The Right Way to Mobile Message Your Guests
When it comes to communicating with your guests, there’s one strategy that is hands-down the most effective — mobile (SMS) messaging. The reason why is simple. People are more connected to their devices than ever before, and when a text message is sent — ding! —they’re going to see it. And moreover, they’ll likely even read it. But here’s the thing. There’s a fine line between making the most of this tool and making it a nuisance. Obviously, you’re going for the former. How can you be sure you’re doing it right? We can help! Take a look at six best practice tips that will keep you on the welcomed side of your guests.
1. Only Send to Subscribers
When guests book reservations or check-in, give them a reason to opt-in to SMS-messages. Providing exclusive deals through text marketing is always a great incentive, and it builds a solid base for targeted messages. On the same note, if someone does not opt-in, honor that decision. Sending unwanted texts can feel like a flimflam to guests, and that’s not the impression you want to leave.
2. Allow Guests to Choose Text Preferences
When opting-in to SMS texts, let guests choose what sort of information they’d like to receive. And make sure to stick to their preferences. Provide options, such as:
- Exclusive VIP Offers
- Birthday Specials
- Check-in status
- Billing Details
- All of the Above
3. Include These Three Necessities
As we mentioned earlier, providing exclusive offers through texting is an excellent way to make opting-in worth their while. Do it with smarts, though! The three must-have elements are a call-to-action, a keyword and a short code (typically a five-digit number). An example of an offer might be: “Ben, summer vacation is calling at the Bay Inn! Enjoy 10% off your room rate in August by texting SUMMER to 1-2-3-4-5.” Also, make sure to have an expiration date to add a sense of urgency.
4. Personalize Texts
Avoid generic or spam-style communications by personalizing SMS texts whenever possible. Make every effort to include guests’ names and any other information that may be relevant to the offer or message. For example: Highlight a former guest’s birthday with a special offer — “Happy Birthday, Jen! Enjoy a $30 savings when you book a 90-minute massage at Forum Spa by August 30, 2017. Text BIRTHDAY to 1-4-7-6-9 to take advantage.”
5. Keep Messages Succinct
Phones may be fancier and screens may be bigger, but guests’ attention spans are still on the short side (at least when it comes to texts). That’s why it’s important to keep your messages to 160 characters or under. Yes, if the text is longer, it will still go through — but your system will send it in several segments. And let’s face it — no one wants to read a text message in chapters. Stick to short and sweet and you’ll make the best impact.
6. Time Your Texts Smartly
Timing is everything… especially when it comes to texting. The smartest hours to hit that send button are when guests will be less busy and less likely to be distracted or annoyed. Think about before or after work (although not earlier than 9 am or later than 9 pm) or lunch hours. In other words, down-time is key.
How do you incorporate texting into your marketing plan? Is your current method paying off or do you need to change your strategy? Let us know!