Do hospitality trends in 2016 include SMS messaging?
On Hospitalitynet.org I found an article and an infographic predicting the marketing trends for hotels in 2016. I read through the text of the article, then reviewed the infographic. I felt very confused. You’ll see why in a moment.
The first trend listed was “Mobile Dominates”. Absolutely! Yes, of course! It said that 21% of bookings now take place on mobile devices on average.
The next trends all made sense too, from relationship marketing to consumer generated content. But nowhere, not even in the mobile section – or the relationship section – did I see a mention of SMS marketing.
Its absence is was what confused me. From the research I’ve done, SMS messaging and hotels are a perfect pair. Like fish and chips. Or cheese and biscuits. But I began to doubt what I knew and furiously started researching again. Here’s what I found.
"SMS is Outpacing Email for Outreach"
Another article on hospitalitynet.org I found was entitled “Why Companies are Adopting Mobile Marketing, and Why You Should, Too”. The second reason given was that SMS is a better way to connect with customers than email. The author quotes a study showing that mobile consumers are “eight times more likely to engage a brand via text than email”.
Reason number three revolved around personalised content. SMS is arguably the most personal channel a marketer can have with a consumer, and when you send personal content via SMS you’ll make a special connection that isn’t possible via other electronic means.
The fifth and final reason addressed real-time location services. Many different technologies can use location based services, including SMS.
Goodbye in-room telephones
Among the list of “new innovations” listed in another hotel trend list I found on The Telegraph was the idea that SMS messaging would replace all phones in hotel rooms. If you want room service, extra pillows, or a wake-up call you’ll simply text the request to the hotel instead. It specifically refers to a new hotel set to open this year in Palm Springs. The whole concept for the hotel is from a former Facebook employee, now millionaire. The use of SMS messaging for hotel communication is just one example of how this new hotel will apply technology.
Big money investments
Expedia.com recently announced a $9.5 million (£6.7M) investment into a software-as-a-service hotel platform called Alice. One of the key features of the software is the integrated text messaging services. Guests can send requests via text message even before they arrive. The hotels can also text guests before arrival to see if they have any special requirements. During their stay they have the option of how to communicate, with SMS being a primary option.
Even more confusion
In my research I also came across the same infographic on many other sites. Quite a few of them had titles and content discussing the growth of SMS in the hotel industry. Yet the infographic doesn’t say anything about SMS – only mobile in relation to other types of marketing.
It’s all very puzzling, but that’s content on the internet for you. Finally, I made one last examination of the infographic and decided to go to the original source. It’s a hotel marketing company called NetAffinity. The article on hospitalitynet.org was a promotional content piece (as many are on the site) for the company. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see they offer every service listed on the infographic as a marketing trend. What they don’t offer (as far as I can see on their website) is SMS messaging. Mystery solved.
SMS is indeed still a great combination for hotels and hotel services. And if the other articles and trends I found are to be believed, they might dominate hotel communications in the not-so-distant future. What do you think?
In order to appeal to new customers and interact with existing ones, businesses are always looking for new marketing methods. Whilst many companies are using traditional and online marketing techniques, these aren’t always effective. Email filtering, for example, means that many recipients may not even be aware that they’ve received contact from your company. As many email hosts provide in-built spam filters, it’s easy for email marketing content to be overlooked or ignored completely. SMS marketing, however, overcomes many of the obstacles associated with online and email marketing. Whilst potential customers may not see your company emails, SMS messages aren’t filtered in the same way. The delivery rate is, therefore, far higher for SMS messages in comparison to marketing emails.
SMS marketing has seen a huge uplift in popularity in recent years, with big brands investing in the technology to better engage with their customers. There are so many benefits of SMS marketing, from the ability to directly to reach customers with your communications, to the fact that over 80% of SMS texts are read. With over approximately 90% of the world receiving mobile coverage, you’re highly likely to be able to reach your audience, regardless of where they are. SMS marketing is cost effective, and campaigns are quick to develop, in as short a time period as the time it takes to write a text message. This gives you the advantage of being able to communicate quickly, and effectively with customers, reacting to information almost instantaneously. With so many reasons to use SMS marketing, we’ve highlighted four sectors successfully using SMS messaging as case studies to highlight the advantages of investing in the technology.
SMS messaging can be a one-way, or a two-way affair. Sending coupons, sale notifications, or event announcements are all one-way messaging. The recipient doesn’t need to reply in order to use the information sent. In two-way messaging though, recipients can reply to your messages. And that makes it much more interesting, engaging, and potentially a lot more work to manage.
Now that the peak travel season is over, how can travel agents stay top of mind in their customers? If you look around, you’ll notice everyone seems to have a mobile. That means SMS is the perfect way to reach them and make sure you’re not forgotten.
Hotel guests use review site ratings like TripAdvisor to make decisions about where they’ll stay. If your hotel doesn’t rate well, you’re in trouble. Find out how you can get more positive reviews when you use SMS messaging to communicate with guests.
In many ways, SMS messaging is so commonplace people don’t think about it. They just do it. For example, using SMS for mobile marketing in retail is a fairly standard use case whether you’re a company or the consumer. But there are always exceptions – those who innovate when it seems there’s nothing new to be had. Here are two examples of companies from the US using SMS in ways no one else is – yet.
Festival season is upon us! Experienced festival organisers predict that to be successful you need more than just music. You’ll need to offer an experience to your attendees. In the last blog I covered some of the reasons for that, and ideas on how to start building your SMS marketing list before your festival begins. In part 2, we’ll take a look at how to use SMS to create engaging experiences for attendees while they are at your festival, and even after they leave.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
The campervan and caravan industry grew 16% this past year. Campsite and holiday park owners can connect with the thousands of new travellers using SMS messaging. After all, 76% of travellers prefer to take their mobile on holiday rather than a friend.