SMS messaging, something not very much popular among businesses especially in the hotels & the hospitality sector has become one of the new tools of marketing. This platform has given us enough potential to attract millennial travelers and measures to keep up with them. When other businesses ponder over multi-channel marketing strategies, SMS forms an important part of it and the other one is definitely emails.
One of the reasons why more and more people are not using SMS to their advantage is the misconception that it involves a lot of cost. On the contrary, the things are other way around! If we undertake the real picture scenario, SMS marketing is a lot easier and offers greater brand reach to the end customers. If the hotel managers thinks it this way, having an SMS strategy is probably the only and best way to reach both smartphone and non-smartphone users on the same time.
We know about SMS that it provides your hotel brand with a new way of engaging customers by reaching out to them in a direct manner. However, a research from Gartner shows that the usual mistake made by businesses is to send the same message over and over again. A SMS conveys the message without and delay or hassle and almost 92% of the SMS are read by the user instantly. This is something that creates a lot of frustrating among customers and does not add any value to their lives. Customers highly value updates, news, and promotions that offer something of value that they can relate to. Make sure that you differentiate between SMS and Email Marketing Services. SMS provides small space for sending messages. Therefore, it is always recommended not to send lengthy SMS messages to customers
Now, let’s talk about emails! For all hotels, having an email marketing has become more important than ever. The cost of click- and impression-based marketing on search engines and social networks continues to rise, not just for generic terms, but also for the historically cheaper brand name terms. We all know that still email marketing remains extremely relevant and cost-effective. It has become the best permission-based outbound tool in your marketing kit, hands down. However, as with every great tool, the responsibility to use it well lies with the user.
Now, let us see some interesting facts about emails and how it has affected numerous industries in the past 7-10 years! “More than 34% of the people worldwide use email. That’s about 2.5 billion people. It’s predicted to increase to 2.8 billion email users in the next 2 years. Yup, email’s popular. The Radicati Group, who came up with that info, also reckon that the world sends about 196 billion emails daily. Out of this 196 billion emails the majority, 109 billion, is business email. Email marketing is also a very personal way of reaching your target customers. We already know that messages from your friends and family are sitting next to email updates from your company. That’s why email marketing works at it’s best when it is personalised.
Email can be tailored to customer actions so that every communication is relevant to their interest. You can cover topics like changes in your hotels, victories, request feedback to your guest– this list is virtually endless! With 2.5 billion users, email isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes, having a working email marketing strategy also rolls over social media and assists you to attain better leads and prospects.
Don’t get us wrong, social media is an extremely important component in any business’ marketing strategy. Social Media is a great channel for interacting with your audience and strengthening your personal relationships with them. And because of that, it is an important first step towards reaching your ultimate goal – the conversion. But when it comes to converting people into members, customers or supporters, email marketing is the way to go. A study by Custora from 2017 found that customer acquisition via email marketing has quadrupled in the four years preceding 2015-16. Email marketing already accounted for nearly 7% of all customer acquisitions that occurred online.
Advantages of incorporating an effective SMS and email marketing strategy in hotels:
1. Best platform for advertising (worldwide accepted): SMS is the best platform for advertising your services and products. Tell your prospects and customers what amenities you have to offer them inside a hotel. Hotel guests are increasingly proving to be the willing subscribers to opt-in services -- as long as the message is relevant and some sort of value/incentive is provided. In fact, a report by MobiForge states that various notifications like bank alerts, eCommerce, and offers from retailers is expected to overcome person-to-person SMS by 2018.
For example, YouGov recently conducted a study that revealed that 65% of people actually like offers on their mobile phones, and that the most effective mobile marketing medium for eliciting response is SMS: And Promotional Codes compiled data to show the growth of the mobile advertising market, which is expected to reach $6.2 billion by 2018. Mobile coupon redemptions alone are expected to bring in $9 million in 2018-19. Have your customers make the first move by adding a shortcode or keyword to print collateral, advertisements and advertising boards as well as social media. This strategy means that customers soon become familiar with a brand’s code and keyword and are therefore more likely to interact and respond.
2. Acquire important customer insights: One of the things that hoteliers are doing nowadays is using SMS for getting customer feedback. What you can do is run polls or surveys to get the opinion of the customers about your hotel or any related amenities that you render to the guests. Different researches done on the level of response received back from customers is about 1/3 of the total audience (which is great if you ask!). And most of these responding users usually get back within five minutes of receiving the SMS. This means that you can get instant marketing research results using SMS.
Apart from that we all know it is important that all channels must be optimized, synchronized, and work well together within the marketing mix and SMS is no exception. SMS is a great standalone channel, however it also has the ability to enhance and support other marketing mediums, such as social media and email. As well as being great on its own, SMS can also perform well to skyrocket and support other popular digital media platforms among consumers. For example an SMS can serve to remind customers to read an email sent by a brand hours or even days before. A simple follow up SMS asking “have you read our email?” can help increase email open rates by 20%–30%.
