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5 Ways Texting And Digital Messaging Drives Hotel Efficiency

Jul 20, 2021

By Tom McGurran , Senior Vice President and General Manager share this article With all of the technology changes that have come over the past year, guests are not only expecting, but demanding digital ways to communicate with hotel teams. They want to be able to ask questions and get answers from anywhere on- or off-property. However, teams around the globe are still short-staffed. How is a lean team supposed to add another channel of communication when phones are already ringing off the hook? Although it might seem counterintuitive at first, offering guests the ability to connect through texting and digital messaging can actual ly reduce front desk chaos and streamline operations. Here’s how: Un-Awkward Silence “Answer in less than 3 rings.” Sound familiar? Maybe your hotel’s rule varies a little, but most front desks have a tight window between when a guest calls in and when they are expected to respond (same goes for a walk-up). Calls and walk-ups demand immediate attention and can often pile on top of each other. Now imagine you could wait 5-7 minutes to answer a call or greet a guest before they start to get antsy; the phone could ring 100 times in a row without any guest frustration or a guest standing in line could drink a whole tall iced mocha frappuccino before they would look to you for an answer. Welcome to the world of messaging! When a guest messages in through text or other digital channels you have nearly 10 minutes to reply before the conversation starts to feel like it’s lagging. This buys you and your team time to triage requests, confirm correct answers, and comp ose a thoughtful response. We Know What you Did Last Summer (or at least your last stay with us) Take a look at a text conversation with one of your best friends- you can look back to your favorite trip last summer and pull up the photos you sent each other, the exchanges you made and remember where you were, what you liked, and how things were going. Same goes for you and your guests when you have a message conversation. Anytime a guest returns to your property, a successful messaging platform not only recognizes that it is a returning guest, but also offers all the benefits of having that guest’s history. You can look back on any concerns or requests the guest had and get ahead of those situations and proactively make sure a guest has everything they need. Maybe not Quite a Fire Alarm, but Same Idea As much as we may not want to think about it, there are times when things just don’t go as planned- the hot water goes out or a storm causes a power ou tage. Traditionally, you’d have to either call every room in the hotel to let them know of the update or answer 5 thousand variations of “is the power out?” while standing in the dark at the front desk. With messaging, you can send a message to all guests staying in-house at once to their mobile phones to let them know of service interruptions. And all of the top messaging platforms can be accessed from any web browser or through the mobile app, meaning you are not reliant on guests marching up to the front desk to be able to communicate. LMSTTY! There is a great website out there called “LMGTFY” which stands for “let me google that for you”, which lets you send a video of you googling whatever it is your friend just asked you and the results that pop up. Admittedly, that might be a little snarky to send a guest, but there are definitely times that guests just need your help looking things up- directions to a nearby attraction or possible dinner spots. Luckily, a good messaging platform gives you a better alternative to LMGTFY and allows you to say “Let me send that to you!” instead by allowing you to upload documents and links to share with a guest to some of these requests. You can share menus or other pdfs, Google or Apple Maps links, or pretty much any other document or website that is useful to your guests. What Time Does the Pool Close? Sorry, that might be a bit triggering for anyone who works at a hotel front desk. This, like many guest questions, may be one that you get 100 times a day and find yourself answering in your sleep. The good news is most top messaging software options offer you and your team the chance to store pre-written answers to questions like this to quickly, easily, and accurately respond to those repeat questions with just a few clicks of a mouse! With occupancy climbing and hiring still going slow, now is the time to think about bringing guest engagement into the 21 st century. Not only does digital messaging offer your guests their preferred channel of communication (does anyone like calling anymore?) but also ensures your team is operating at peak efficiency to continue serving guests to the best of their ability. Tom McGurran Tom McGurran has over 30 years experience in growth-stage companies on both the sales and operations side in a variety of industries including SaaS, healthcare, and hospitality. As the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Hospitality at Kipsu, Tom leads all efforts in Kipsu’s largest vertical, driving the company’s success as hospitality’s leading provider of messaging and digital guest engagement.

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