Ten years ago, it may have seemed ridiculous for hotels to consider texting their guests. But today, it’s a different story.
Texts can bring your hotel a much-needed boost to your customer service scores.
From confirming reservations and check outs to alerting your customers about upcoming deals and events, text messages increase engagement and improve communication between your team and your guests.
Today we’ll be covering 8 of the best strategies to help you get started with a text service for your hotel, bed and breakfast, or Airbnb.
We’ll start with why all of this is even worth your time.
Why should hotels consider using a text service?
When was the last time you ignored an email from a company you previously purchased from or did business with? Most of us let stacks of promotional and marketing emails pile up in our cluttered inboxes all the time.
Now think about the last time you ignored a text message.
According to Cornell University Professor Chekitan Dev, a text service is bound to be a hit with your guests and is “sure to resonate, especially for the Millennial for whom email is passé and text is everything.” But why is that? And how can hotels like yours use it to improve customer service scores?
One reason may be due to the fact that texts are a very personal form of communication.
Anytime you text someone, you’re initiating an intimate one-on-one conversation via their personal device. We all know the secret to providing excellent customer service is personalization and communication. Texts are amazing in these two areas so it only makes sense to use them.
So by now, you may be convinced a text service is the best way to raise your customer service ratings- so what’s next? How does one actually go about this?
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from.
The Best Ways for Hotels to Use Text Messaging
If you want your hotel guests to experience a level of customer service unlike anything they’ve ever seen before, you need to “wow” them from start to finish.
A good way to kick off your relationship on the right foot is by sending both a confirmation text before your guests arrive and then a welcome text message once they check in.
#1: Send a confirmation text.
When a guest books a room, send them a confirmation text letting them know you’ve received and confirmed their reservation and that your team is ready and available to answer any questions they have. Invite them to reply back to the text message if they need further assistance.
Then, once they check in, send this next text welcoming them to your fine establishment.
#2: Send a Welcome Message next.
This message should contain a big, warm welcome and another short message mentioning that if your guests need anything, they can reach out via text.
You can also drop another short sentence in there about any upcoming events or other important details your guests should know about, such as check-in and check-out times or how late they can order room service. Exclusive discounts and special rates for recurring customers are also another stellar option to send via text.
#3: Use texts to promote special rates and event pricing.
Sending a exclusive promotions right to their phone ensures that you give them the VIP treatment they deserve.
Not only will this help drive customers to book a room, it will also improve your customer service since guests will feel appreciated.
#4: Send an Update Text.
These let you share details via text about anything that might be relevant to your guest’s stay at your hotel.
Examples of texts like these include a local weather report, traffic or construction issues, and closings or cancellations (such as cleaning the pool or gym, etc.).
These are all good things to mention to your guests to keep them in-the-loop; and they’ll appreciate the extra effort you put in to keep them updated.
While it may seem counterintuitive to alert your guests to any hiccups at your hotel, especially in the case of a closed pool or gym, the transparency will go a long way. Instead of your guests finding out the day of, they’ll have time to prepare and will appreciate the heads up more than you keeping the matter quiet.
If your update text brings bad news about rainy weather for your beach hotel, think about sharing a few indoor activities for your guests to enjoy via text. This will give them something to look forward to!
#5: Arrange for transportation via text.
In your first confirmation text, you can also include a mention of how guests can choose to be transported to your hotel.
If you offer a shuttle service, include a message along the lines of: We offer a free shuttle service to and from the closest airport. To sign up for a free lift, reply back to this message with your name and arrival date.
For guests in need of a rental car, you can also find out what size vehicle they’ll need and where to find it (i.e., Is it at the airport or near your hotel?).
By doing this, you’ll take another major headache off your customer’s plate so they can arrive feeling relaxed and worry-free.
#6: Concierge via text.
When you use text messages to arrange transportation, you can also provide another level of service via concierge requests.
This time, guests can text your concierge or receptionist with any questions they have, reservation requests they’d like made, room adjustments, etc., and they’ll be able to receive a quick response back.
Talk about instant service.
#7: Have your guests order room service via text.
The same level of service that you provide with your concierge texts can also carry over to your room service.
Give your guests the ability to text their room service orders and you’ll see a nice boost in sales. Texts are discreet and quiet, which means your guests can easily place an order without disrupting anyone else in the room — such as those who may be sleeping. You can’t say the same about placing a room service order over the phone.
And while this is a huge perk to using text messages to improve your customer service, there’s also one more way they can help: promoting attractions around your hotel.
#8: Let your customers know what’s going on around your hotel.
You want your hotel guests to have an unforgettable trip, right?
We’ve been discussing ways to use a text service to provide customer service that goes above and beyond. But this can only go so far for your hotel.
That’s where attractions and local events come into play. Your guests are looking to you and your team for advice on what to do in the area. Instead of making them hunt you down to find out, send them a text message packed with a short list of things to do during their stay. At the bottom of your text, include a link to find more information.
When your guests pair an exceptional stay with an unforgettable show or attraction, they’ll have memories for years to come — ones they’ll want to recreate again and again. That’s a surefire way to keep them coming back to stay with you.
You’ll Improve Your Customer Service Immediately
Getting started with a text service is easy- start reaping the benefits sooner rather than later!
Head over here for a free trial and you’ll have everything you need to tackle the eight strategies we talked about today. Even if you only manage to knock out a few of them, you’ll still see a fantastic improvement in your customer service scores without much effort on your end.
Have any other ideas? Let us know!