By Raj Singh, CEO Go Moment
This time of year is always busy. It is the final quarter of the year, hotels are pushing to meet their goals, and it is mid-month already. This is the perfect opportunity to take a quick look at where you stand on those goals, whether it’s purely revenue-oriented, or perhaps it’s guest satisfaction. Time to assess and course correct, if needed, to end the month stronger.
Let’s focus on revenue and specifically, some underutilized ways to drive incremental revenue to your hotel. First, make sure your property is communicating with your guests. This could be through an email welcome prior to arrival or via a text messaging service. This opens the dialogue for revenue generators in a natural, unintrusive way that guests are accustomed to. Take this to the next level by implementing a text messaging service that is AI-enabled, such as Go Moment’s smartconcierge Ivy, that can proactively engage with guests and automate responses to many of their questions and requests. This allows your staff to focus their efforts on guest interactions and satisfaction on property.
A recent study shows 9 out of 10 travelers prefer to communicate with their hotel via text, and text messages have an impressively high open rate: 98 percent, compared to just a 22 percent open rate for email. The communication you send to guests is only beneficial if they are actually reading it, so contacting them via their desired channel is key.
As reported in Skift, using a texting service can significantly raise guest satisfaction scores as well. The article stated, “Caesars compared responses from guests who had used the chatbot to those who hadn’t. Ivy users gave the properties approximately 10 points higher satisfaction scores.” If guest satisfaction is your goal, this is an incredible added bonus to implementing a texting platform.
1) Pre-arrival Messaging
As alluded to above, start the guest experience on the right path. Reaching out to guests, letting them know you’re looking forward to their arrival sets the tone for their stay before it even begins. This signals that you are prepared, excited to welcome them, and confirms their reservation. In this same communication, inform guests of available room upgrades, early check-in opportunities, or special packages that may have come about since booking their reservation. Seasoned business travelers know to check for room upgrades, but did you know that a large portion of non-business travelers don’t know they can upgrade to a better room or check-in earlier for a small fee?
2) Inform Guests About the Property’s Amenities
If your property has a resort fee (hot topic as of late), be sure to communicate what’s covered in that fee. Often guests do not know and, as such, may not take advantage of those amenities. Not only does this open the door for a frustrated guest experience when they find out the resort fee covered the use of daily spa services, but it is also a missed opportunity to upsell related services. If your property has an exclusive dining offering, maybe a mimosa brunch, share the details with your guests so that they may enjoy it and write about it in glowing reviews. More guest usage of resort services also usually decreases billing issues around the resort fee.
Additionally, texting with guests allows your property to push out specials in real-time to guests who have opted into offers. Maybe happy hour traffic is slow. An instant invitation for guests to sample a house cocktail that evening can increase traffic and in turn, increase revenue!
3) Provide Mobile In-room Dining Info
Tell your guests what’s available to them as far as in-room dining goes. Don’t rely on the guest to open the physical in-room menu to decide if they really want to order room service. Visuals go a long way as evidenced by the saying, “we eat first with our eyes.” If your hotel has a seasonal menu or a special offering, have enticing in-room collateral that will make your guests want to take part. With a service like Ivy, hotels can alert guests via text about a seasonal special and even send PDF menu links directly to the guest’s mobile phone. For example, “Try our limited harvest breakfast from local farms featuring Belgian pumpkin waffles.” Ivy is able to expedite room service requests and help increase the value of the order. When guests text Ivy with a coffee order, she replies instantly and asks whether a scone or a muffin would be good to add to the order. The order is quickly routed to the café, without the guest having to leave their room or be on hold for in-room dining. The success of using a texting platform is clear according to Skift who reported The Cosmopolitan found that hotel guests who text its chatbot spend as much as 30 percent more than those who do not.
4) Drive Late Check-Out and Extended Stays
Many guests do not realize that late check-out or extended stay is possible. By communicating with guests both at check-in and consistently during their stay, there is an opportunity to keep them on property longer, even add an additional night if you have the availability. Guests who depart later than the traditional 11am check out time will spend more money in the form of an additional meal or take advantage of hotel services, like the pool or spa. Using a messaging service allows you the flexibility to communicate with guests as availability changes. Perhaps a late-check out was not available upon arrival and has now opened up. This allows you to meet a guest request and keep them on property longer as a satisfied guest.
5) Help Guests Book Their Next Stay
Providing your guest with an incentive, whether that’s a discount or special amenity package to book a return visit before they depart is always a great way to generate revenue. If you utilize a smartconcierge, like Ivy, you can check in with your guests mid-stay to see how their stay is going and even ask them to rate their experience. This real-time insight is invaluable in today’s hospitality environment. When guest feedback is positive, Ivy can present guests with the opportunity to leave an online review right there. In case guest sentiment is anything less than stellar, Ivy provides guest services agents the chance to contact the guest for more detail and correct the situation well before the guest checks out. Either way, give guests a reason to book a return stay with your hotel when you know they’re enjoying their current one.
These are just a few ways you can capitalize on additional incremental revenue with existing guests. The best part is that most of these tips can also increase guest satisfaction, and in turn, can help boost your property’s online reputation. Since we all know positive ratings influence booking decisions, this is just one more added benefit to serving guests in real-time and on the mobile channel they prefer.
Product design expert Raj Singh is CEO at Go Moment®, a Google-backed company dedicated to making customer service instant. Go Moment’s award-winning smartconcierge Ivy®, as seen on NBC, is the world’s largest guest engagement automation platform for hotels.
Singh brings cross-discipline design, technology, and marketing experience from hundreds of large-scale technology projects for leading brands like Virgin, Lady Gaga, and HEB Grocery Company. Blending his deep expertise in UX and market research, Singh works alongside leaders in hospitality to address the industry’s needs in using next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and labor automation. In partnership with IBM Watson, Go Moment’s Ivy platform, which utilizes text or voice messaging and leverages human expertise and automation to resolve requests instantly, is currently available to millions of hotel guests. Singh’s select speaking engagements and panels include:
- HITEC 2019 Tech Talk
- CHTA Future Travelers
- HEDNA Innov8
- Oi Summit
- BLLA Stay Boutique Live
- Phocuswright Conference
- CWT VIP Summit
- Plug and Play Ventures