They say time and tide wait for no one; I'd like to add changes in guest behavior to that list. Changes in guest behavior aren’t something that can be controlled or stopped. But it can be used to make life easier for hoteliers. Right now, the change we’re noticing is the adoption of instant messaging by hotels to simplify communication.
If we turn back the dial and take a look at hotel reservations before, it was customary to call a hotel to make reservations and inquire about rates and rooms. But as the internet became more popular, hotels changed to accept online reservations and email confirmations. Phone calls have steadily become less popular as a way to get in touch.
Recently, a new trend we've noticed is marketing and communication through instant messaging apps. Because changing guest behavior necessitates fewer phone calls and emails aren't checked as frequently. Conversely, instant messaging is regularly employed. The incredible growth in usage from one year to the next gives us a glimpse of what's going on. Together, the Meta family of apps has over 7 billion active users per month, with 2.3 billion users using one of these apps every single day. The second most widely used app is WeChat, with 1.3 billion users. 37.5% of the world actively uses these apps.
The top priority for every hotel should be to monitor and adjust for guest behavior. The second would be how quickly these adjustments were put into effect. The ability to distinguish between what is a trend and what will eventually become an inextricable part of the fabric of hotels is also crucial at this time. The adoption of instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, etc. has changed guest behavior and, therefore, the hotel sector today. Being at the front row for these changes, I’ve seen conversations that range from “This won’t work at all” to “This is the next revolution the hotel industry needs”
Hotels can use this new trend to solve some of their biggest problems right now with little trouble.
A platform that acts as a 24/7 support system for every guest, guests have the luxury of simply picking up their phone and contacting the hotel in a few clicks. It's also easier for hotels to automate certain prompts that can answer questions, solve problems, and give guests the information they need in seconds, no matter where they are.
One way to lessen the effect of negative feedback and experiences is to fix problems as soon as they come up. Globally, hotels are taking 4.3 days to respond to negative reviews. Guest messaging apps make this instant and lead to 400% more positive reviews online.
Build stronger guest relationships
These platforms are straightforward communication tools that support the development of better relationships because of their ability to be personilised and simplicity of use. Hotels can use a centralized control system to send out messages in a conversational tone to a large number of people to get their attention and get to know them better. Because these networks are digital and always on, hotels and guests can always get in touch with each other.
Why is this better than emails? 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but consumers only open 1 in 4 emails they receive. This 2 way communication opens up a host of opportunities for the hotel while optimizing guest communication with hotels.
IM simplifies processes for hotels
One aspect of instant messaging is the convenience it provides to the guest, but the benefits to the hotel itself are immeasurable. Instant messaging gives hotels a rare chance to connect with guests through conversations, offer personalized experiences, send mass messages, and, with the right AI help, even track guest sentiments through these messages.
Upsell with ease
Re-engage with guests at essential moments to upsell the right hotel services. With the added personal touch of being on a more personal platform with higher open rates. Each message can be sent at any point in the guest's journey, including pre-arrival and post-stay. The right time would mean maximizing the chances of a conversion. For instance, late check-out messages tend to work best on Sundays. For instance, for rooms with couples, it's a safe bet that if a complimentary drink is offered with a special dinner, they will take it.
When used properly, upselling and cross-selling with SMS can have a conversion rate as high as 23% which is 8 times higher than that of email. An average person checks their phone 30 times a day, with 3 hours spent on their devices. That’s why instant messaging apps can help provide the maximum return for messages sent.
Since 1978, when the first spam email was sent, to the present, audiences' behavior has swiftly altered, which has had a profound impact on the field of digital marketing. Being in the service industry means the customer is always right, whether it be with how dirty their room is or how their psyche as a whole has evolved. Nobody can predict what the next big thing is, but right now, hotels that want to make it big should hop in on the instant messaging world.
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RateGain Travel Technologies Limited is a global provider of SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality that works with over 2200+ customers in over 100+ countries helping them accelerate revenue generation through acquisition, retention and wallet share expansion. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in India, today RateGain works with Top 23 of 30 Hotel Chains, Top 25 of 30 Online Travel Agents and all the top car rentals including 8 Global Fortune500 companies. RateGain is one of the world's largest processors of electronic transactions and price points for the travel and hospitality industry and is the largest Software as a Service ("SaaS") company in the hospitality and travel industry in India. It offers travel and hospitality solutions across a wide spectrum of verticals including hotels, airlines, online travel agents ("OTAs"), meta-search companies, vacation rentals, package providers, car rentals, rail, travel management companies, cruises and ferries. For more information, please visit www.rategain.com