How Vacation Rentals Can Use Text Messages to Deliver Exceptional Guest Experiences
This blog post was written by Xperium.ai. Xperium is a guest experience and communication solution for hotels, vacation rentals, resorts, and apartments to promote upsells, communicate through well-timed messages, collect guest feedback, manage their overall online reputation, and deliver contactless experiences at scale.
Guest expectations have changed. In 2021 guests expect much more than just a clean bed, good food, and room service. We live in a mobile-first world where people get text messages for every amazon order, food delivery, ride booking, and flight itinerary. They have come to expect the same speedy and efficient interactions with vacation rentals throughout their guest journey. However, very few properties have actually implemented text messaging to connect with their guests.
According to campaign monitor
- Text messages have a 98% open rate.
- On average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text.
- 75% of people have suggested that they’d be happy to receive an offer via SMS.
In What Scenarios Can Text Messages Be Used to Engage With Your Guests?
- Booking confirmation:
Sending an automated confirmation text right after a guest books a room works as a sort of icebreaker allowing guests to respond and get any additional info they require.
- Online check-in/preference collection:
Allowing guests to fill in the registration form before they arrive at the hotel will help reduce wait time at the reception and allow the front desk staff to have meaningful conversations with arriving guests rather than just filling out paperwork. Preferences such as dietary restrictions, allergies, special requests, and airport pick-up service can all be collected pre-arrival once digital check-in is completed.
- Welcome at check-in:
Send a welcome message to guests immediately after their room is assigned. The message can have important information such as wifi password and breakfast times. Make guests feel that you are readily available by asking them to reply to this message if they need anything.
- Upsells and cross-sells:
Notify guests about any offers running at the hotel based on guest history, demographic, and traveler type. Messaging is a non-intrusive way of selling your amenities and ancillary services.
- Feedback collection:
Follow up with guests with a subtle feedback message at checkout and train staff to verbally ask guests to review the hotel once they receive a text with a feedback link.
Best Practices for Guest Text Messaging for Vacation Rentals:
- Choose a messaging platform that fully integrates with your PMS.
- Give guests an option to opt-out of messaging.
- Set up one dedicated phone number and assign a team to respond to guest replies.
- Reply to messages within 3 minutes.
- Keep your communication channels such as WhatsApp, SMS, and Facebook Messenger streamlined to be available on a single dashboard.
- Keep your content subtle and not too “salesy”. Guests should feel you are assisting them rather than annoying them with messages.
- Keep your message frequency to a maximum of 4-5 messages per guest.
The Unlimited Potential of Text Messaging
Text messaging can be a great way to engage with your guests at every stage of the guest life cycle in a very non-intrusive way. We have highlighted a few ways you can use text messaging in this article, but this highly effective and accessible tool can be used to achieve many more objectives throughout every single step of the guest journey and beyond.