3. Boost guest engagement by 70%: Think of SMS as a way to enhance how your brand engages with your customers across the entire customer lifecycle. Businesses should remember to vary the type of content they send out - while customers may value updates and news on forthcoming developments within the brand, this information is best delivered via email where longer, more creative messaging is more appropriate. Although marketers may feel that texting is invasive, many consumers are now familiar with text from when using local services like dentists, garages or hairdressers or public services like the NHS. This is a great example of how the NHS is engaging its audience in an admittedly high-engagement occasion!
Without a single sense of doubt, SMS is one of the most-effective cross-channel touchpoints for the hospitality industry. You can easily enhance and uplift the preset standards of customer experience in hospitality industry by sending relevant SMS to the guests (offers, booking discounts, price drop-offs, and more). With the power of SMS, you can send lots of useful information to the customers without the prerequisite of an internet connection. Also, reaching out to your guests with SMS is clutter-free and people answer texts far more than phone calls or emails.
4. Emails for real-time connection: “If you’re running a real business, email is still the most effective way to universally reach people who have expressed interest in your product or site. For that, it really can’t be beaten.” – Colin Nederkoorn. For the hospitality industry, the good ol’ emails always work impeccably. According to a report by RadiCati, 269 billion emails are sent on a daily basis and there are 3.7 billion email users worldwide, so emails are one of the best available cross-channel communication platform in the world. For the hospitality industry, emails are also a cost-effective and an easy mode of communication and the most conspicuous advantage of employing emails in your business is that - you can do a lot of personalization for redefining your guest experience and also, you can make the guests perform some action by employing a creative CTA button.
In email marketing, what you’re really doing is segmenting your audience into lists, and sending each list a tailored email message that resonates with your reader and can provide them with y. something of value. Let’s say, when you write a post for one of your social media channels, you address your audience as a whole. But when you utilize your email marketing software in a savvy manner, it allows you to address people individually by name, split certain topics only for certain members of your list and eventually arrive privately in their personal inbox. According to research from Adestra in 2017, emails with subject lines that include the recipient’s name are 22.2% more likely to be opened (isn’t that great!).
5. SMS is trackable and generate leads: It’s not a new thing that most service providers will offer simple delivery reporting to check your messages have successfully been sent. If you’re looking for more intelligent tracking, the top players in SMS marketing will not only tell you when your messages have been sent successfully, but will also provide you with details on who, what and when links have been clicked ensuring you get the most from your campaigns. You can utilize these insights for better retargeting of your services at all times in the hotel industry.
Let’s unveil a short secret here: In SMS marketing strategy, the hoteliers can put the keywords easily and set it up on an SMS shortcode that can include your brand name and change it to a memorable word. Also, advertise your keyword on your website, printed media or in your store, allowing customers to opt-in to your mailing list. E.g. Text SMS to 82228 for exciting news and special offers! Not only does this provide you with lots of new contacts to communicate with but it also generates an instant lead with little effort required from you or your customer.
6. Cost-effective automation of SMS and emails: For all hoteliers, hotel managers and the entire hospitality industry, email automation will continue to be a major topic in the discussion of the importance of email marketing. We all know that there are myriads of digital marketing processes that just can’t be automated (at least, not successfully!) However, email marketing is not like that and it ends well with automation! In fact, automating your emails and maintaining a separate list helps you to improve the relevancy of your brand and steady timeliness of your campaigns. You can use triggers and automated workflows to send messages to consumers after they take a specific action.
So, let’s understand it better with an example. Let’s say that a guest visits your hotel website and spends quite a bit of time looking at different services and pondering over whether to stay in your hotel or not. Then, for some reason unknown to you, they leave without making a decision. With email automation, you can make sure that this user receives an email shortly after they abandoned their cart (in this case, without booking a room!), reminding them of what they left behind and asking if they need help completing their booking. In this case, email marketing automation turns a missed opportunity into an opportunity to build a stronger relationship and make a sale! In addition to uplift the relevancy of your brand and timeliness of your campaigns, marketing automation can also assist you save money and time in the process.
With automation, you don’t have to worry about waiting around for the perfect moment to send a message, your automation system takes care of that for you. This allows you to focus on your core business (like maintaining staff), while leaving the rest of your team free to take on other important tasks.
Now, you know why it is pivotal for hotels to have an effective email and SMS strategy. Make a note and start implementing these on your business and see it grow in an unprecedented manner. Schedule a demo with us to learn more on this topic. We will give you a thorough demonstration on how our chatbot is also able to perform such tasks with more functionalities such as remarketing on various social media platforms and on all digital touchpoints where the customers are already present.