5 Ways Guest Houses Can Benefit from SMS Marketing
With Easter rapidly approaching, many people across the UK are turning their attention towards a hard-earned Easter getaway, taking advantage of the rare opportunity that the extra long weekend has to offer. However, with the window for a quick break being relatively short, many people will opt to stay in the UK. One type of business that can really take advantage of this is the guest house industry. In this article, we look at how SMS Marketing can help guest house owners and operators to improve the booking experience, simplify the booking management process and help ensure that your guests receive nothing other than five-star service from the outset.
Why use SMS Marketing for your guest house? The chances are that over the years you’ve invested in building a high quality, reliable website and eye-catching social media profiles for your guest house. You may have paid a professional photographer, and even spent out on a videographer to come up with something exceptional to showcase your property and what it has to offer as a destination. Alongside this, you are likely listed on numerous accommodation websites, as well as on services such as TripAdvisor, Feefo, etc for customer reviews and ratings. It’s completely natural then that you may be wondering just why you should channel funds into SMS Marketing. The answer – because every competitor is doing exactly the same, and this means that it is becoming harder and harder to stand out from the crowd and be heard above the noise. Instead, guest house operators need to think outside of the box and support their marketing efforts with other strategies.
Because the mobile phone is where the vast majority of your customers are, SMS Marketing is an ideal channel to support your existing efforts. Not only do 93% of UK adults own or have access to a mobile phone according to the most up to date reports from Ofcom, they are also increasingly likely to use their handheld device for the majority of their communication and web browsing activities. As a result, SMS Marketing is a great way not just to reach people at exactly the right time and place, simply placing links within messages allows seamless integration with your digital marketing channels. So what can you do with SMS Marketing? Read on to learn more.
1. SMS Marketing for seasonal offers
It is said that returning customers are often worth far more to a company (and at a far smaller cost) than new acquisitions. With this in mind, SMS Marketing is a great way to reach out to people who have stayed with you in the past and let them know just what you have to offer this Easter. Make sure that they know you have rooms available, and consider offering them an incentive such as a special loyalty discount. For example, you might send a message something like:
“Dear Mr Roberts, don’t miss out on an Easter break at the beautiful and relaxing Golden Sands Guesthouse. As a valued guest, you’ve earned an extra special 10% off when you book for 3 nights or more this Easter. Call us now on 0800 334 433 to book now while spaces remain.”
There are some examples of good practice in this message worth noting. Firstly, it is personal. By using the name of the guest in an appropriate form, the recipient knows instantly that the message was intended specifically for them. Some selected adjectives are used to create a feel for the guest house and remind Mr Roberts why he would want to return, and the offer is both specific and time-bound to create a sense of urgency.
Of course, if you have provided an opt-in to SMS Marketing on any of your online forms, you could also take a similar approach to reach out to potential customers who have registered an interest in your guest house. In this case, you would simply need to slightly change the wording to reflect the different status of the customer.
2. Booking confirmations by SMS
Email booking confirmations may be something that are sent as standard, but with the vast majority of customers likely to be travelling by car, there is probably nowhere as convenient as the mobile phone to have all your booking details to hand. And as an added bonus, no internet connection is required to check SMS messages – so if you do happen to be in a remote area, your guests will still be able to access the essential details. Indeed, if you are in an out of the way spot, consider following up your booking confirmation with another SMS message that provides instructions on how to find you – a small gesture that is guaranteed to win you bonus points for customer service. Once a customer has booked, whether online or by telephone, simply send a message such as:
“Dear Mr Roberts, thank you for booking 3 nights with the Golden Sands Guesthouse, from 30/03/2018 to 2/04/2018. We look forward to seeing you, but if you do have any questions in the meantime feel free to call us on 0800 344 433 and we’ll be happy to help.”
This message might be closely followed by one that reads something like:
“To find us, follow the B548 north out of Churchtown for approx 3 miles. Pass the football ground, then look for a single track turn to the right as you begin to dip into the valley. Any problems, call us on 0800 344 433 and we’ll be happy to assist.”
3. SMS Marketing for Voucher codes
Another powerful way to ensure that you are fully booked for the Easter getaway – and of course any other peak times – is to offer discounts by way of SMS voucher codes. A simple code such as EASTER10 can be used by the customer to get 10% off their booking when completed online. To make things even more effective, you could even include a direct link to the booking page within the same message.
4. Useful information
As well as providing SMS updates that are directly related to your guesthouse and customer bookings, consider adding value to the relationship by sharing useful information that your guests may not be aware of. Why not send an SMS or two letting them know about any events taking place during their stay that might be of interest, or even any partner offers you may have set up with local businesses. Some simple but inspired ideas might just be all it takes to turn the stay into something truly memorable, and that, in turn, will be worth its weight in gold when it comes to customer feedback and recommendations.
5. Using SMS Marketing for reviews & feedback
Following on from our previous point, SMS Marketing lends itself perfectly to collecting feedback from your guests. It is worth noting that travel industry websites such as Tripadvisor remain of huge importance as far as customer to customer recommendations go, however, SMS feedback can serve two important functions. Firstly, it allows you to ensure that the customer has had an exceptional experience – and ensure that in the unlikely case that something wasn’t quite so that it can be resolved before becoming a public criticism. Secondly, it allows you to get valuable insight for your own internal purposes, so that you can look at what you do best as well as where improvements can be made, in order to keep on winning back those happy customers.
If you operate a guest house and would like to learn more about how you can benefit from SMS Marketing, give our team a call now on 0800 954 5305 and one of our experts will be happy to help.
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