Instant Messaging as a Marketing Tool for Your Hotel
Instant messaging has transformed how potential guests and customer service agents communicate with each other.
Messaging technology has never before allowed for a more personalized and sophisticated customer service experience!
According to a data report from the ‘ Information Society in Spain 2015’, instant messaging is the leading form of communication with 91.6% of users, followed by mobile calls with 90.9% of users and with 91% of communication done face-to-face. The Eurobarómetro analyzes the European market and reports that Spain is the biggest user of instant messaging in Europe- WhatsApp and Facebook being the most used messaging tools.
Specifically focused on analyses done in the hotel sector, last December the company OpenMarket conducted a study on the success of messaging-based interfaces among potential customers. More than 90% of respondents in the U.S. and in the U.K. stated that hospitality companies that communicate via text messages had been “very” or “somewhat” useful. While some hotel chains have incorporated instant messaging to make it easier for guests to report their needs during their stay, the Marriott hotel chain is interested in their hotel staff having contact with the traveler up to 72 hours before arrival. Technology should be adapted to the traveler and only by understanding customer needs will you be able to obtain differential results.
The high usage of messaging technology, means that instant messaging can redefine how your hotel interacts with guests in the following ways:
Direct and personal communication with the traveler.
Communication via smartphones allows for a more private and personal interaction with guests. Instant messaging adds the human touch to your online presence and allows potential customers to build a trusting relationship with your hotel, ultimately helping to increase conversions and customer satisfaction. By gathering information from the outset you will be able to customize services and marketing strategies for specific users.
Integration of real- time communication into your hotel´s departments and services.
Once communication through instant messaging has become widespread in your hotel, travelers can have access to internal communication via their own App. You can use conventional Messaging Apps before the reservation is made, and once the reservation is made, the traveler can use your hotel´s app to communicate with any of your departments.
A very low cost form of communication for the traveler.
Although instant messaging requires being connected to data or the Internet, communication with systems like Telegram or WeChat is highly accessible, thanks to its low cost. Travelers can communicate freely and expect to be offered the best service that your hotel can provide. The journey has begun in the traveler´s mind, so the customer’s first moment of interaction with your hotel is crucial for creating a positive perception of your hotel.
Hotel communication and management of groups.
There are different possibilities offered by this concept that are as curious as using mobile technology to create a WhatsApp group (for upselling and cross-selling). Another option could be to allow potential customers to voluntarily add you to a group that has been previously created, allowing you to market from within. These are some options adapted to new channels and to the alternatives offered by modern technology.
Product sales before, during and after the traveler’s visit.
Communication with the traveler, once the reservation has been confirmed, opens up a wide range of possibilities for your hotel. Designing a marketing strategy for travelers who have come through that channel, and that guests find attractive, will be your hotel´s mission and will determine your hotel´s capacity for “seduction.”
It is becoming the norm for hotels to use instant messaging as a business tool and as a way to enhance traveler experience. If we add to this the possibility of robots automating communication between guests and hotels, we are presented with an interesting debate on humanization and automated communication with the traveler. What do you think?