Once you convert potential customers to actual guests at your hotel, you must engage with them in order to provide them with the best experience. Satisfaction on their part will benefit your hotel’s reputation, which could come in the form of online reviews or a post on social media, just to name a few outlets. However, you may be wondering as to how to accomplish this. One underrated method is through the use of WhatsApp.
At first sight, it could be identified as an instant messaging app, much like Facebook Messenger. However, it is growing as a social network, especially under the ownership of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame. With over 1.2 billion active users worldwide, which is more than Twitter and Snapchat combined, hoteliers should consider implementing WhatsApp into their marketing strategy. The barrier to entry is almost nonexistent, being that you only need a smartphone.
In this day and age, talking on the phone is seen as old-fashioned, with messaging being the preferred method of communication. Not only is it more simple, it is typically faster, therefore more appealing to the digital generation of today. Twitter is one way that hotels have been able to respond to customers, but it is more public, meaning that everybody can see tweets directed at your hotel, which can be detrimental should there be complaints or negative comments. There is also some difficulty in monitoring all of the tweets directed at your hotel, due to the sheer volume.
With WhatsApp, hoteliers can send a single message to various contacts. However, the contacts will not know that anyone else received the same message, allowing you to add a personal touch to the guests’ experience without having to individually message all of them, as well as privacy. This allows you to respond to complaints in a private manner, rather than in a public forum such as Twitter. Also, similar to “Stories” found on other social media sites, you can post a status to keep your audience engaged with your hotel. You can even post text similar to Twitter, in which you can persuade your audience to answer a call to action of your choosing. There are a number of hotels already implementing WhatsApp as a way of communicating with guests before, during and after their stay.
Before: Before the potential customer even decides to stay at your hotel, they may have a few questions that were not answered by your website. By listing your WhatsApp information on the homepage, they will be able to communicate with you and establish a relationship with your hotel. People tend to respond positively to quick responses from companies, which is what this platform will allow you to do. Say the customer has decided to book with your hotel, they can do so with a direct link to your site through the app as to eliminate the need of third-party booking. They can also message your hotel for other needs, such as arranging for transportation to the hotel, changing the date or time of booking and so on.
During: During their stay, guests can use WhatsApp to request amenities and room service, ask questions about promotions or local specials and so on. You can recommend deals or specials if the guest has not asked, and encourage them to engage through the use of pictures or videos. Once it is time for your guest to check out, they can use WhatsApp to request assistance with checking out, carrying their bags, and more.
After: Once your guests have checked out of the hotel, you can continue to communicate with them, urging them to book with you again in the future, asking them to review your hotel, or even thank them for choosing to spend their stay at your hotel.
The engagement between the hotel and guests could raise guest satisfaction, which could mean increased potential bookings in the future, either from repeat guests or new ones wanting to book with your hotel due to positive reviews. The potential for a more personal experience for guests at your hotel will surely benefit your hotel’s reputation. All things considered, WhatsApp is a platform through which your hotel can improve your current marketing strategy, and one that you should consider using for your hotel.