Trends & Insights Everything Hotels Should Know About Messaging with WhatsApp Laura Badiu // August 29, 2018 // 6 minute read It’s been almost 10 years since WhatsApp hit the market for individual users and people all around the world just can’t seem to get enough of it. Why would they, really? This particular app has become incredibly popular and its applicability now goes beyond the entertainment function. In the beginning of this year, WhatsApp unveiled their Business app to small businesses, slowly adding new regions to the list of available countries. Until now, many mid- and large- sized companies have been strategizing and planning how to add WhatsApp to their communication mix. Anticipating all of the issues that hotels will face, TrustYou is gearing up to add WhatsApp to our Guest Messaging solution, joining FB Messenger, Google Messaging, SMS, Webchat, and Email solutions. So here’s why you should definitely look into the benefits of WhatsApp to prepare for the inevitable future! First of all, it’s no longer a secret that communication between guests and hotel staff is often used in in form of direct messaging. Our study shows that guests are significantly more likely to have a better experience when communicating through text messages and on social media. Also, keeping the lines of communication open during the on-site phase means that travelers are provided with an additional way of expressing their opinion and concerns on the spot. They are extremely likely (91%) to report service issues during their stay, which enables hoteliers to improve the overall experience and avoid negative post-stay reviews. Among many options in terms of direct messaging - SMS, Facebook messenger, etc.- what does WhatsApp have to offer and why should you use it? Well, first of all, as already mentioned, WhatsApp is incredibly popular, especially among the younger generations who have become accustomed to using it all day, every day. It is estimated that WhatsApp has currently over 1.2 billion users worldwide, which is more than Twitter and Snapchat combined. Data shows that WhatsApp has the strongest geographic position, being the top messaging app in 128 countries across the globe. It is also one of the most popular social platforms in general, being surpassed only by Facebook and Youtube. Stats show that WhatsApp handles more than 1.6 billion photos per day, having made its way into the everyday lives of users everywhere. Keeping some level of comfort when communicating with guests is essential and providing them with means that they are already familiar with is something that can make your hotel business more approachable and personal. This is also enforced by the fact that WhatsApp requires phone numbers, which means that you can break through the email spam folder and reach your guest more easily, through a trustworthy connection. Also, the familiarity of the app is most likely applicable in the case of the hotel staff as well, so training is more or less unnecessary. Being such a highly frequented service means that both hotel guests and hotel staff will easily transition towards using it for business communication. WhatsApp supports businesses everywhere by enabling special business profiles. For hoteliers, this means that you can create an official profile with important and helpful information for your customers, which can include the address, business description, email address, website, and so on. It’s a way to establish and validate the business status and differentiating yourself from other users. Going even further, let’s talk about how WhatsApp can actually help you leverage your hotel business, beyond the brand awareness part. As for functionalities, you can probably already think of ways in which WhatsApp is a great channel for direct communication: the ability to create groups, send larger files and attachments, and even set up automated messages - these are all features that ease communication and make it even more personal and meaningful. One of the biggest advantages of this app, compared to others, is that it enables business users to get authoritative read receipts, which means that measuring the ROI becomes easier and more efficient. Also on the topic of revenue, WhatsApp is a great channel for promotions and upsells. Think of it like this: the guests are already checked-in, you have basic information about them, you can also ask for more insights into their needs and expectations and therefore, send a personalized offer or promotion that might catch their interest. Again, this is done through a communication channel that they trust and it makes interaction personal and customized. Last, but certainly not least, let’s not forget about one of the most important traits of a successful hotel business: its excellent reputation. The entire spectre of feedback is no longer resumed to the post-stay phase of a guest’s journey. Given modern communication means, including WhatsApp, it’s now easier than ever to ask for feedback while a guest is on site. Our previous study reveals that requested feedback tends to be more positive when requested by an accommodation. Asking for on site feedback can also decrease possible issues before they turn into negative experiences and bad online reviews. Nothing says that you care about your guests’ positive experience and well-being more than an action. So you see, WhatsApp is a great and familiar way to communicate with your hotel guests and keep them close during their stay. It also has the potential to integrate into a valuable customer engagement strategy. Due to its multiple, easy-to-use functionalities, this app requires minimal effort and investment, but it certainly pays off. Guests have the ability to contact the staff at any time and they are provided with a personal way of communicating and expressing their requests and feedback. These can be the exact details that, at the end of the day, make the difference between an “ok” hotel business and an excellent, people-oriented one. Given the numerous ways of communicating in this tech-driven era, it is highly recommended to simplify operations, through the use of a multi-communication channel. TrustYou Guest Messaging provides more value to the entire hotel-guest communication process, by enabling multiple channels, including WhatsApp, but not only. Hoteliers can use the messaging tool to also reach guests through other prefered means of communication, such as SMS, email, Facebook Messenger, Google Messaging, and webchat. In order to avoid having to use different independent tools, through separate sign-ins, hoteliers can now enjoy a complex messaging tool, with multiple communication options, all appealing to modern guests. Stay tuned for more info about our own upcoming WhatsApp integration. We’re taking messaging to the next level and making sure that you have the best possible tool when communicating with your guests!