Hotels Use Text Messaging to Help Improve Customer Experiences
Hotels constantly strive to improve customer experiences, but sometimes things go awry. Their customers take to social media or online review sites like Tripadvisor.com to complain about every little thing they didn’t like.
Bad service. Dirty bathrooms. Too noisy. Small rooms. Broken lights.
Many of these problems could have been fixed if the customer had complained while at the hotel rather than later when they had returned home. In his commentary on the state of the American hotel industry on hotelexecutive.com, Geoff Dutton points out that the bad reviews people write are customer failures. And he thinks text messaging could be a way to avoid those failures.
To see why, you have to think about why people don’t complain while it’s happening. Travelers are often busy and don’t want to be put on hold, or be asked to wait for a return call. In some cases people just don’t want to make a fuss, be singled out, or deal with a potential conflict. Here’s a quote taken from a recent review on Tripadvisor.com for a hotel in London:
“We felt disrespected to a point that we were so upset I would have lost my cool if I had complained to a manager. In all honesty I just wanted to leave and felt saddened by how bad service was.”
Offering a text message service solely for guests to send complaints or service requests to is a modern way to help these customers help themselves and you.
It helps customers by:
- Providing a quick way to send a request without waiting on hold or in line for the manager.
- While not totally anonymous, a text message is much less confrontational than an in person or over the phone conversation.
- Gives the customer time to compose a thoughtful comment and potentially diffuse any anger about the situation by the time a solution arrives.
- Ultimately they will have a better experience as their issues are resolved.
It helps hotels by:
- Engaging customers while still at the hotel where they can effect a happy solution.
- Reduce the amount of negative comments reported on social media and online review sites.
- Consolidating complaints and requests into a single list to make them easier to track and resolve.
But beyond these reasons, Mr. Dutton makes a good case for why text messaging could work to help the entire organisation:
“At its most basic level, a text based engagement model provides a direct line from the guest to the manager. It offers the opportunity for every guest to become a mystery shopper. We deem this quality “ambient accountability:” when every employee knows that there is a direct line to management, magically the public bathrooms are cleaner, guest interaction is more positive and guest requests are responded to more quickly.”
He goes on to say text messaging could become a “real time training tool” for the operations team. Using text messaging for customer engagement is a win-win situation for all.
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.
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.
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.
So many of us are used to having our mobiles around nearly 24 hours a day that it’s easy to forget it’s still a growing industry. And though SMS has been around for over two decades, the ways we use it and people’s willingness to use it continues to grow. So for this blog I picked out five facts about mobile and SMS that really make the case that SMS for business has come of age. Let’s see if you agree.
Hotels constantly strive to improve customer experiences, but sometimes things go awry. Many problems could be fixed if the customer complains while at the hotel rather than later when they return home. By having a 'textline' you can give guests the opportunity to share their views directly with management without a direct confrontation.
“European travel agents don’t like it”. That’s a statement made by one of the gentleman at my table during the mCommerce Summit earlier this month. He is from Cruise America, a successful RV (camper) vacation rental company based in Arizona, but with 123 locations around the US. We were talking about his company and their online and mobile reservation options.
With the summer peak season fast approaching, now is the perfect time for hotels to keep in touch with their guests and take advantage of upselling and cross-selling techniques to increase revenues. In this article, we demonstrate how to use SMS marketing to make the most of the opportunities in both and unlock added value for your business.
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.