— 5 min read —
What is messaging?
Amidst a climate of continually advancing technology, the mobile device in particular has come a long way. What could once simply make calls is now a completely multi-purpose device, thanks to the staggering 1.5 million apps offered by Apple, and 1.6 million available on Android devices as of 2015 – Smartphones can do pretty much anything.
Yet, funnily enough, it takes rewinding almost back to the very beginning to pinpoint the introduction of what remains one of the most popular functions: the original SMS messaging. Whether it be by sending a simple text, or going through one of the specialist messaging apps, such as the popular WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Smartphone users undoubtedly value their ability to message on their devices above most other features.
This is not to say that messaging itself hasn’t advanced – in fact, it is easier and more adaptable to the user’s needs than ever, thanks to Apple providing the option of receiving read receipts on iMessage for example, and the ease of creating group chats on multiple platforms. Also handy is the way in which users can both send SMS messages and use applications that are Internet-based – thus making them free with WiFi – suiting any mobile phone plan. Sending a message to a friend instantaneously has never been easier.
But how does this all impact upon the hospitality industry?
When you consider the fact that 75% of today’s travellers use mobile devices, it’s not hard to suss out why hotels are increasingly looking to innovate by integrating digital means of communication into their services. There exists a new type of guest – the ‘milennials’ – who, having grown up with technology, would rather not have to verbally communicate with the front desk. Admittedly, this opens up the possible means of communication to a number of platforms.
However, in a business where guest satisfaction is the goal, the comfort and ease brought about by messaging clients directly, in a familiar format, is highly desirable. Private messaging is preferable to, for example, communicating via public social media forums such as Twitter, something hotels have attempted to make work in the past. A direct messaging service allows for the guest to more freely contact the front desk, then to be gratified by an instant and clear response.
In short, the act of sending a message takes a moment, and is just so easy, not to mention free on applications when connected to Wi-Fi. The opportunity of making small material orders, such as asking for another pillow, or booking a taxi, just by typing out a simple, informal message, is attractive to any client today.
…and what about for the hotel?
Happy guests are of course the key objective here, but the implementation of a messaging service in a hotel can also be hugely helpful to its management team. As well as meaning that the hotel has a clear record of interaction with each client, it also makes the hotelier’s life easier. Sending a message isn’t just easy for the guest – it’s quick and convenient on both ends. One big plus of a guest engagement mobile solution such as LoungeUp, which carries an integrated messaging function, is how simple it is for the hotel to run. The personalisable functions of such an application allow for…
The BackOffice of the LoungeUp app allows the hotel to personalise its communication with the clients easily and faultlessly, with the option of having pre-programmed messages sent automatically straight to the guests’ hands, in response to specific requests or even just upon arrival. Any number of different replies can be created, meaning that every guest across the hotel is able to receive an instant response, whilst minimising the stress upon hotel staff.
Messages in other languages can also be translated, making life easier for both the hotel and the guest as any language barrier is removed.
As SMS is still valued heavily, LoungeUp also provides an SMS service. The hotel has its own number, and so the guest is able to send them a text just as they would any friend – but the messages are delivered seamlessly to the BackOffice, where they can be easily dealt with in the same way as the messages sent direct through the app.
COMMUNICATION PRE- AND POST-STAY
This is a great boost of customer satisfaction, and is in a convenient format for the hotel and guest alike. With the opportunity to contact the hotel prior to and after the stay, with any requests or specific needs, the guest feels truly cared for. This in turn sparks more direct bookings, and a key sense of loyalty to the hotel. The hotel is also able to proactively contact the guest with promotions concerning room upgrades, breakfast, etc., maximising upselling. Even after their stay, the guest can be contacted to promote offers.
With all of these strands of messaging within the hospitality industry available, one can imagine the huge impact that it could have for many hotels. Fundamentally, what the phenomena allows for is more fluid and accessible communication between staff and guest, catering specifically to what the guest of day wants from their stay. The easily implemented and thorough personalisation of its app that LoungeUp offers makes it a great option for hotels who want to pursue this great opportunity to implement instant messaging within their services. It will be interesting to see how quick hotels are to follow this increasingly popular transition into the next stage of the digital age for the industry.
Written by Siobhan Sweeney