What to look for when choosing a Guest Messaging tool
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What are the benefits of Guest Messaging?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions for Bookboost Guest Messaging by hotel managers.
To answer this question, first, we need to understand what is Guest Messaging.
Guest Messaging for hotels is to communicate with guests via Website Chat, SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp… while also helping guests to contact hotels via the same channels.
Guest messaging is full of flexibility and possibilities. How it can help really depends on you - what is your current concern and what fits your hotel. Bookboost has interviewed some hotels and found out three main categories:
1. Operation Efficiency: I want to cut repetitive phone calls and emails
For some hoteliers, the motivation to utilize Guest Messaging is simply to answer fewer phone calls and emails with the same questions and requests, while focusing on conversations with more business potentials.
Oskar, the Sales & Revenue Director of Grand Hotel in Lund, Sweden, contacted Bookboost because he wants to “rescue” his staff from phone calls. His reservation team has to take more than 100 calls every day, mostly with the same questions. “Many people ask about the opening hours of the restaurant, which is clearly stated on the website,'' says Oskar. “My team is drowning in inquiry emails and calls, while the bookings don’t go up with the number of calls”.
To solve Oskar’s problem, Bookboost introduced the Omnichannel Website Chat to him. It has the function of the Flow Chatbot, which provides useful information in the form of a dialogue flow. In the website chat, guests click tabs to answer their specific queries and get information by themselves. Guests can also choose the messaging app they prefer (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp…) to keep the conversation so that they won’t miss the hotel's response. You can actually see how the Omnichannel Website Chat works in Grand Hotel Lund.
The Omnichannel Website Chat has relieved Oskar and his team from a lot of wasted hours. Bookboost has spared Oskar and his team 92% of repetitive questions, of which guests have found answers from the website chat by themselves. It turns out only 8% of all inquiries need to be answered manually. “Now my staff can focus on booking related queries to increase direct bookings and cross-sell.” Says Oskar.
2. Guest Satisfaction: I want my guests to have a better experience
For Maika, the Operations Manager at Jorplace Hostel, guest satisfaction is her major concern. Bookboost’s Proactive Direct Messaging enables her to micro-segment guests and send targeted SMS to guests by integrating with the hotel PMS. Having the tool, Maika has successfully made her guests feel taken care of during the guest journey.
For example, Jorplace took advantage of the personalized SMS and provided a tailored-made local guide for arriving guests who are excited to hit the streets and beaches. It has created a sense of caring for the guests, while previously, these newly arrived guests were left in the lobby waiting for check-in.
This has resulted in a significant increase in guest satisfaction for Jorplace. Its conversion rate of hotel review request has improved notably from 1.2% to 8%, and the average review score has grown over 11% in only two months!
For another customer of Bookboost, a themed resort in Denmark, their concern is to smooth the guest experience by better managing the hotel capacity for services and restaurants by giving each customer pre-arranged time slots. They plan to use the personalized SMS to provide breakfast times for guests to choose from, making the check-in process more seamless and efficient, while giving guests a great first impression upon arrival.
3. Cross-selling: I want to gain more revenue
SMS marketing is highly effective in cross-selling with its high open-rate of 99% and a conversion rate of 10% (Bookboost’s case study data). In particular, segmentation and content relevance are the most important factors that influence the effect of SMS .
Personalization is key in guest communication. By micro-segmenting guests and provide highly relevant information through a personalized SMS, the Danish themed resort mentioned above can sell the kid’s mini-bar package to family travelers and recommend the wine tasting in their restaurant to couples.
Going even further beyond the imagination, hotels can improve service, cut costs, and increase revenueat the same time with a simple personalized SMS. For example, a concept city hotel in Belgium saves housekeeping costs by sending guests a message to check whether they need their room cleaned. Guests often forget to hang out the “no cleaning” sign simply by accident; Instead, they pay more attention to SMS, which is more direct and attention-arousing.
Further, by sending guest messages, hotels can optimize cross-selling by better managing time and resources. The spa is a resource with restricted conditions as you need staff to provide service and the spots are limited. On the other hand, the working time of spa staff is not evenly distributed. Some time slots are more favored by guests while other times are quiet (e.g. lunch hours). However, even during these quiet times, every minute still creates costs for hotels with a zero ROI. Sending targeted SMS to those guests who are most likely to book a Spa and offer a special price during the less busy time is a smart move. It can effectively increase the Spa occupancy and bring in more revenue. At the same time, you harvest a happy guest who feels rewarded to have a special-offer spa treatment.
In general, all the examples and reasons for hoteliers to adopt Guest Messaging return to one core - having personalized and direct communication with your guests. When you connect with your guests directly, the opportunities are more than you can imagine.
The possibility of Guest Messaging is unlimited, it’s only your imagination that sets the boundary.
 Shareef, M.A., Dwivedi, Y.K., and Kumar, U. (2017). Content design of advertisement for consumer exposure: Mobile marketing through short messaging service. International Journal of Information Management. No. 37, pp. 257–268.