If you take a look at the history of text messages that a hotel sends out to its guests, you will be able to segregate them primarily into two broad categories:
• Transactional/Experience-based/Value-added messages
• Promotional Messages
Guest Experience dwells at the very core of whatever a hotelier does. Hence the integration of the right technologies is extremely important for the good guest experience. It has been proven that the lack of integration between the products is one of the biggest technical challenges that a hotel or business faces.
Hotel Property Management Systems (PMS) is a kind of integration that allows the hoteliers to streamline communications by consolidating the various channels across their properties. A convergence of individual vendors or departments (housekeeping, payment processing, sales, revenue management, front desk management, etc.) to serve the specific requirements in the best possible way is the ultimate purpose here. Thus for smooth operation and for providing a great guest experience, it is important to achieve a consolidation of the systems and processes to attain the final goal.
One of the best ways to tackle this situation or at least, the area to pinpoint first when it comes to achieving integration is through the use of smartphones.
Hoteliers need to up their text messaging game as the consumers manage their entire lives from smartphones today.
Nearly 80% of consumers prefer to communicate with a business via text, and 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt. Again, another Forbes article entitled “Millennials Hate Phone Calls, And They Have A Point” stresses much upon the importance of text messages and emails in comparison to a “15-minute phone call to convey two lines of information” which is simply “a waste of time.”
Hence it is imperative to reap the benefits of the mobile-first mindset and power it conveniently for the impeccable guest experience.
[Note: This article only explores and shows the possible scenarios that a hotelier might come across during the course of hosting their guests and so it is important to strike a right balance between the two types of text messages (experiential and promotional), keeping in mind the privacy of your guests and their communication preferences]
Benefits of Powering Text Messaging With PMS Integration
The following are the benefits of a powerful Text-PMS unification:
• Increased staff productivity and operational efficiency.
• Saves time with speedy replies.
• Helps to keep a track of client data.
• Helps to personalize guest communication and experience.
• Helps to upsell and streamline communication.
• Helps improve engagement with guests at every touchpoint.
• Helps boost marketing results and revenue.
• Aids in streamlining customer service efforts and minimizes the number of disgruntled customers.
• Allows ascertaining customer opinion and expectations and helps to have straightforward and transparent communication with the guests.
• It is a speedy process that decreases the dependency on man-power.
• Lastly, it is something that goes beyond the time-consuming phone calls and widens the communication channels.
How to Do It
There are various ways of achieving PMS integration with text messaging:
1. Integrate Guest Data From PMS Into Text Messaging
While you still keep the avenue open for the guests to text your staff in case of queries, information or special requests, fetching the guest data from PMS and integrating it with text messaging can work wonders. It will help personalize the experience and level of service rendered to your guests and at the same time, lead the guests to engage with you conveniently through the medium of text messaging.
Make sure you reap the benefits of the robust guest data at your disposal and fuel your text messaging with that integration to provide an exquisitely personalized experience.
2. Leverage Your PMS Data At The Very Outset, Say Through A Pre-Arrival Message And Then Doing The Same For All The Stages Of The Customer Journey
Nowadays, the guest experience journey begins even before the guest has arrived at your property. Understanding the significance of this, the hoteliers are leveraging their PMS by integrating it with a personalized text message right at the pre-arrival level. A sweet pre-arrival message informing about check-in and giving out a reminder on check-in date and time along with some valuable information on location, things nearby, facilities offered, breakfast timings and special services, add-ons or extra delights can work wonders for your PMS.
For instance, if a guest is traveling by flight, you can customize your pre-arrival message as such that it includes information about the shuttle service offered by you along with the other details.
How to Master This? The answer is simple: When a guest books with you, try to collect as much information as possible about them which is necessary to facilitate a great booking experience. A link containing a short and simple questionnaire to know your guests better will be absolutely beneficial in this regard.
Again, you can leverage your PMS at every stage with text messaging
The stages are as follows:
ii. On-Arrival and Mid-Stay
iii. Check-Out and Post Check-Out
(Some Possible Scenarios with Template Messages)
a) Booking Confirmation Message
“Hi, Jennifer. Thank you for choosing us. We would like to confirm your reservation at *Arnold World Hotel (hotel name)* between *arrival date* and *departure date*. For more details on your booking, please visit *the URL.* We hope you will enjoy your stay and we look forward to welcoming you!”
b) Reminder Message
“Hi, Jennifer. Trust you’re doing fine! This is a gentle reminder regarding your reservation at *Arnold World Hotel (hotel name)* between *arrival date* and *departure date.* For more upgrades and special services, you can contact us by visiting *the URL.* We are looking forward to your arrival!”
c) Brochure/Guide Over the Phone Message
“Hi, Jennifer. We are looking forward to your stay. Want to know us better? Click on the link below to learn more about the amenities, request special service, learn about the area and more.”
ii. On-Arrival & Mid-Stay
(Some Possible Scenarios with Template Messages)
a) Welcome Text
Hi, Jennifer. Welcome to Arnold Wold Hotel. Your WiFi password is *
*HappyGuest* Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 9:30 AM. We also have Happy Hour for our guests every day from 5 pm-10 pm. Feel free to text us here if you have any questions. Enjoy your stay!”
