There’s no doubting the power of reviews in today’s world. Social media and review sites like TripAdvisor give potential visitors a pretty good idea of what to expect at a hotel without ever having to visit it.
That’s one reason ensuring guests get the best customer service is high on a hotelier’s list of things to do. If that’s true for you, read on to see how sending SMS messages to your guests can improve your guest satisfaction ratings.
Impact Of Reviews
To keep things in perspective, here is some data from a study done by the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University.
Travelers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores when the room price is the same
When given the option, travellers will book a more expensive hotel with higher ratings over a less expensive one with lower ratings
76% of travellers are willing to pay more for hotels that have higher ratings
More data from Travelocity showed just a single point increase on a five-point scale (3 stars to 4 stars for example) means hotels can charge 11.2% more and still keep the same occupancy rate.
The question is, how can you get that extra star or review points? Enter SMS messaging.
I’ve read in many places that hotels received better reviews that could be directly attributed to the use of SMS messaging. Unfortunately, the sources for those statements were never mentioned (I’m a stickler for finding original sources), so I can’t quote you the definitive study that proves it.
But what I did find were two examples that can help make the case. One is an anecdotal example pulled from TripAdvisor. The other one is a limited study of a hotel group “left unnamed” discussed in an article.
The claim that SMS messages are directly responsible for improved ratings is based on a couple different ideas. First, good communication often helps resolve guest issues, which means they are likely to leave a positive review. SMS is quick and very familiar to guests so it’s a perfect choice to use.
Second, is when guests leave specific positive comments about using SMS in their reviews, we can assume SMS helped contribute to the positive review (the opposite may also be true too). Here’s an example in the image below.
It’s pretty easy to see they were impressed with the use of SMS messaging at that hotel.
My second example comes from an article on tnooz.com. It recounted an unnamed hotel brand that experimented with SMS messaging. It tested it out on half of their customers, and the other half only received the current standard communications (via phone, email, in-person, etc.).
The SMS messaging side did so well the hotel brand implemented it and saw a 20% boost in its net promoter score on average. Assuming the article is accurate, that’s a pretty good example to follow.
How To Use It
SMS messaging can be used in many different ways within a hotel. Here are some examples:
Send welcome texts to guests the day before check-in to get the experience started
Provide weather information for their stay too so they can come prepared
Send hotel contact details the day of arrival so they can easily access it if they need it
Update them on check-in times if there is early availability of rooms (see review from TripAdvisor above)
Offer room service via text message rather than a call to a busy kitchen with potentially short-tempered staff
Wake-up “calls” via text are effective, yet less intrusive to the guests (provided they remember to leave the sound turned up on their mobile)
Take complaints via SMS for those who are averse to confrontation, but not to writing bad reviews
Follow-up with guests via SMS after their stay with an SMS survey
That certainly isn’t a complete list, but it gives an idea of what’s possible.
Another thing to remember is it’s always important to personalise the messages if you can. Simply including the guest’s name in the message will help them feel more recognised and appreciated. Other details like check-in times, activity reservations or other specific information the guests find useful will only make them feel even better about their stay – and about you when they rate you on their favourite review site.
Have you had a great SMS messaging experience at your hotel? Have you ever been a guest at a hotel that used it? Please share in the comments.