Everything You Need to Know About Guest Messaging for Your Hotel

People are addicted to their smartphones more than ever. After all, these little devices allow us to have the world in the palms of our hands and access information previous generations couldn’t even dream of. That’s why nearly 90% of people always have their smartphones near them, easily accessible.

If you want to get in touch with someone, mobile communication is the most intuitive contact method. Whether you want to talk to friends, colleagues, or even customers, messaging apps are the easiest and most convenient way.

Hotels are no exception to this rule.

If you’ve never used guest messaging before – from sending automated messages in Facebook Messenger to answer service requests to using guest messaging tools to process guest requests – here is everything you need to know about it.

What is Guest Messaging in the First Place?

Guest messaging software (also known as hotel guest messaging platforms) allows hotels to communicate effectively with their guests on the go. From the moment the guests check in to the time they leave, it enables hotels to provide personalized service and reach out to guests whenever there’s a need.

Some 8 out of 10 millennials say they text way more than they talk on their smartphones. But it’s not just the young consumers that rely on messaging apps. Even older generations prefer to get digital notifications rather than phone calls.

With guest messaging tools, hotel visitors can privately communicate with your staff, receive automated messages, and get personalized recommendations. It allows them to request a special service, ask for a personal concierge, and even talk to hotel employees after their departure.

With the use of guest messaging tools, hotels can:

  • Easily communicate with guests in advance of their arrival
  • Create a feedback loop that will lead to more engagement
  • Quickly answer service requests
  • Create personalized guest experiences
  • Motivate visitors to leave good reviews

When you consider all of that, it’s no wonder that 44% of owners say that they’re at least somewhat likely to implement guest messaging solutions within a year.

What is Guest Messaging Software?

A guest messaging software (GMS) solution is a tool that allows hotel owners and managers to engage with guests privately, automate notifications, and send personalized recommendations. GMS solutions allow you to provide great customer service, increase guest engagement, and build relationships with your guests.

With guest messaging software by your side, you can more easily map every step in the customer journey of your guests and develop a communication strategy tailored to their needs. With GMS, you can:

  • Send pre-arrival messages that will welcome your guests
  • Enable digital registration and contactless checkins
  • Provide personalized recommendations based on their preferences
  • Gather feedback and review information in real-time
  • Send out post-stay surveys that will help you improve services
  • Upsell products and services to returning guests

Most GMS solutions can be integrated with your hotel’s property management system (PMS). That allows your front desk staff to process guest requests and communicate with them without any extra work.

How Do Hotels Communicate With Guests?

So what are some of the ways hotels talk with their guests? There are multiple channels you can use. Some work better for smaller players, others work perfectly for hotel chains, and some are versatile enough to be used by any type of business. Let’s look at some of the most widely-used ones:

Social Messaging Apps

Meta’s social messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, have over 4 billion monthly users combined. In the past, hotels that targeted younger consumers used social messaging apps to communicate with guests. However, everyone uses these apps, so no matter the target audience, you should consider having a presence on these platforms.

Chatbot/AI Tool

As we entered 2023, the interest in AI tools exploded. Even before, millions of businesses used chatbots to streamline customer interactions. That not only helped guests find the information they were looking for much faster but also helped businesses save money on hiring. Thanks to AI advancements, chatbots are becoming more and more sophisticated, and many businesses are even using them to replace or supplement the customer service staff.

Guest Messaging Platform

While social platforms and AI solutions both have their advantages, nothing can replace a real guest messaging platform. A centralized system for sending and receiving guest messages will allow you to keep track of conversations as well as send targeted communications without leaving the platform.

HelloShift is a smart, unified communication system designed specifically for hotels that streamlines the guest experience and allows hotels to provide exceptional service. With HelloShift, hotel staff can easily message guests about promotions, cross-sell services, and send personalized recommendations.

Benefits of Guest Messaging

In the hospitality industry, building relationships means a lot. Hotels often depend on repeated visits, so they need to provide an exceptional experience. That’s why having direct communication with guests is so important. A guest messaging tool will enable easy, transparent communication with your visitors.

Texting – whether via a guest messaging platform, social media apps, or SMS – is the preferred means of guest communication. Research shows that more than 85% of people prefer receiving messages to answering calls or emails. Since your guests probably own a mobile device, a guest messaging tool can help you reach them quickly and efficiently.

But speed and efficiency aren’t the only selling points for guest messaging platforms. There are many more benefits to guest messaging tools for hotels, including:

Improved Guest Communication

Let’s get the most obvious benefit right out of the way – unlike other forms of communication, direct messaging to guests provides a one-on-one dialogue. That means your staff can quickly address questions and resolve issues with minimal effort.

But that’s not all. Unlike other forms of client communication, guest messaging allows you to aggregate cross-channel messages, monitor communication, and analyze it. In turn, that will help you tweak your communication efforts, come up with new ideas, and provide an even better guest experience.

Increased Guest Engagement

Sometimes, unexpected things happen. Rooms run late, hotel staff experiences heavy traffic or a change in the availability of services. When these things occur, it may be necessary to contact all the guests immediately to inform them about the changes.

Having a guest messaging platform can help you do that quickly and efficiently. According to G2 research, more than 80% of people open every direct message they receive, which means you’re sure to get their attention. This way, your guests will always be in the know and can plan accordingly.

Better Guest Experience

Keeping the consumers satisfied is the name of the game, no matter what business you’re in. And in the hospitality industry, it’s even more important. The guests need to have room service and spa menus, resort maps, and instructions in case of emergency near them at all times.

