SMS Marketing for Hotels: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

April 19, 2024
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SMS marketing can be a highly effective tool for hotels looking to enhance guest experiences, increase bookings, and improve customer service. Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing a successful SMS marketing campaign for your hotel.

SMS marketing in the hospitality context, particularly for a hotel, involves using text messages as a communication tool to enhance guest experiences, promote services, and drive bookings. Here's how you might explain SMS marketing to a hotel general manager:

Overview of SMS Marketing in the Hospitality Industry

SMS marketing is a strategic approach that uses short message service (SMS) technology to send promotional or informational messages directly to the mobile phones of past, current, and prospective guests. This form of marketing is highly effective due to its direct and personal nature, boasting high open rates compared to emails. As long as you have the phone number of your guests, you can use SMS marketing to reach them via their mobile devices.

The Potential ROI of Hotel SMS Marketing

The Return on Investment (ROI) from SMS marketing in the hotel industry can be substantial due to its high open rates, personalization capabilities, and direct engagement with guests. Here's an overview of potential ROI and some example statistics to illustrate the effectiveness of SMS marketing in the hospitality sector:

Increased Direct Bookings: SMS campaigns can drive direct bookings by offering special deals and reminders, bypassing third-party booking fees and increasing revenue directly through the hotel’s own channels.

Enhanced Guest Experience: Personalized messages can enhance the guest experience, leading to higher guest satisfaction and increased likelihood of repeat bookings.

Cost Efficiency: SMS marketing is relatively inexpensive compared to other digital marketing strategies like pay-per-click advertising or email marketing campaigns, leading to a higher ROI due to lower upfront costs. The cost per SMS message can be as low as a few cents, depending on the volume purchased and the provider. This low cost per message coupled with high response rates can result in an ROI of several times the initial investment.

Improved Operational Efficiency: Automated SMS for confirmations, reminders, and alerts can reduce the workload on staff, allowing them to focus on improving service in other areas.

High Engagement Rates: SMS messages have an open rate of approximately 98%, with most messages being read within just a few minutes of receipt. In contrast, email marketing campaigns typically have an open rate of around 20-30%.

Conversion Rates: Conversion rates for SMS marketing can be significantly higher than other channels. For example, a hotel might experience a conversion rate of 10-20% for a targeted SMS promotion, compared to 2-3% for similar email campaigns.

Direct Impact on Bookings: Hotels that use SMS for last-minute deals or during peak travel times often see immediate increases in bookings. For instance, a hotel could send out a flash sale via SMS that results in a 25% uptake in bookings for a given weekend.

Versatility: Whether it's a booking confirmation, a special offer, or an operational update (like check-in instructions or emergency alerts), SMS can handle a variety of hospitality business communication needs efficiently.

Calculating the ROI of Hotel Text Messaging

Suppose a hotel spends $1,000 on an SMS campaign, sending messages to 10,000 recipients.

If the hotel's average room rate is $150 and the campaign generates a 1% conversion rate (100 bookings), the total revenue generated would be $15,000.

1. Calculate the Financial Return

For a text marketing campaign, the financial return is often measured by the revenue generated directly from the campaign. This can include:

Sales: Revenue generated from offers or promotions sent via text messages.

Lead Conversion: If texts are part of a larger sales funnel, calculate the value of leads converted through these efforts.

2. Determine the Cost of the Campaign

This includes all expenses directly related to the campaign, such as:

Text Messaging Services: Costs paid to SMS service providers for sending out messages.

Content Creation: Costs of writing and designing the text messages.

Labor: Costs of staff time spent managing the campaign.

Technology and Tools: Any software or analytics services used specifically for the campaign.

3. Use the ROI Formula

Plug your figures into the ROI formula to see the effectiveness of your text marketing campaign:

Let's say your text marketing campaign generated $5,000 in sales and the total cost of the campaign was $1,000. The ROI would be calculated as 400%.

This example demonstrates a significant return, highlighting how effective SMS marketing can be for boosting hotel bookings and overall revenue.

