5 Vital Strategies to Consider When Messaging with Guests
It’s undeniable that direct messaging has become one of the most efficient ways of engaging with hotel guests while solving pressing inquiries and receiving on-site feedback. Over the years, we have gathered a number of resources that support the proper use of this communication mean.
But guests come in all shapes and sizes and it can sometimes be hard to establish a clear strategy of communicating with them via messaging. What are their preferred channels? Which are the best ways of addressing them? And what are the tried and true strategies that guarantee a positive outcome?
We’ll be answering these questions and more in this article so make sure to keep on reading about these 5 vital strategies to consider when messaging with guests.
Enable travelers’ preferred communication channels
Different people, types of travelers, and generations prefer different channels to communicate. While there are some clear preferences across the globe - like the extreme popularity of WeChat in China or Europe’s obsession with Whatsapp -, If your hotel is visited by international travelers, the best option is to provide them with multiple channel opportunities. By doing this, you enable your guests to choose their preferred method of communication, which makes them feel more at ease when reaching out and builds trust between them and the hotel brand. A complete messaging solution like the one we offer at TrustYou incorporates many different channels, from SMS, Facebook Messenger, and live chat to voice messaging and more.
Keep it short, but keep it meaningful
There are a large variety of topics that you can leverage when communication with your guests via text. The most important one relates to their hotel experience. So, before anything else, make sure to let them know that you are available for any inquiries or questions that they might have. One way would be to reach out to them after the check-in, or perhaps during their stay in order to provide useful information about different features of your hotel (time of breakfast, methods of transportation, events nearby), as well as ongoing promotions (Spa access, possibilities of an upgrade, loyalty programs, etc). Last, but definitely not least, you can encourage your guests to provide feedback, either through on-the-spot impressions or through a quick survey. Keep in mind that messaging is not the best place to hold long conversations, so it’s important to get your texts across in a succinct and efficient way.
Adopt a personal tone and a friendly attitude
In order to encourage guests to communicate more, you need to keep things personal. This doesn’t have to translate to intrusive or inappropriate, but simply kind, genuine, and not so formal. Approach your guests with a friendly and respectful tone because often times this can generate a similar response. For example, instead of sending a standard, impersonal message like “Please submit your review”, try something like “How is your stay going so far?” or “Is there anything we can do for you right now?”. People are more inclined to open up and continue a conversation when the tone of it is human and genuinely interested in their impressions and feedback, as opposed to a standard software-generated text.
Know the best times to reach out
Guest outreaches should definitely not happen around the clock. There are obvious times when you don’t want to message your guests (during the night, for example, or early in the morning), but there are also some other time issues that you should keep in mind. Be responsive and make sure that you are available for upholding a conversation, especially if you are the one initiating it. It is estimated that 90% of texts are opened within three minutes, so your guests are likely to reply in a short amount of time. You need to ensure that you can do the same. Also, it is noted that hotels should strive to reply to new messages within 15 minutes. It’s important to be responsive and ready to offer support, otherwise, your guests will feel like they are not being heard.
Set a limit and don’t overdo it
Once you start a conversation with a guest, it can be tempting to overdo things. Maybe you’re thinking to be extra helpful and offer additional information or promotions, but it’s important to not “spam” your guests. Depending on the length of their stay, it’s recommended to reach out a moderate amount of time. Let’s say you have a certain guest for a week - you can send the initial message once he arrives, again when/if you have a certain promotion or upgrade for him and also once or twice when requesting feedback. You can also reach out right before his departure, to thank him for his stay and end with a positive note. This is an area in which you need to be intuitive and anticipate needs and expectations. But just to be sure, it’s better to reach out less than to overdo it, as long as you make it clear to your guests that you are available via messaging and eager to help with whatever they might need during their stay.
Leverage messaging to receive and use real-time feedback
This is one of the most important and useful functionalities of direct messaging. Until recently, the norm in terms of feedback was to send out a post-stay guest survey, which would highlight the hotel experience after the opportunity to make a positive effect. While this is still incredibly valuable, by receiving feedback on the spot, prompt and efficient staff can still turn that less-than-pleasant impression around. Make use of all the direct messaging capabilities to encourage your guests to speak their mind, make inquiries, or ask for help and defuze any arising issues before they turn into negative post-stay feedback that would be online, for everyone to see.