But most hotels are getting rid of all printed collateral. That’s because:

  • More and more businesses are trying to go paperless
  • Guests don’t have an abundance of physical items in their rooms
  • Guest messaging software is simply much handier

By implementing a digital guidebook you can easily provide these instructions and other relevant information directly to the guests. Your guests want their needs to be taken care of quickly and efficiently, so a direct messaging platform is a perfect way to ensure that’s happening. 

Encouraging Online Reviews

Whether you’re aware of it or not, people pay attention to what others say about you online. A recent survey of consumers revealed that a staggering 94% of people actively avoided doing business with a brand after reading a negative review. If you’re running a small operation, just a couple of negative reviews can destroy you.

For that reason, it’s important to make sure you’re collecting reviews from your guests. Of course, you can’t force people to leave positive reviews, but a well-crafted direct message can be very effective in reminding the guests to leave a review.

You want guest satisfaction to be relly, really high. On average, a satisfied person will tell 6 people about their experience with a brand. There’s no better marketing than word-of-mouth. One good customer experience can easily turn into repeated visits and new guests.

To make sure your guests have a great time, you need to be able to respond to their inquiries and requests quickly. And guest messaging software will help you do that.

By using guest messaging software, your staff can provide timely answers, which leads to increased guest satisfaction levels.

Dos and Don’ts of Guest Messaging

For both experienced and new hotel managers and owners, the benefits of guest messaging are quite clear. They help you create stronger relationships with guests, make the time they spend at your establishment more enjoyable, and help you spread the word about it in the process. What’s there not to like?

But before you look into your first guest messaging tool and start spending time and resources, you need to learn how to use it properly. There are certain things you should, and others should avoid when using these platforms. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of guest messaging software:

Do: Reach Out to Hotel Guests at the Right Time

When you want a guest to do something – whether it’s for your or their good – you need to reach out to them at the right time. If you wait too long, the information you send to them might become irrelevant, and your message might slip through the cracks.

For example, let’s say a person books a room at your hotel. Nothing out of the ordinary. They want a confirmation message, and you need to send one as quickly as possible. If the message arrives a day late, you might end up losing a potential long-term guest. In short, all messages need to be sent in a timely manner.

Don’t: Write Overly-Long Messages

So you want to keep your guests in the loop about the latest news about your hotel, or you have some great pieces of advice for them. That’s great! The guests will really appreciate the extra touch.

Well, guest satisfaction will be up if you manage to keep everything concise and easy to read. If you send a novel-worthy message, chances are it will get lost in the crowd.

Being informative and short at the same time may be a hard task, but the effort will pay off. When there’s more than one thing you need to communicate, try cutting all the extra fat and keeping only the essentials. Using bullet points is a great way to go about it.

Do: Provide Personalized Service

When you’re talking to your guests, you can’t treat them just like any other person. You need to recognize them as an individual and tailor your service accordingly. Did you know that now, two-thirds of consumers expect brands to provide personalized experiences instead of generic ones?

It’s your job to make sure your service keeps guest satisfaction at an incredibly high level. A platform like HelloShift will help you by storing all the relevant information about the guests and their stay, so you can use it to customize your messages. The more personalized the messages are, the better.

Don’t: Be Generic and Impersonal

When you’re sending out any kind of message, whether it’s to multiple people or just one, you need to make sure the message echoes personality and warmth. Sterile, straight-to-the-point messages don’t make people want to stay or return.

But how do you go about making it more personal? Well, take the time to read the data your guest messaging software stores and use it to personalize each message. Mention specific amenities, and highlight the points about your hotel that make it stand out from the competition. And most importantly, be friendly and helpful!

Do: Use Messaging Platforms to Upsell

People often don’t realize what amenities or services your hotel has to offer. You need to do the job for them and let them know about all your great offerings – the ones they may not even know exist.

Upselling can be very beneficial because it encourages people to spend more money on their stay. You can offer them special packages, discounts or deals they may not be aware of when booking their stay.

Most people don’t think about guest messaging software tools as great upselling platforms, but they are. When used properly, upselling techniques can help you improve your bottom line significantly. As Forbes explains, cross-selling and upselling via text messages have conversion rates as high as 23%.

Don’t: Spam the Hotel Guests With Useless Messages

You definitely know what spam is. All those fake and useless emails trying to scam you out of your money. Some 85% of emails you receive might be considered “spam messages.” But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

When you receive a message, you usually assume it’s something that’s relevant and important. That’s why spamming hotel guests is a really bad idea – it will make them think twice before booking with you again.

Instead of spamming people, focus on providing useful and helpful information they can use during their stay. Send them a welcome message when they arrive and let them know about the services your hotel offers. Send them a follow-up message after the stay is over, and thank them for the experience.

Start With Real-Time Guest Messaging Software Today

At the end of the day, guest messaging is key to making sure your guests are happy and satisfied with their stay. Guest messages keep your guests informed and engaged and help you upsell services or amenities.

To improve communication with hotel staff, get guest feedback, and improve overall guest satisfaction, you need the right guest messaging software. That’s where HelloShift comes in.

Our software offers you a comprehensive suite of features to manage your guests, boost your reviews and increase your revenue. Not to mention boost your guest satisfaction rates through the roof.

Guest Messaging & Website Chat to understand the guest needs. Contactless Checkin to empower guests with self-service. Staff Collaboration and Housekeeping Management to deliver phenomenal hotel service delivery.

Digitize your hotel with Staff Collaboration, Guest Messaging, Contactless Checkin, WebChat, and Housekeeping in one app.

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