Chat apps are a growing space for marketers, and the opportunities for hospitality businesses are endless. Particularly popular with younger customers, they allow you unique opportunities to communicate with guests and market your business. Here are just some of the ways using chat apps can help you increase bookings and improve guest experience.
Communicate directly with guests
The most obvious use for chat apps is for communicating with guests. According to Beonprice, you can give your guests a much more customized and personal experience. Through chat apps, you can send anything you would send via an email – booking confirmations, local advice and updates.
WhatsApp does require a mobile number for connecting, but for guests who do not want to share this information you can also connect with them on Facebook Messenger or Snapchat. Facebook can be automated, and Snapchat is a great option if you have mostly younger guests.
This also gives your guests a direct line to communicate with you in case they need assistance during their stay. This allows you to be more on the ball with maintenance and customer service. The sooner you respond, the happier your guest will be. These chat apps allow you to answer their queries as soon as you see the message – and you can even set up automatic responses on many of them. Automated bots are great for common queries such as recommendations and room features. They can also be used to direct more urgent messages straight to you.
Chat apps offer smarter marketing opportunities
Instead of sending out weekly or monthly newsletters via email, you can allow your guests to opt in to a feed on WhatsApp. As mentioned in TravelTripper, WhatsApp recently launched a business specific version of their app that allows you to list important information about your business on the app, as well as take advantage of unique marketing features. This app allows you to set up automatic replies, mass message send-outs and you can even view important stats to shape how effective the app is for you.
Another great way of using WhatsApp is to invite guests to join a group dedicated to your business. You can entice guests by offering them exclusive discounts for group members, and also use this group as a marketing tool for future offers and events. This ensures they are more likely to book directly with you in future.
With Snapchat you can also market using visuals. The stories feature is a great way of allowing guests to control when they view your content. You can see who regularly views your stories for future remarketing purposes. Again, you can entice guests to keep an eye on your stories by offering unique discounts and perks to followers. You can also attach links to your newsletters in the videos. This allows you to visually draw guests in, increasing click through rates.
Access foreign markets
One of the pioneering chat apps comes from China – WeChat. You need to be registered in China to use the payment functions of the app. The marketing features work from anywhere in the world. If you are looking to entice more Chinese guests then WeChat is a great app to set up on. According to Hotels Mag, the app has over 1 billion users. There is also room for the payment functionalities to increase internationally in future. Getting in now will give you a head start on other businesses when this happens. Currently you can use the app for pretty much the same functions you can use WhatsApp for. You will also have a dedicated page for potential guests to check out before contacting you.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp marketing is already popular in the Australia and New Zealand market – making it a great feature to have when attracting clients from the other side of the world. It also solves the issue of contacting guests with foreign mobile numbers directly. You can use the phone and messaging functions by connecting to the Internet rather than having to spend extra on international fees.
The growing use of chat apps across the world presents a variety of opportunities for you to market your business. If you get in early, this will put you ahead of the curve. Their popularity in foreign markets will likely extend to the UK and Europe over the coming years. Right now they are a great way to market to younger demographics. Using them will also highlight your business as a modern and forward-thinking brand.
Want to learn more about how to up your direct bookings and beat the OTAs in 2019? Check out this guide before the 29th December.