Hotels Use SMS Messaging to Head Off Bad Reviews
Online travel and review sites are great for travellers. In fact, 81% of travellers find user reviews important when searching for destinations according to statisticbrain.com. They are good for hotels too, but they offer a double edged sword. User reviews are unfiltered – that is the travellers can say whatever they like both good and bad. And managing a bad review can be difficult (let’s not get into the hotel who tried to charge visitors who left bad reviews!). Once those words are out on the Internet, they’re out there forever.
And it’s hard to know how your guests feel. Not all unhappy people will complain during their stay. They wait until they leave, then rage about the decor, the service, the food, or the rates. What can hotels do to head off those bad reviews? Try and get to the travellers before they can get to the review site. A great way to do that is to use a customer survey via SMS messaging. And do it before there’s time for the bad review to spread.
Most guests probably provide you with a mobile number when booking. You could also ask for it when they check in. Once you have the number, you’re able to use it to communicate with them about their stay. Just be careful. Make sure you use the number just for messages related to their stay. You can’t later use it for marketing unless you get their permission first.
For example, a guest checks out at 11 am. You can send them a text message a few hours later asking them to rate their stay. If the answers you receive are anything less than great, you can follow up with appropriate measures to make things right.
Depending on their experience, a personal phone call from management might help smooth things over. At the very least, you’ll gain a better understanding of the issues the guest had during their stay. That’s information you’ll need if you’re going to strive for great reviews.
Is it hard to incorporate SMS messaging into your hotel’s procedures? No, it’s actually quite an easy thing to do. It’s also extremely cost effective, especially when you compare it to potential lost business from bad reviews. While you could do a full integration with your management software, it isn’t necessary to do so. A cloud-based SMS messaging service like fastsms lets you enter mobile numbers one at a time, or upload thousands at once. Which approach works for your hotel depends on what you want to achieve.
Manual entry is a quick way to start, and a full integration that will streamline the process can be done over time. It’s all up to you. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’re available via live chat, email, or phone to answer your questions. Alternatively read our free “Hotels Guide to SMS Messaging“.
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 flies under many marketers radars when it comes to building an inbound marketing strategy. But if Buzzfeed's news app is to be believed, there are days when SMS generates the greatest percentage of shares on that channel, beating out Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and email. SMS share buttons are reported to have been used 4 times more than Twitter buttons. When you consider Twitter has 317 million active users, then SMS marketing has huge potential for a hotel business.
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.
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.
More and more industries are tuning in to the advantages that SMS marketing can offer their business. SMS marketing is not only useful for acquiring new customers, it can be used to increase brand loyalty as well. This is particularly true for the hospitality industry, which faces challenges unique from other industries, in that they are on the front line when it comes to delivering customer service.
Your customers are likely thinking about food at certain times of the day, and at those times their phone is almost certainly within arms reach. Using SMS marketing you can time your messages perfectly because you know that the time you send them is the time they get read, usually within 2 minutes.
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.
People love live music. Ticket sales worldwide are expected to reach $20.5 Billion (~£14.2B). The UK alone has around 900 festivals each year. There just aren’t enough headliners to go around. What else can you do to draw people to your event (whether you have a headliner or not)? The answer: Make your event an experience rather than just a destination.
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.
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.