The actual ROI will vary based on factors such as the quality of the guest database, the relevance of the messages, and the timing of the campaign.

SMS Marketing Implementation Strategies for Hotels

Launching SMS marketing for your hotel brand means following these basic implementation strategies. See below for a short list of ways that you can quick launch text message marketing for your hotel brand.

  1. Compliance and Opt-In: Always ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR or TCPA by obtaining explicit consent from guests before sending marketing messages. This not only complies with legal standards but also builds trust with guests.
  2. Segmentation: Use guest data to segment your audience for targeted marketing. Messages can be customized based on factors like booking history, guest preferences, or demographic details to increase relevance and effectiveness.
  3. Integration with Other Services: Integrate SMS with your property management system (PMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. This enables automated messages based on guest behavior and preferences, such as welcome messages upon check-in or satisfaction surveys upon check-out.
  4. Promotions and Updates: Utilize SMS to inform guests about exclusive offers, last-minute deals, hotel events, or amenities updates. This can increase revenue and improve the overall guest experience.
  5. Feedback Collection: Send post-stay surveys via SMS to gather feedback. This provides valuable insights into guest satisfaction and areas for improvement.

Best Practices for Hotel Text Messaging

Hotels looking to use SMS marketing should follow some basic protocols to ensure that they reap the benefits of text message marketing for their business.

Below is a short list of basic best practices that they should follow when launching SMS campaigns for their hotel.

1. Understand Compliance and Permissions

Compliance: Familiarize yourself with legal requirements such as GDPR in Europe or TCPA in the USA, which regulate how businesses can collect and use personal information.

Permissions: Only send messages to guests who have opted in. Make the sign-up process easy and transparent, explaining what types of messages they will receive.

2. Build a Quality Contact List

Opt-In Opportunities: Offer multiple opportunities for guests to opt-in, such as during the booking process, check-in, or through your hotel’s website.

Segmentation: Organize your contact list based on guest preferences, previous stays, or demographic information to tailor your messages effectively.

3. Craft Engaging Content

Personalization: Use the guest's name and customize messages based on their preferences or past interactions with your hotel.

Clarity and Conciseness: Keep messages short and to the point. Ensure they offer clear value, such as exclusive deals, important information about their stay, or updates on hotel amenities.

Timing: Time your messages strategically. For instance, send new customers booking reminders a week before the stay and a welcome message on the day of arrival.

4. Leverage Automation

Automated Messages: Set up automated messages for common communications like booking confirmations, reminders, and check-in/check-out information.

Real-Time Interaction: Use automation tools that allow for real-time interactions, such as answering FAQs or enabling guests to request services through SMS.

5. Offer Exclusive Deals and Updates

Special Offers: Send exclusive SMS-only deals or advanced notice of upcoming promotions to encourage bookings and loyalty.

Updates: Keep your guests informed about any changes, special discounts, or special events at your hotel that could enhance their stay.

6. Encourage Feedback

Post-Stay Surveys: Send a follow-up SMS after guests check out, inviting them to complete a feedback survey. This shows guests that you value their opinions and are committed to improving service.

Manage Responses: Ensure you have a system in place to handle responses effectively, whether they’re requests for more information or feedback on their stay.

7. Measure Success and Optimize

Tracking and Analytics: Utilize SMS marketing platforms that offer analytics to track the success of your messages, such as open rates, response rates, and conversion rates.

Continuous Improvement: Use data from your campaigns to refine your messaging, targeting, and timing. Testing different strategies can help you understand what resonates best with your guests.

8. Integrate with Other Marketing Channels

Multi-channel Approach: Integrate SMS with your email, social media, and other marketing strategies to create a cohesive guest communication experience.

Cross-Promotions: Use SMS to support larger marketing campaigns, driving attention to new services or events promoted through other channels.

9. Value-Added Messaging: Ensure every message you send provides value to the recipient, whether it’s a special offer, useful information, or a personalized greeting.

