Welcome to Boostly Podcast Season 8 Episode 23. This is a recap of my interview with Alix Hecht of Wishbox and we talked about using texting and messaging to communicate with your guests.
Here’s the audio for this episode:
Here’s the video for this episode:
02:15 About Alix of Wishbox
03:10 Wishbox clients
04:10 The importance of texting
04:50 On Upsells
06:25 How does Wishbox help
07:05 On maximising WhatsApp
12:50 How Wishbox is helping its members during the Coronavirus crisis
17:10 Quickfire questions
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Transcript from the Episode
Alix is based in Tel Aviv in Israel and originally from Glasgow. She’s got around 14 years experience in SAS sales and she’s incredibly passionate of the vacation rental market. What wish box does is they actually help to automate the guests’ communication. It helps you to also generate more revenue from upsells, enhance the guests experience with increased brand awareness additionally, helped to kind of streamline your process by collecting information, collecting passports, e signatures authority forms before the arrival of guests.
Europe is such a hub for the vacation rental market so London is an incredibly strong base for Wishbox. They also have a lot of domestic products in Israel and their second-biggest market after that would probably be in France, but Europe really is their premier focus right now.
The importance of texting
Sending personalized messages to get really through whether it’s through email or chat or text is just one of the best ways to actually increase the engagement. Text is one of the best ways to increase that engagement to increase your brand awareness. And additionally, especially with the upsells also a great way to increase that revenue.
Typically you know that your most popular upsells are the early check-in in the late checkout. Probably a second on that would be transportation. It’s incredibly important, especially currently with the crisis that we’re seeing. Alix read a statistic last week that 80% of the people that got home from the airport, they took a taxi. So the ability to actually offer those people those upsells immediately is basically just like picking money up off the floor. Right? It’s so popular. In addition to that, the room upgrade is incredibly important. So the ability to say to somebody who’s already a guest who will say to them, okay, you’ve got a nice suite here, perhaps get the next phase, offer the VIP package. Okay, so room upgrades, also incredibly important. Also luggage storage spots and food supplies are incredibly important too. So food deliveries, personal chefs, everything that’s connected to fundamental living.
How does Wishbox help
Every destination has a different experience, okay, so in an urban destination might have things like walking tours, cultural experiences, so it’s really or actually different activities like wine tasting water sports, so it’s really important to make sure that you know, we’re offering the experiences that are actually going to excite the guests the most. But yeah, so essentially, it’s like you can plug into Wishbox’s marketplace and you can also add your own. Add your own upsells as well.
On maximising WhatsApp
You can actually send messages automatically to guests using Smart Filters, okay. And you can also send targeted messages actually to help the person through the next phase of the guests’ journey. Alix’s favourite feature when it’s actually smart, scheduled messages that are like sending kind of the first messages to guests by booking source or reservation status, and also to the ability to send messages to all of the in house guests at a timing of your choice. So if you want to send a message to everybody a bit of breakfast, make sure that you send it at 6pm and not kind of the day before.
There’s really something to be said about communicating with guests through platforms that they’re already used to and already familiar with, because there’s that feeling of, you know, if something is being done through something like WhatsApp where people are so familiar with it, it creates that kind of instant connection and it kind of instantly engagements and it also feels incredibly personal and responsive. The feedback from Wishbox clients is just so overwhelmingly positive.
They actually have a smart integration with WhatsApp. So currently, you’re able to send scheduled template messages to guests, kind of just encouraging them to complete the pre-check-in obviously gathering those super important documents, gathering the passport scans, provide them with important vital information.
Alix has seen a lot of their hosts are really, really struggling from perhaps they’ve let go a lot of their staff, a lot of people are functioning on half of their regular staff load. So being able to automate this process right now is incredibly important. Also, you can also provide them with the ability to review, which is unbelievably important. So the ability to send somebody a WhatsApp message, you know, before the checkout to tell them this is how you review, please review. And so sending the customized messages depending on their room or rental type, and also according to their booking source.
So if you know that somebody’s coming through, you know, booking.com you really want to increase that brand awareness there because essentially, the, the personalized feel, has really been stripped from the entire conversation. And so they might not even be aware, but where they’re staying, you know, how many times have you gone somewhere through booking.com and you’ve no clue about where you stayed. So this ability to kind of send them a WhatsApp message. Say to them this is who we are, you know, know where you’ve stayed is unbelievably important. And you can also kind of really whittle that down to you know a frequent you’re going to send it to a family, make sure you send them this type of message if you want, you know, or if people booked for a Harry Potter tour, right, you might want to also offer them the wine tour, any kind of difference, reservation status or condition, you want to really customize those messages to make sure that you’re just bringing the most amount of value from your guests and also the most amount of them are going to get overall guest satisfaction.
How Wishbox is helping its members during the Coronavirus crisis
Wishbox is always here for all of their hosts. Wishbox is here to help hosts whether that be instantly informing people of a change in your cancellation policy or better informing people also about their local conditions. Some people who are arriving from abroad right now have to quit the instant 14 day quarantine.You might need to actually inform them but that’s okay.
First of all, Alix recommends that all of their hosts use wish box guest app to instantly update the guests before and during their stay. So you really need to highlight the that you know, you’re going to go above and beyond to ensure the guest safety including you know, the deep cleaning of the rooms taking all the necessary measures and following the local government guidelines using scheduled messages is also a really important right now. So scheduled and instant messages allow you to get in touch with all of the guests you know, with important and instant messaging.
Through Wishbox all of these announcements can be forwarded to the guests through the guest app or email or SMS with regards to the upsells we really recommend that right now is the time to apply an appeal to your domestic markets and collaborate with local suppliers. It’s incredibly important, while people are less inclined to go out of the country, you really need to focus on your domestic market we think this is going to be the end of the initial once sort of burst
This is a great time to partner with different attractions or experiences and be more compatible with the kind of local market demands. So right now it’s a good time to partner up with those local suppliers and create the kind of perfect experience the perfect holiday package to the guests. If somebody is not utilising for example, like the social media aspects of marketing to their guests. That was really the time to engageg with the guests more on like a level of you know, the text messages and also like social media, but also that’s also very important.
Tips and advice from Alix
A lot of Wishbix owners have been raising concerns about their margins, okay, really, really expressing their concern about that. Wishbox really recommends making an additional revenue stream, okay. So at this time, certain surfaces are just more relevant than ever so cross-selling taxis are a safer transport and when people are less inclined to use public transportation, unbelievably important, unbelievably relevant food supplies. For stocking the properties, very important outdoor activities like local restaurants and food experiences, really, really important right now.
Wishbox also has seen a lot of good engagement with automating the check-in process. So allowing your guests a little bit more flexibility right now, a lot of staff has been affected, so you can offer your guests a self-check-in without sacrificing your service standard. Wishbox has fully support smart and digital locks like Vikki execute locks we have in Australia, and also kienet, as well as being able to automate that process with other you know, documents, scan, digital signatures, things like that.
If you could be on lockdown with one celebrity or famous figure, who would that be?
What is that one thing that you’ve always had on your to-watch list, whether it’s a TV series, whether it’s a movie or a documentary is the one that stands out one that you’re looking forward to potentially checking over the next couple of weeks?
What is the one thing that you have missed being able to do since being on lockdown?
Going into work
What’s your best purchase under 100 pounds?
Alcogel. LinkedIn premium
Favourite podcast or Youtube channel?
Alix’s advice to increase direct bookings
Establishing a really strong presence on social media.
Know more about Wishbox through their website.