The hotel business revolves around customers. A hotel caters to customers who visit the hotel to stay and avail of various associated services the hotel offers like spa, restaurant, etc. The hotel business faces severe competition from the likes of Airbnb that offers a different business model. Hotels need to put in more efforts to reach out to customers and implement innovative marketing strategies to attract customers. One of the simple yet effective marketing strategies that a hotel can use is Text Message Marketing.
Even though we live in the internet age, where internet apps are used predominantly, text messaging is still popular. It can be used very effectively by businesses to promote their products and engage with customers. Business Text messaging services can be used by hotels to engage with existing customers and leads. Text messages reach a mobile phone, irrespective of whether it has internet connectivity or not. Studies have shown that more than 97% of mobile users would read the messages they receive. The response rate for text messages is high, making them apt for hotels to use.
Text messaging in hotels
Hotels can effectively use text messages to try to acquire new customers, get more bookings, and engage with existing customers. The objective of a hotel’s business strategy is to increase booking and earn revenue. There are different ways in which they can use SMS marketing to do this. Some of the key ways include:
1) Inform about special offers
Getting customers to book, a hotel room involves various marketing strategies. One of the best ones is to offer discounts or come out with special offers. These offers would be attractive and can make a hotel be more competitive than others. Customers would book rooms or packages if they get a good offer. The hotel can use group texting to send messages to all customers informing them of the latest offers, discounts, and other promotional packages.
2) Use location-based marketing
Another effective use of technology and SMS messages is to implement location-based marketing. When a customer visits a particular location, then messages can be sent to the customer informing of nearby hotels. The hotel can tie up with a provider to promote its brand through location-based marketing. This ensures messages from the hotel are sent to the customer as soon as the customer reaches near the hotel.
3) Bookings of rooms through messages
Most hotels offer options to book rooms online. SMS messages can also be used to make bookings. The customer can be prompted to use a keyword to send details of the dates when he wants a room. The bookings can be confirmed through the message. An SMS Autoresponder can be used to reply immediately to every customer who sends a message. This ensures immediate engagement with the customers. If rooms are available, then this can be informed to the customer through SMS.
Information on hotel rooms can be sent, including types of rooms and facilities. The use of MMS pictures can be helpful in sending photos of rooms. Customers can confirm their booking through SMS and can even send payment details over message. The entire booking process from inquiry until confirmation of booking can be done through messaging. Alternately, a link to the webpage where this can be done can be sent through SMS.
4) Reminder messages
SMS can be used to send reminder messages to customers. Reminders on completion of booking, payment reminders, and reminders on forthcoming bookings can be sent through SMS. Using messaging software can help implement this seamlessly. Messages can be scheduled to be sent at pre-determined dates and times. Reminders would be helpful so that customers remember their booking and it would help them reach the hotel on time.
5) Loyalty rewards
One of the most powerful marketing strategies is to reward customers for their loyalty. Those customers who remain loyal to the hotel need to get a special reward like discounts on the next booking or free additional services. Loyalty rewards can be managed through SMS. Customers can use interactive text messaging to find out details of loyalty points they have earned. They can then take a look at reward options and redeem the points for the reward of their choice. All this can happen through SMS.
Like all service organizations, hotels also need to understand feedback from customers. This would help in identifying weak areas and fix them. It would also help hotels to offer services or packages that the customer is looking for. Text messages can be used to obtain feedback from customers. They can be asked a question and they need to reply with a number to indicate the feedback.
Text messaging offers a range of options that hotels can use to engage better with customers. This can help them increase their bookings and get enhanced revenue.