OpenMarket – May 26, 2016
As the understanding that SMS can be a viable tool for marketing and engagement increases, more industries are turning to it. We’re especially seeing quite a few hotels, restaurants, and resorts adopt SMS strategies of their own.
So what is the value of SMS for these businesses, and how are they employing it?
The Current State of SMS and Marketing
In order to grasp the value of SMS as a marketing tool, you have to dig beneath the surface and study the pervasiveness and efficacy of SMS as a personal communication tool. Texting is by far the most widely (and frequently) used app on people’s smartphones.
Roughly 97 percent of Americans open up their texting application at least once a day. Worldwide, it has been estimated that nearly 8.3 trillion text messages were sent in 2015. That equates to 23 billion messages per day and 16 million every minute!
Looking at the U.S. market alone, more than 6 billion texts are sent and received each day. Nielsen research shows that 14.1 percent of a cell phone user’s time is spent texting, which dwarfs the next largest category (social networking, at 10.2 percent).
When we view these numbers in terms of marketing, text messages have an astounding 98 percent open rate. This far outranks email’s average of 20 percent.
Then there’s this: 90 percent of all text messages are read in less than three minutes … and text messages enjoy a 45 percent response rate. These are numbers a business can’t ignore.
They don’t just show that SMS works. The numbers clearly show that SMS is by far the most effective marketing solution for forward-thinking brands.
SMS in the Hotels, Restaurants, and Resorts Industry
When you look at which industries are best suited for SMS, the hospitality and entertainment industry readily comes in near the top. Other businesses might have to get super creative to leverage SMS effectively, but hotels, restaurants, and resorts won’t find it a challenge to implement an SMS strategy.
SMS was made for businesses like yours. Take a brief look at some of the ways SMS is currently being used in the industry, along with some ways you can utilize it moving forward.
- Customer Service
The primary goal of SMS should be to enhance customer service. Customers love it, so it’s the perfect way to reach them in a way that’s both convenient and preferred.
And if you look at millennials, who are quickly becoming the biggest slice of the marketplace, SMS is actually preferred over talk. According to our research, a healthy majority — 75 percent to be exact — chooses texting when they’re offered a choice between SMS or a phone call.
So hang up the phone and start using those thumbs.
- Check-in and Check-Out
One of the more natural ways for hotels to use SMS is for check-in and check-out. Since the process is largely automated already (with guests able to grab a key quickly from the front desk and invoices getting slipped under the door at an early-morning hour) why not completely streamline these interactions?
With SMS, you can send confirmations to guests and they can respond with a simple code to verify receipt.
For hotels, restaurants, and resorts, SMS represents an effective and convenient tool for processing reservations. If you allow individuals to set up reservations via text, you’ll see a steady uptick in them.
And, since there will be fewer inbound phone calls as a result, you can free up your employees to focus on other important tasks. In a day and age when such mobile apps as Uber, Airbnb, and OpenTable are garnering millions of users, it’s worthwhile for other businesses to develop strategies to reach mobile users. Taking SMS reservations is one excellent way.
- Coupons and Deals
Our research shows that 62 percent of millennials find SMS product offers and coupons helpful. Since that’s the case, another natural way you can leverage SMS is by sending out coupons and deals to subscribers.
Something as simple as “Text FREE FOOD to 10765 to receive a free appetizer when you make a dinner reservation tonight between 5:00PM and 6:00PM” will work. A resort may send out a text that reads “Schedule a five-night vacation any time in the month of May and get the sixth night free! Text VACATION to 23876 for more information.”
Little offers like these can produce positive results when the coupons and deals are timely and appealing. You don’t want to overdo them, but an occasional message can work wonders.
- Surveys and Feedback
Many businesses use SMS to gather feedback or conduct surveys. You may not see tremendous results from this approach, but over time you’ll collect valuable information that can serve to drive changes and inform key decisions.
The best way to use SMS surveys is to combine them with a thank-you or confirmation text. For example, if you’re sending a check-out confirmation to a guest, you can include a note that says something like: “Respond with YES to answer a quick question about your stay.”
- Additional Advertising Revenue
You have to be careful about how you use SMS to promote your business. It tends to be regarded as a personal mode of communication, and you don’t want to breach trust with users.
When properly handled, though, SMS can be used simultaneously to provide users with value and to drive additional advertising revenue. For example, let’s say you operate a resort. You could monetize partnerships with nearby businesses by sending out promos to guests.
These might look like something along the lines of, “Check out nearby Seaside Grill and show them this text for 15 percent off your meal.” Since there’s value in the deal, recipients won’t feel as if the offer is an invasion of their personal space.
It also provides value for the resort and the restaurant partner.
Check Out OpenMarket Today
SMS is versatile, cost-effective, and far-reaching. As a hotel, restaurant, or resort, you should consider it a viable tool for marketing and engagement.
At OpenMarket, we work with some of the largest enterprises in the world to design incredibly effective and feature-rich mobile engagement solutions that empower brands to reach their customers through enhanced marketing and communication. If you’re interested in learning more about how OpenMarket can help you, then feel free to contact us today.
We would love to tell you more about our SMS solutions and how it can help you reach your business goals.