-Stella Buchanan, Front Desk Staff
b) Mid-Stay Feedback Message
“Hi, Jennifer. Thank you for choosing to stay with us. We hope that you are doing well. If there’s a special service that you require, please feel free to drop us a text. Again, we would really appreciate if you just take a minute to provide your feedback (or fill this survey form) to
help us know your requirements better. Take care!”
c) Complementary Facilities Message
“Welcome to the Arnold World Hotel. Once you’re settled, head over to the lounge on the second floor for a complimentary glass of wine and Hors d’oeuvre”
iii. Check-Out & Post Check-Out
(Some Possible Scenarios with Template Messages)
a) Goodbye Message
“Thank you for choosing to stay with us. We hope you had a wonderful stay. Your bill *reference ID* has been paid in full. We look forward to the pleasure of hosting you once more.”
b) Feedback/Recommendation Message
“Thank you for choosing us. Hope you had a great time! We would be extremely glad if you just take a moment to share your experience with us on* the link.* We hope to see you again!”
-Joe Smith, General Manager
[Note: Be it experiential or promotional messages, remember not to overdo it as too many messages might overwhelm your guests by proving to be a massive turn-off or a source of annoyance.]
3. Leverage Housekeeping Data to Automate Text Messages to Notify the Guests When the Room is Ready
One of the biggest hassles that the front desk faces is the guests walking up to them every five minutes asking about the room status. To avoid this problem and to avoid long queues in the lobby, power your text messages with the housekeeping data to instantly alert the guests about the room status.
How Does it Work?
Once the housekeeping finishes the room cleaning, they mark it as done in their system and this will be delivered in the form of a text message to the guests notifying them that their room is ready which will save the front desk the trouble of calling each of the guests manually and informing them about their room status.
4. Powering Your Text Message to Serve the Guests Individually/ Streamlining Guests’ Requests
This strategy is useful as it allows the guests to type in their requests directly to the staff which, in turn, allows the latter to take quick actions and fulfill requests in the shortest time possible. For instance, if a guest is relaxing by the pool and needs a beverage, they can simply text their request to the staff instead of having to walk up to the front desk to convey the same.
Again, you can handle the general and unexpected scenarios well with PMS and Text integration.
a) Birthday MessageYou can keep a track of your valued guests who have opted in for promotional and give out special offers or discounts to them on their special day via the text message:
“Happy birthday, Jennifer! On your special day, we are gifting you a 30% discount on your next stay which must be redeemed by the end of this month.”
b) Extended Stay or Late Check-Out MessageYou can also make additional income out of extended stays or late check-outs. For instance, text messaging can be made to allow you to know what rooms are vacant for the day on the basis of which your staff will be able to provide late check-out or extended stay facility to the guests desiring it the most. This way you can gain additional income out of that.
c) Thank You Message to the Customer Opting for a Particular Service
If your guests have opted for a service, thank them for using it and also use this as an opportunity to gain quick feedback. But make sure not to make it sound annoying and clingy as the guests might opt-out if they find it so:
“Thank you for using our Spa Service. Hope you enjoyed it! We would really appreciate your quick feedback on how we may improve it…”
d) Special Discount MessageWith the text-messaging service, you have the chance of notifying your customers about the special discounts and best deals. Again, you can give them a booking or experience discount:
“Dear Jennifer! Thank you for making a reservation of the Superior Suite for *date*. If you wish to dine at the hotel restaurant, reserve a table today and receive a 15% discount on your bill. Your booking reference ID is *XXXX.* See you!”
e) ‘Miss You’ Message
For the lost-clients, the text message will be an effective way to re-establish the connection:
“We miss you, Jennifer! We are giving out a special discount of 25% on the second night of stay. Call us on *number* to book. Offer expires in 30 days.”
5. Upsell and Promote Your Business Through Text And PMS Integration
Sending timely and relevant promotional text messages can help personalize the guest experience as every guest has specific requirements. You can actually personalize your guests’ experience by integrating your text-messaging service with a PMS which will lend out some unique information about your guests. For example, if a newly-wed or honeymoon couple is staying with you, can send them offers regarding an experience- couple spa, romantic dinner, etc.. You can surely up-sell this way and allow the guests to partake in the amenities and services that can help enhance their experience.
6. Gauge the Guest Experience to Make Way For Some Positive Feedback
While the medium of text messaging can allow you to get enough information about the guest and resolve any issues that might have cropped up during their stay. It all comes down to getting guest feedback to boost your online ranking and reviews. But not every guest staying with you will leave you a review just like that. An active approach is needed to prod the guests to do so. For this, a timely and convenient option will be required. Leverage the guest’s check-out date from your PMS to automate a text message. Since text messages are highly likely to be read and responded to, there are chances that you will be able to solve guests’ queries mid-stay only to avoid negative feedback. Again, the feedback data is stored in PMS which can be used for future improvements.
The integration of the guest messaging solution with the hotel PMS is extremely important for the flawless guest experience. It also improves staff productivity and operational efficiency. An additional benefit of this is that some guest messaging solutions also allow you to create rich guest profiles in your PMS for a track record and then segment the messages to maintain personalized communication. Again, the speedy reply saves time.
GuestTouch seamlessly Integrates with the following PMS to automate experiential guest messaging, from pre-arrival, check-in, during the stay and post-stay feedback review collection while keeping the guests’ preferences and privacy in mind :
And many more…
Looking for a PMS Integrated Text messaging? We can help!