WhatsApp for travel & hospitality is becoming the new standard to engage guests. The API allows companies from nearly any industry to send notifications, verification codes and more to customers. And with customers able to reply to these messages and even start conversations on the chat app, customer service is fully supported on WhatsApp. Learn how the hospitality industry can make the most of it.
Much has been said about travel journeys and guest engagement. For a few years now, messaging has been a buzzword in the hospitality industry, with SMS being used in notifications and perhaps a few promotions, but that’s it. Various mobile apps have been launched, but in a world of app fatigue, app downloads have remained low. Indeed, there have been few successful examples of true messaging-based guest engagement. But this is about to change. WhatsApp Business has checked-in in the hospitality sector.
The largest chat app worldwide, WhatsApp created its Business API to enable enterprises to communicate with customers in an easy, scalable manner. Available media types range from images and videos to documents, making chat apps like WhatsApp a revolution in customer service, saving customers from wasting valuable time while waiting to speak to an agent.
WhatsApp Business Solution in Hospitality for Elevated Guest Engagement
For the hospitality business, this means embracing messaging. After all, travelers want to message hotels. And in fact, according to a recent study, about 90% of hotel guests in the US and UK would like the ability to message hotels. The moments when customers feel the urge to connect can be diverse depending on the stage of their journey. Starting from express check-in to complaining about a broken remote control, messaging – especially via WhatsApp – can elevate your guest experience, as well as make your hotel staff more efficient.
If a guest, for example, texts “my remote control is broken,” the request is sent to the correct department, triggering an action to fix the issue. Notifications and escalation parameters can be set directly on your PMS or guest engagement system to automatically track the task completion process and ensure follow up. Messaging can also be paired with operational management systems that alert, flag, track and measure performance, enabling your staff to become more efficient while conforming to your guest satisfaction expectations.
This doesn’t WhatsApp alone will make everything magically flow to perfection. It’s key for hoteliers to define how messaging channels like WhatsApp are used and how their staff should react, what internal processes are involved, where potential bottlenecks are and more. Ideally, you can use WhatsApp to communicate directly with guests throughout their entire travel journey: before they arrive, during their stay and even after their stay.
Using WhatsApp in Your Travel Journey
You can get started by asking your guests to opt-in to communicating via your official hotel WhatsApp Business Account (WABA). This opt-in can be integrated onto your website, in your newsletter and on reservation confirmations. Once your guests have opted-in, you can keep them engaged at the beginning of their journey by sending them “thank you” messages, by allowing them to order room amenities prior to arrival and by allowing them to check in. While in-house, your guests can request room service and/or concierge services. And after your guests leave, you can encourage them to fill in a satisfaction survey, rate your hotel or invite them to subscribe to your loyalty program.
While many of these customer moments can be accomplished by email, the hard truth is that open rates for emails lag at about 25%, while messaging-based communications like SMS and WhatsApp reach a staggering 90%. Your engagement with messaging can finally reach new heights.
Providing VIP Guest Engagement with tyntec
Embracing messaging in the hospitality sector is a process. But it’s not a question of if, but when. Naturally, depending on the hotel location, messaging channels other than WhatsApp may be relevant, such as SMS, RCS, Facebook Messenger, Viber and more. Email and voice-based conversations can still be used as a backup or for specific use cases. As more than half of consumers prefer chat apps for business conversations, the WhatsApp Business solution can easily become a core channel in your customer engagement strategy to drive increased customer satisfaction and brand awareness.
We at tyntec can make this journey quick and easy for you. As an official WhatsApp Business solution provider, tyntec can guide you through the entire process, powering your guest engagement with WhatsApp and beyond.
Alternatively, learn more with these additional resources:
- Blog post: Five Ideas to Use WhatsApp Business Solution with Travel
- The Ultimate WhatsApp Business API Starter Guide
- WhatsApp Business Product Page
- SMS Product Page
- Guide: Messaging for Travel