Mobile Messaging as a Service Tool
By Josiah MacKenzie Vice President , ReviewPro | February 13, 2011
Technology provides us with a platform to deliver extraordinary experiences and memorable service. And perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in mobile communications. Think about it: what other device are people carrying around with them all the time? What other device continuously transmits data on location and proximity, serves as an on-the-go-guide, and links all areas of our personal and professional lives?
Smartphones are ubiquitous with business and leisure travelers alike, with Neilsen projecting one in two American mobile phone users will own a smartphone by Q3 2011. Internationally, Italy and Spain have even higher smartphone market share than the US. Yet since mobile devices are always with us, our sensitivity to privacy is much higher. Mobile messaging done incorrectly will likely be seen as abusive and damaging to your brand.
There must be a coordinated effort to deliver the right information at the right time - and only with the recipient's explicit permission. For these reasons, the biggest opportunity I see in mobile communications is using it as a service channel - not as a direct sales or marketing medium. Let's examine how mobile messaging can be used for service.
Opportunity: Pre-Stay Text Messages
Many hotels send out booking confirmations and welcome emails to their guests. It's a great opportunity deliver useful information, upsell to value-added packages, and inquire about any special requests the guest may have. But it seems SMS text messaging could be much more effective than email for these purposes. If I'm on the go I may not want to check email, but would appreciate a text message a few hours before my arrival asking if I have any last-minute requests.
A number of software vendors have already developed tools that integrate with your existing booking systems and would make this process easy. You would have to collect the mobile number of guests and ask their permission to send updates, but this is becoming increasingly valuable to have in your database.