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June 25, 2024

5 Powerful Ways to use Automated SMS

Let’s delve into why automated SMS is so impactful and explore five powerful ways to incorporate it into your guest communication strategy.

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Effective communication with guests is a cornerstone of exceptional hotel hospitality. For boutique hotels aiming to provide a personalized yet efficient guest experience, leveraging automated SMS can be a game-changer. Let’s delve into why SMS is so impactful and explore five powerful ways to incorporate it into your guest communication strategy.

The Power of SMS

Why is SMS so effective? It’s simple: SMS messages boast extraordinarily high open rates compared to other forms of digital communication. While email open rates hover around 20% for most businesses, SMS open rates soar to approximately 90%. This is largely because SMS messages are immediate and personal, landing directly in the same inbox as messages from friends and family. Think about it—how often do you check your texts? Given that people spend an average of three hours on their mobile devices daily, SMS is an invaluable tool for reaching guests promptly and effectively.

Get Personalized… But make it #Automated

A common misconception among accommodation operators is that automation precludes personalization. But that’s not the case at all! Modern property management systems (PMS) that offer SMS communication use ‘dynamic fields.’ These fields allow you to customize messages with specific guest information, such as their name or check-in date. For example:

  • Template SMS: “Hi [name], we’re looking forward to welcoming you to Lily Boutique Hotel on [check-in date].”
  • Pre-filled SMS: “Hi Joshua, we’re looking forward to welcoming you to Lily Boutique Hotel on 20th September 2024.”

With dynamic fields, a single template can deliver personalized messages to each guest, enhancing their experience without additional effort from your team.

5 Powerful Ways to Use SMS

Automated SMS can enhance guest communication throughout their journey, from pre-arrival to post-departure. Here are five ways hotels can implement SMS effectively:

 

1. Upgrade Promotions

Imagine this: two days before check-in, your guest receives an SMS offering an upgrade to a premium room or suite. If they reply ‘Yes,’ the PMS can automatically update the booking. This not only increases revenue but also frees up standard rooms for last-minute bookings. Here’s how it might work:

Automated SMS: “Hi [name], would you like to upgrade to an ocean view suite for an additional $30 per night? Reply YES to confirm.”

 

2. Check-In & Check-Out

Did you know that a significant number of guests prefer the convenience of mobile check-in and check-out? According to a Statista report, 62% of respondents expressed this preference. Why not automate an SMS on the day of arrival or departure, prompting guests to check in or out digitally?

Automatically send your guests an SMS on the day of their arrival or departure, prompting them to respond with your chosen keyword to check in or out digitally! #convenient

 

Automated SMS: “Welcome to Lily Boutique Hotel! Skip the queue by checking in online. Reply CHECKIN to get started.”

Automated SMS: “We hope you enjoyed your stay! Reply CHECKOUT to complete your check-out process.”

 

3. Real-Time Feedback Collection

We’ve all been there—leaving a business, such as a hotel or restaurant, with unresolved issues. In fact, it’s estimated only 1 out of 26 customers who have a negative experience will advise the business. What do all the other customers do? They never return, go online to leave negative reviews, and complain to their friends and family, without giving you a chance to fix the problem.

So, gathering feedback while guests are in-house allows you to stay in the know and rectify any problems before they end up as negative reviews posted online.

This survey should be triggered automatically via SMS, asking your guests to rate their experience from 1-10 (very poor – excellent). Say your guest rates their experience below an 8, your PMS should trigger a report for you to either contact or go visit a guest to address any issues and prevent those negative online reviews. 

 

Automated SMS: “Hi [name], how is your stay so far? Please rate us from 1-10.”

 

4. Late Check Out & Stay Extension

Many of your guests are checking out on the weekend. They’ve got to be out of the property by, say, 10am, and there’s no booking due to check in that day. This means you’re losing revenue opportunity by doing nothing about it.

Offer guests the chance to extend their stay or check out later via SMS prompts sent right to their devices. These automated nudges create a seamless and enticing pathway for guests to add an extra night or two, making their stay more memorable and boosting your revenue.

Your PMS should be able to look at your availability and automate an SMS to offer an additional night’s stay for a cheaper rate. If they respond ‘yes’, your system can update the booking automatically – no human intervention required. Another option is to offer a late check-out until 5pm for a small fee.

 

Automated SMS: “Extend your stay at Lily Boutique Hotel! Enjoy an extra night at a special rate. Reply YES to extend.”

Automated SMS: “Enjoy a late check-out until 5 PM for just $20. Reply YES to confirm.”

 

5. Post-Stay Follow Up

Your guest has checked out. So, how do we communicate with them once they have left? Did you know the cost to acquire a new customer is five times more expensive than keeping an existing one? It’s crucial to market to your guests and drive customer loyalty.

Garnering feedback is imperative to understand how you need to invest your time and money to enhance the guest experience. We certainly don’t want this to be the last time you see a guest, so encourage them to come back by offering a small discount code for re-booking directly through your website. Create FOMO and keep your guests coming back!

 

Automated SMS: “Thank you for staying with us! Here’s a 10% discount for your next visit. Use code WELCOME10 when you book directly on our website.”

Let’s recap. We’ve explored six powerful ways to enhance your guest communication through automated SMS. Did you notice that none of these methods required manual intervention from your team? That’s the beauty of modern property management systems—everything can be automated seamlessly. Simply contact your provider to help you get set up.

Ready to elevate your guest communication? Connect with Newbook today to discover how our automated SMS solutions can revolutionize your hotel’s operations and guest experience.

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Newbook is an award-winning Property Management System (PMS) and Booking Engine designed for hotels, motels, hostels, short-term rentals, and more. Intuitively designed to streamline your operations, boost revenue and increase your bookings, you can manage your entire business with confidence from the one central platform. Oversee your daily operations, manage your accounting, admin, housekeeping, maintenance, reporting and more with Newbook – it’s property management made simple. Founded in 2010, the company has scaled over the past 14 years into a global market leader with three international offices and over 50,000 users.

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