Respect Privacy: Always maintain guest privacy and promptly honor opt-out requests.

Test Your Messages: Regularly test different SMS formats and timings to find the most effective approach for your audience.

By following these guidelines, hotels can leverage SMS marketing to enhance guest satisfaction, boost engagement, and drive revenue, all while maintaining a personal touch that enhances the guest experience. Without using a landline.

SMS Marketing Templates for Hotels

Creating effective SMS messages for hotel marketing involves combining conciseness, relevance, and timeliness. Here are some SMS templates for various scenarios that hotels commonly face:

Booking Confirmation

Template: "Hello [Guest Name], thank you for booking with [Hotel Name]! Your room [Room Number] is ready for your arrival on [Check-In Date]. Reply to this message for directions or more information. See you soon!"

Pre-Arrival Reminder

Template: "Hi [Guest Name], we're excited to welcome you to [Hotel Name] tomorrow! Check-in begins at [Time]. Let us know if you have any special requests. Safe travels!"

Welcome Message

Template: "Welcome to [Hotel Name], [Guest Name]! We hope you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Text us here for room service or any assistance."

Special Offers

Template: "Exclusive offer for our valued guests: Enjoy a 20% discount on your next stay at [Hotel Name] when you book by [Date]. Use code: SMS20. Book now: [Link]"

Events and Facilities Promotion

Template: "Hi [Guest Name], don't miss our live jazz night this Friday at [Venue] in [Hotel Name]. Reserve your table now and get a complimentary welcome drink!"

Check-Out Reminder

Template: "Good morning [Guest Name], a gentle reminder that check-out today is by [Time]. Need a late check-out or another night's stay? Reply to this message for assistance."

Feedback Request

Template: "Thank you for choosing [Hotel Name], [Guest Name]. We hope you enjoyed your stay. We’d love to hear your feedback. Please take a moment to share your experience here: [Link]"

Birthday/Anniversary Greetings

Template: "Happy Birthday, [Guest Name]! As our gift to you, enjoy a complimentary [Item, e.g., dessert, cocktail] during your stay. Redeem at [Location] with this message."

Weather Alerts or Local News

Template: "Attention [Hotel Name] guests: Severe weather is expected tomorrow. Please plan accordingly. Contact our front desk for any assistance or information."

Loyalty Program Promotion

Template: "Hi [Guest Name], join our loyalty program and start earning points today. Enjoy exclusive benefits on your next stay! Sign up now at [Link]"

These templates can be tailored to fit specific hotel brands, locations, and guest preferences, making sure that every message sent adds value and enhances the guest experience.

The Best SMS Text Messaging System for Hotels

For hotels looking to implement or improve their SMS marketing strategies, choosing the right tool is crucial. The best SMS marketing platforms offer not only the ability to send bulk messages but also provide features like automation, integration with existing systems, unsubscribe tools, and detailed analytics.

Here are some of the top SMS marketing tools suitable for hotels:

1. Textla

Features: Textla is known for its user-friendly interface and robust features, including mass texting, MMS, scheduling, and keyword responses. It also offers segmentation tools to target messages based on customer data. This platform allows for two-way communication, automation of appointment reminders, and integration with major CRM systems. It’s particularly useful for conducting SMS surveys, upselling hotel guests, and collecting guest feedback.

Best For: Hotels looking for an easy-to-use solution with comprehensive features for engaging guests and building / reaching a marketing list.

2. Twilio

Features: Twilio is highly customizable and can scale with the needs of the business. It supports sending SMS globally and can be integrated into almost any software environment with its powerful APIs.

Best For: Larger hotel chains or those with a tech team that can customize and integrate SMS capabilities directly into existing hotel management software.

3. SlickText

Features: SlickText provides features like text message marketing, MMS marketing, auto-replies, and detailed analytics. It is also known for excellent customer support.

Best For: Hotels that want a robust tool that is still straightforward to use and supports both promotional and informational SMS strategies.

