The front lobby phone rings and on the other line, you hear from a touring group representative that there will be a last minute cancellation for a dozen or so hotel rooms. How do you fill the empty rooms to generate more revenue at the last minute?
The answer is text marketing for hospitality businesses.
Bars, hotels, nightclubs, restaurants and more all benefit from using a texting platform to reach guests and customers. In fact, SMS marketing software is quickly becoming the digital communication tool of choice for hotel and restaurant general managers.
SMS Messaging Benefits for Hospitality Businesses
We already mentioned one important benefit of text message marketing for hospitality professionals: real time interaction with guests and customers. SMS messaging technology optimizes three tenants of hospitality life:
- Fast, friendly customer service
- Easy and convenient experiences
- Affordable prices
The last benefit deserves a little more attention. When you use SMS marketing technology, you piggy-back off devices like tablets and smartphones that you and your customers already have. Because you do not need to invest in new technology, you can pass on some of the cost savings to your guests or customers.
Here are some more benefits to adding a texting platform to your communication and marketing strategy:
- Increased foot traffic
- Enhanced brand awareness
- Easy event promotion
- Integrated marketing
Above all, SMS marketing for hospitality professionals will help cut costs and boost your annual revenue.
How to Get Started Building a Texting Platform
The most important decision you will make involves selecting the right SMS messaging provider that handles all your unique texting needs. Though many texting platforms are intuitive and easy to use, different companies offer different features and services. But whether you’re a local inn or an international hotel chain, you need reliable service and strong customer support. Choose the platform that best suits your needs, sign up for a short code, and keep reading to learn how to grow your subscriber list and optimize your campaigns.
Use Different Keywords for Different Events
Let’s say your hotel is running a New Year’s Eve special. To get your loyal customers excited about the special, you send out an SMS blast with a keyword that subscribers can respond with to receive more information. However, this keyword should reflect your marketing message and brand image. Is your hotel throwing an invite-only party? Discounting rooms and services through a certain date? Offering complimentary champagne or cake? Each of the keywords for these events would be different.
More generally, keywords should be unique and easy to remember. Because of this, shorter keywords tend to have higher user engagement. Keywords can be regular words, a combination of numbers and letters, or even emojis. It is often useful to have several keywords, ones that are more generic and can be reused and ones that are specific to events or your brand.
Create an Automatic First Reply
First impressions matter, both in the hospitality industry and for SMS marketing campaigns. This means that the first message you send after receiving a new subscriber confirmation should leave a long-lasting and positive impact on the user. Use an autoresponder to make sure the first message sent to subscribers includes a hearty welcome and the first of many incentives.
You can also link your autoresponder to other keywords. For example, texting the keyword HELP may trigger links to your help page or contact information. This way, users receive an immediate reply and your team is free to respond to other SMS requests.
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Increase the Number of Subscribers
"The more, the merrier" is an appropriate saying for text message marketing for hospitality professionals. Growing your subscriber list means growing your customer base and increasing potential profits. Expand your SMS subscriber list by trying some of the following tips:
- Include subscription incentives and SMS opt-in instructions in your emails and other customer communications
- Strategically place signs about your SMS service throughout your hospitality business, such as by Wi-Fi information and in communal spaces
- Supplement your social media by mentioning or posting about your SMS service
- Include verbal suggestions about or opt-in instructions for your SMS service during initial employee-customer interactions
- Add a widget on your business website or other business portal
Finally, always make sure your offers and incentives provide real value for your guests or customers.
Getting the Most Out of an SMS Marketing Campaign
SMS marketing operates on the "short and sweet" principle, which is why you only have 160 characters for each message. However, don’t let this stop you— instead, use this to your advantage. Embed links, use emojis, or use an MMS service to include media like pictures and videos. SMS marketing is the perfect texting platform for bars, hotels, nightclubs, and restaurants because you can run contests, offer discounts, encourage feedback and more.
The hospitality industry is all about promoting fun, and what’s more fun than engaging your guests or customers by running contents? Run a recipe contest at a restaurant or hold a virtual trivia contest at a bar. Local businesses can ask questions about the city’s landmarks or history, while nightclub patrons can submit selfies for themed parties. No matter how you engage your subscribers, make sure the prizes for the winner(s) is worth the effort they put in. Great prizes increase user engagement.
Promote Special Events
Let’s face it: your guests and customers live busy lives. A special event they signed up for weeks ago might have disappeared from memory. SMS messaging allows you to send reminders about upcoming special events, whether it is a live show at a nightclub or a pool tournament held at a bar.
You can also update your subscribers about changes in the itinerary of a special event. For example, if the menu changes for a restaurant’s five-course culinary adventures, the guests should be informed. This provides forewarning for users with food allergies, while others just appreciate being kept in the loop.
Customer feedback is a vital way for hospitality business managers to learn about operational strengths and weaknesses. You can prevent negative reviews by proactively asking for feedback from guests or customers via SMS. Not only will you receive feedback in real time, but the responses are confidential and will prevent any flaws from being publicized.
Feedback can consist of one direct question, a survey, or a simple star rating request. You can also customize your surveys and polls to specific groups of users, so that you can address a range of operational concerns.
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In the highly competitive hospitality industry, you need to take advantage of the most effective marketing strategies. Text marketing for hospitality businesses represents an affordable way for you to grow sales and increase razor thin profit margins. Running an SMS marketing program, with the help of an experienced and highly rated provider, can be the difference between your hospitality business leading the industry or simply sitting in the middle of the pack.
Dash Notify offers a range of customizable features, lightning-fast throughput, and coverage in over 200 countries around the world. And with 24/7 customer support, you can be sure that we’ll work as hard as you do. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you become a hospitality industry leader with Dash Notify.