Hotels use messaging to chat with guests

For many, messaging is becoming the new social media
Hotels are finally getting to grips with messaging to build loyalty, boost guest engagement, enhance the overall guest experience – and even get more guests to book direct.
Messaging strategies make it easier for guests to get in touch with hotels via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, SMS and more. A total of 3.6 billion people are expected to be using messaging by the end of 2018. For many, messaging is the new social media.
Some chains, especially larger ones, are housing guest messaging within their own apps, giving their apps another layer of functionality. This makes it easier to build a customer’s profile.
Despite the constant risk of app fatigue, companies like Hilton and Marriott insist that more guests are using them during their stay, helping the chains to deliver a more holistic experience. And there’s another reason for the apps’ importance.
Marriott booked $1 billion in revenues via its app in 2015. This year it surpassed $1 billion in August. The app is downloaded 8,000 times a day. Hilton says its app is downloaded more than 10,000 times a day.
But other companies are looking to well-known messaging. Starwood uses WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger for frequent guests to message the hotel. It aims to have around 100,000 guests using its Let’s Chat feature by the end of 2016. Sending a message typically gets a response within seconds, 24/7.
“We quickly found that guests naturally wanted to communicate with us the same way they did with everyone else,” says Starwood’s Daniel Kerzner. Since launching the service, he adds, “participating hotels are seeing uplifts in revenue.”