4. Podium

Features: While primarily known for its online review management, Podium also offers tools for SMS marketing, including automated review requests via text message. It’s great for improving both guest communication and online reputation simultaneously.

Best For: Hotels focusing on improving online ratings and guest engagement through text messages.

When selecting an SMS marketing tool or texting service, consider factors such as pricing, functionality, ease of use, integration capabilities, autoresponders, scalability, and the specific marketing needs of your hotel. It's also advisable to request demos or trial versions from these providers to see which platform fits best with your operational flow and marketing goals.

Run SMS Marketing Campaigns for Your Hotel with Textla

Whether you’re looking to streamline check-ins, provide reservation confirmations, enable room service requests via text, promote your concierge experience, or send notifications via mobile app to hotel guests, Textla’s SMS marketing platform is suited for your needs.

Get a 14-day free trial with Textla to start mass texting your customers and enhance your customer experience. Get your guests to say “yes” to staying at your hotel.

When our family bought an electric cargo bike earlier this year, one of my biggest fears was that this lovely and expensive new machine was going to get stolen. So I got the best lock money could buy, and I started to investigate: did I need ebike insurance?

First, I called my homeowners insurance provider to see if they would cover the bike if it were stolen. To my surprise, because it’s an electric bike, not only did my policy not cover it, they wouldn’t even add it for an additional fee or sell me a separate policy for it, the way they did for our family car.

Instead they referred me to an insurance company that specializes in bikes and ebikes. I bought a policy from them and sleep a little better for it.

I’ve heard similar stories from other ebike owners. And I’ve heard worse.

What can happen without ebike insurance

The saddest stories are the ones where someone assumed their homeowners or renters or car insurance covered their ebike, and after it was stolen or seriously damaged, it turned out it wasn’t covered.

"And then there are the stories about people whose ebikes were covered by their homeowners policy, but their premium went way up when they made a claim for a stolen ebike."
<span class="blog-quote-name">-Kyle Miller, CEO Brass Hands</span>

Why it’s hard to insure an ebike

When it comes to insurance, ebikes land in a gray area outside standard homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Here’s why:

  • Ebikes are new in terms of the insurance industry. Most of the several million ebikes in the U.S. were purchased in the last two years. Insurers aren’t familiar with them, and insurers don’t like to be surprised by unfamiliar products.
  • Ebikes are more expensive than regular bikes. Policies that cover bikes, like most homeowners or renters policies, might have also covered ebikes until the insurer had to pay much larger claims than they expected to replace a damaged or stolen ebike. See above about insurers and surprise. So some policy terms got changed.
  • Finally, ebikes get stolen a lot, and not only from people’s homes. They are ridden and locked up outside all over the place, which makes them more vulnerable than other valuable household items.

Steps to take to properly insure your ebike

The odds that your ebike is covered by your existing insurance is lower than you may think. Here’s what to do to find out if you need ebike insurance:

  1. Call your insurance company and find out what they cover. Things to bring up: coverage of accidental damage, theft, and travel (like what would happen if you flew somewhere with your bike and the airline did a number on it). Does the insurance company consider your ebike a “luxury item”? If you’re happy with the coverage, great! You’re good to go.
  2. Consider bike-specific coverage. If you aren’t covered, or feel like the coverage you do have isn’t enough, here are some things to think about.

Bike insurance covers all kinds of bike specific things, not just theft. Think damage to the bike from a collision, medical payments if you are injured in a collision, insurance for the bike if you are traveling with it or racing it, or a bike rental while your bike is being repaired. Some policies even cover things like accessories (like bike lights and panniers) and riding clothes.

Bike claims won’t affect your other insurance premium. Should you need to make a claim on your ebike, your home insurance premium won’t change or get canceled.

We can help

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Textla Team
The Textla team offers expertise in SMS marketing, sales, and business growth. Receive tips to enhance customer engagement and boost ROI. Follow for practical and effective SMS marketing strategies for your business!
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