. You can also streamline the check-in process providing room details, WiFi information or the meal plan. Advanced messaging platforms, like Textedly, enable you to send supersize messages, so you can make your guests feel truly welcome without worrying about the 160-character limit.
3. Reward your returning customers
SMS is a simple and efficient way to increase customer loyalty by rewarding your returning or long-stay customers with special deals. If you have a bar or a restaurant in your hotel, you can send your customers mobile vouchers offering exclusive discounts on your services. For example, you can schedule a message for 8 p.m., “20% off all drinks at the bar tonight”. This should nurture the customer relations and drive some nice traffic to your bar.
Returning customers are what you want most. You can use your contact list to stay connected with your best customers in the long run and keep them coming back with some enticing incentives. For instance, the offer “Book a 6-night stay for the Christmas Days, and get the 7th night FREE” will surely get your phones ringing.
4. Ask for feedback
SMS is not only an effective channel for promotional campaigns, but also a good way to generate customer feedback and recommendations. You can use two-way texting feature to conduct surveys and hear back from your customers. This will help you improve the quality of your service for the future guests and make your customers feel that their feedback matters to you.
The best time to ask your guests about their stay at your hotel is with a simple "Thank you" message within 24 hours after their check-out when their experience is still fresh in their memory.
5. Deliver value to your customers
A highly targeted marketing campaign strategy leads to higher conversion rates. Before starting an SMS campaign, make sure that the content you deliver resonates with your audience.
Segment your contact list based on demographics and interests of your customers and create messages that are relevant to customers who receive them. For example, parents having a vacation with their children aren’t likely to have the same lifestyle and interests as an entrepreneur staying at your hotel for a business trip.
The better target your customers, ask them to text you the category of their interest (pool, spa, dining or outdoor activities) as part of their opt-in message. Once you’ve learnt about their preferences, follow up with relevant offers and news on upcoming events near your place.
The final thought
Being an instant and powerful communication channel, SMS Text Messages present a great opportunity to build a deep connection with your hotel customers and keep them coming back again and again. All you need is to have a well-rounded marketing strategy and find a trustworthy SMS vendor, like Textedly, which will not only provide you with a full-featured, intuitive platform to kick off your campaign, but will also help you with expert advice about the best practices for SMS marketing for hotels.