With countless messaging apps debuting every day, each having its own fancy features, you’d think that good old-fashion SMS would become obsolete.
But here we are in 2023 and SMS is still going strong. SMS messaging has an open rate of 98% within the hospitality industry. 95% of these messages are read within 5 minutes after being delivered. Compared to e-mail’s 20% open rate, 98% is a very high number.
This tells us a lot about the relevance of SMS guest communication in the hospitality sector where interaction means everything.
Streamlined interactions between customers and restaurants
When it comes to food and dining experiences, SMS messaging could allow diners to select from the menu ahead of time, provide directions, and reserve tables. Coupled with Rich Communication Service (RCS), instant messaging can send crucial content such as videos, images, and even maps to a customer’s smartphone.
Additionally, the simplicity of SMS has the potential to streamline interactions between customers and restaurants, as well as make it more direct and efficient.
SMS can also be applied in food and beverage deliveries where time and communication are crucial in maintaining quality standards.
Instant messaging is now being integrated across the supply chain, connecting the source, the company, the delivery vehicle, and all the way to the customer. When a customer requests a delivery, communication between all the moving parts can be executed in an instant.
When it comes to delivery confirmation, Verizon Connect explains that notices can be forwarded to customers in real-time. This allows the company and the customers to ensure that every detail is correct and service is prompt.
The online food delivery sector in Estonia, which Statista reveals is showing an annual growth rate of 13.6%, is also booming due to recent improvements in messaging technologies.
Companies such as Wolt and Mychef also rely on instant messaging for customer communication and feedback. Compact, efficient, and easy to use, instant messaging will remain a useful option for these processes even as the industry acquires new technologies and cutting-edge practices.
Improved customer service for hotels
Hotels will also benefit greatly from an integrated SMS service. Hotels usually ask guests to provide their phone numbers when they book a room. This is an opportunity to gain permission to use SMS as a concierge service.
SMS can bring a lot of value to a hotel, including notifying room service, sending emergency messages, reminding guests about check-out times, suggesting things to do near the hotel, and even offering in-house services and promos.
eMarketer reveals that offers sent on mobile are much more successful than promos sent via printed copies, so if you want your guests to see your message, send it via SMS. Addressing guest’s concerns is also easier and faster with a two-way SMS system compared to using the traditional method of calling reception or arranging to talk with the hotel management face to face.
The hotel management team can decide the best approach to use SMS to contact the customer for feedback after they visit. Not only is this a great way to catch up with guests and receive reviews, but also a great opportunity to offer a deal to encourage them to stay with the hotel again.
Of course, there are some dos and don’ts in using SMS. The first rule, of course, is to give guests the option to opt out.
An example is: A hotel wants to send a customer that recently stayed with them a promotional SMS reading "Thanks for staying with us, book here to stay next year!". Instead of bombarding the customer with requests, an opt-out option would look like this: "Thanks for staying with us! Reply No if you don't want to hear back from us". This will prevent customers from feeling overwhelmed.
SMS messages, as the name implies, are also supposed to be short and direct to the point. SMS in the hospitality sector should be, above all, a way to improve service and not just revenue.
As the number of mobile users in the world grows, and as more opt to receive text messages from brands and businesses, SMS will have a bigger role in the hospitality industry in the near future.
With integrated APIs such as Messente's providing dedicated SMS services, the hospitality industry will benefit from simpler, faster, and better guest communication channels that will trump even the fanciest messaging apps on the market.