Why Hotels Should be Turning to Pay-by-Text Solutions to Meet Guests High Expectations in 2019
2018 saw huge advancements in the hospitality industry in terms of technology. Apps replaced check-in desks, robots became the new room-service and hotels have been replenished with AI amenities. However, while many modern hospitality services are pushing efforts into elevating intelligent hotels, this strategy does not always meet customer expectations.
In 2019, guests will require a streamlined service, but one that still delivers a human-experience. Technology, after all, is often no match for the warmth and personal touch of a hotel concierge. Hotels and resorts that manage to find this balance between high-level tech and maintaining a human connection with their guests will be well positioned to stride head first into the New Year.
One easy route into providing this personalized customer service is by redefining payment processing and guest engagement via two-way text communication. A solution such as pay-by-text makes purchases and collecting payments faster and easier than ever by sending an immediate text message with a secure click to purchase link. This opens up two-way communication with guests and allows them to text back questions or concerns. Here’s how it could benefit your hotel this year:
Customer service will soar
Pay-by-text solutions serve as a gateway to a conversational platform that guests can use before, during and after their stay. Once customers have paid, hotels can start texting them immediately, offering a high-level of customer service and positioning themselves nicely to address any queries before their stay.
Two-way texting can deter guests from leaving a bad review online by sending a survey link at the end of their stay. When sent as an easy ‘one-click away’ text, the customer has more incentive to do it, compared to an email that they may never open. Also, any issues during their stay can be resolved quickly if there is open text communication.
A history of text messages from previous communication with a customer is visibly available to any agent. In other words, a hotel can easily scroll up through past conversations with a customer, keeping everyone in the loop and updated. This significantly improves the customer's overall journey so they do not have to continually repeat themselves. This back and forth communication creates a personal relationship between customers and hotels, boosting client retention.
Upsells will be easier and drive higher revenue
Payment-integrated text communication is an easy way to boost revenue. It guarantees a constant flow of communication with a future guest during the payment process to help close the sale, and opens up opportunities for upselling or cross-selling post-sale.
Hotels, for example, can use pay-by-text to upsell restaurant deals, events, spa or day trips offered within the resort. The usual emails sent after payment for a hotel reservation serve as little more than a receipt of purchase. However, a text can give customers the incentive to buy more within the hotel by immediately texting them offers on activities and packages. For example, a text could be sent to a customer who has just paid for two nights in a standard room, that offers a one-off deal on a more expensive suite room prior to arrival. All the customer has to do is click the link in the text to pay and that suite is theirs.
Having this dedicated messaging number to text is also beneficial for hotels after a guest’s stay. Campaigns such as ‘rate us’ surveys, refer a friend, half price future stays, and more promotions can be texted out since you have communicated prior with a purchase confirmation.
Mitigates chargeback risk
Chargebacks and refunds are a nightmare for hotels. Not only do they get hit by costly fees, but if they are unable to fill the room in time they lose out in revenue, significantly affecting their bottom line.
Pay-By-Text solutions, however, mitigate this chargeback risk in a number of ways. First, it protects the hotel business assets and secures payments by enabling text-payment validation of credit cards or phone numbers. What’s more, it deters guests from cancelling their purchase by fostering communication between hotel and customer.
Often before booking a hotel stay, customers need time to talk it over and check dates with their families, friends or spouses before putting down payment. Unlike a call, pay-by-text links are usually valid for 24 hours, giving customers this necessary time. For hotels, this results in more closed deals, and therefore an increase in sales.
Improves overall guest experience
With two-way texting, internal communications within a hotel can be simplified, prompting an enhanced overall guest experience. For example, a simple text message can be sent up to housekeeping to ensure towels are replaced, or that the valet can bring the car around. It also means hotel employees are not left waiting on hold for minutes to pass on these important messages. It also frees up reception to take care of guests.
Overall, the advantages of pay-by-text and two-way texting solutions for hotels are endless. It improves efficiencies in almost all operations within the hospitality industry, from closing a deal, to ensuring guests had the most top quality stay possible. Texting is rapidly becoming customers preferred method of communication with businesses. Therefore, 2019 will see these texting solutions soar into mainstream within the hospitality industry.
Karen Voci is Vice President of Product Marketing at Everyware Inc, a technology company providing a powerful conversational payment gateway that utilizes two-way text messaging to enhance customer service and streamline payment processing.