Is Online Communication Important in the Hospitality Industry?
In the hospitality industry, online communication refers to the various ways that businesses communicate with their customers and clients through the internet. This can include everything from setting up a website and social media accounts to using online booking systems and even communicating via email or chat.
Do you know why online communication is important in the hospitality industry? It is! There are several reasons why this is true – let’s take a look at some of them.
Why is online communication important in the accommodation industry?
In this era of technological excellence, staying connected is essential for the survival of any industry. The accommodation industry is no exception.
As a hotelier, you need to establish an association with your guests, and we all know a good relationship is born out of effective communication.
How can online communication help the hospitality sector?
- The hospitality industry thrives on guest satisfaction and providing a pampered home-away-from-home experience. Online communication is the best and most reliable way to get real-time feedback on guest satisfaction.
- Reduce the points of contact and maintain safety, especially during the pandemic.
- Helps to lessen the burden of understaffed hotels with the automation of selective tasks. E.g. setting up an online chat box to answer FAQs, CRM taking care of automated emails etc.
- Easier to get feedback from your guests and share positive reviews on your social media platforms. This increases your brand value, improves conversions and increases profits.
- Offers a sophisticated experience in tandem with the current expectations of digitized services across all sectors.
- Allows your business to cater to a wide range of customers breaking barriers of
- Online communication establishes real-time channels for interaction. Guests can use it to voice their complaints, make requests, share feedback and receive information promptly.
- Your social media posts, website content, and reviews all help form an opinion of your brand. If persuasive, it will help attract new customers and retain the old ones.
- A study in 2019 found that email marketing rakes in $42 for every $1 spent. That is a strong return on investment for your business.
How to use email to your advantage in the accommodation industry?
A recent study found that more than 50% of customers preferred email communication from their hotel compared to texts, calls or direct mail.
When customers seem ready to hear from you, are you delivering the right message—the one they want to hear?
Use emails to keep an open communication channel with your guests pre-arrival, post-arrival and after check out.
There are many kinds of emails you can send to your guests:
Reservation confirmation email
- Preferences/Upselling email
- Pre-arrival reminder email
- Post-stay thank you email
- Feedback request email
- Loyalty Email
Emails allow you to grow your subscriber list, maintain communication with your guests, perform targeted marketing and add a personalised touch without disturbing or spamming your guests.
This access to your customer will enable you to retain customers, build loyalty, create brand awareness, establish a lasting association and boost conversion rates. This translates to increased revenue generation and the inevitable growth of business.
The benefits of using email to communicate with guests
So how can email help you communicate with guests?
- Emails allow you to draft a targeted message to different segments of your customer base. Send targeted promotional offers and discounts.
- Sending prompt emails helps elevate the overall guest experience.
- Emails keep the channels of communication open with your guests.
- Emails can help track your active subscribers, their preferences and the performance of your hotel email marketing strategy.
- Share relevant and reliable information with your guests in real-time.
- When automated, it reduces the burden of your personnel while also boosting efficiency and guest perception of your business.
- It can establish loyalty and trust with prompt and reliable communication.
The challenges of using email to communicate with guests
Though emails are a versatile tool used for different purposes while communicating with your guests, it does come with its challenges.
Do you fear that your emails are getting marked as spam? You are not alone.
Spam filters are one of the many challenges posed by email communication with your guests.
Here are some other challenges you may face:
- Making a real-time conversation can be difficult while sending emails back and forth.
- Emails could be compromised, and private information can be leaked. You must ensure that the servers are safe and invest in good network security.
- Frequent emails from you could be deemed as spam. Your guests may either opt-out or mark you as spam. Either way, you have lost access to a valued customer.
- Declining guest engagement over time.
- Drafting messages that are rendered incompatible for the mobile version.
- Staying relevant through periodic communication and delivering original content
- Balancing between regularly communicating with your guests and avoiding flooding the inbox.
- Emails are often skimmed and not read, allowing room for important information to go unnoticed.
- Your guests may not remember to check their emails regularly.
- Time-sensitive information may not be conveyed in time if the email takes too long to draft or is scheduled for a later date.
- The message you want to deliver may get lost in the sea of other emails.
Despite all these challenges, email remains one of the most popular and effective methods to communicate with guests in the hospitality industry. The right mix of timing, content and frequency can help you overcome these challenges and take your hotel’s email communication to the next level.
How to overcome the challenges of using email to communicate with guests
Emails are still a great tool for communicating with your guests. Here’s a list of things you can implement to overcome the standard challenges of using email to communicate with your guests:
- Segment your audience into broad categories and send only relevant information for each section. Personalise the email with curated packages, promo codes etc.
- Invest in a good CRM to automate informational emails with minimal changes.
- Set up a schedule of posts periodically for each section of the customer base to ensure that your emails are regular but spaced.
- Draft emails that focus on the benefits for your guests and don’t beat around the bush. Use the preferences learned from your guests to deliver pertinent information to their email.
- Add actionable content and suitable CTAs to induce engagement. It is to reward the customer for interacting with you. For example, when you send an email asking for feedback, offer coupons or special deals as a thank-you.
- Add a note of personal touch by using a warm tone and addressed to them. Send behavioural triggers to show how their preferences matter.
- Invest in good network security, firewalls and antivirus to ensure the safety of the email contents.
Other types of online communication you can use
Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to connect with guests and build relationships. It can also be used to generate leads and boost sales.
It helps you understand your guests better by monitoring their feedback, comments, and queries.
You can use social media to create a buzz about your hotel and promote special offers and deals.
It is a great platform for showcasing your hotel and creating brand awareness.
You can use social media to build relationships with potential guests and nurture these relationships over time.
It’s important to be active on the right platform. Depending on your target audience, you can choose from a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
Another effective way to communicate with your guests is through live chat. Live chat allows you to have a two-way conversation with your guests in real time.
Some of the benefits of using live chat for hospitality businesses are:
- It helps you understand your guests’ needs and queries better and address them immediately.
- You can use live chat to upsell and cross-sell your products and services.
- It helps build trust and credibility with your guests.
- You can use live chat to resolve issues and complaints quickly.
To get the most out of live chat, make sure you have a team of trained customer service representatives who are available 24/7 to handle queries.
In conclusion, email communication is still important in the hospitality industry. However, it is important to overcome the challenges of using email to communicate with guests. You can do this by segmenting your audience, investing in a good CRM, and adding a personal touch to your emails. You can also use social media and live chat to communicate with your guests.
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