As their customers adopt new ways to communicate, resorts and hotels must do the same.
With upward of 2.5 billion people using messaging platforms, according to Skift’s “The Future of Messaging Technology in the Travel Industry” report, the vacation industry needs to ensure that it is meeting consumer demand for this form of communication.
“It’s important for resort operators to recognize that consumers are rapidly adopting social-messaging platforms both in their daily interactions among their family and friends, as well as with their favorite brands and products,” says Jayson Smith, director of social media at RCI. “We need to begin paying attention to these channels and leveraging them to drive engagement, and not let evolving consumer behavior pass us by.”
According to the Skift report, the number of messaging users is on the rise, and within the next two years is projected to experience more growth than registered Internet and social-media users. Even today, the number of texts sent daily from WhatsApp surpasses the number of sent SMS, MMS and MIM text messages—30 billion and 20 billion respectively.
From an operational standpoint, messaging platforms can facilitate guest-resort interactions before, during and after a guest checks in. Guests can use a messaging app or platform to request nearly anything, from restaurant reservations to in-house services, such as extra pillows, towels or room service, plus they can book and confirm excursions, get weather updates and ask general questions about the resort.
How should resorts make themselves known to consumers on these messaging platforms? Smith says establishing a consumer-friendly messaging presence is crucial in paving a way for recognition. “In many ways, it’s thinking about the channel in a similar way that we did for email communications 15 or 20 years ago,” Smith says. “It’s great to start by being available for service and customer care, meeting customers’ needs before, during and after the stay. Integration of messaging functionality into the overall business contact stream is the ideal goal, including reservation confirmations, upselling and customer surveys.”
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