Are you a hospitality establishment looking to expand your customer base and provide a seamless communication experience? Then, consider WhatsApp Business for hotels. By using WhatsApp, hotel communication with guests and other stakeholders becomes more versatile. This blog post will cover the benefits of using WhatsApp Business for hotels, how to use it and the advantages of integrating WhatsApp Business API with respond.io.
What is WhatsApp Business for Hotels?
WhatsApp Business for hotels refers to the use of WhatsApp as a communication tool that connects hotels, guests, vendors, and other groups. Using WhatsApp, a hotel can seamlessly and quickly connect with guests and other stakeholders while improving communication.
But hotels already use channels like email and SMS or are on booking platforms to communicate with their stakeholders. Why should they adopt messaging services like WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business for Hotels: Benefits Over Traditional Channels
With WhatsApp’s massive user base of 2 billion people, there’s a good chance that your customers are already using WhatsApp, especially if you’re in one of the 188 countries or regions where WhatsApp is dominant. This reason alone convinces businesses all around the world to use WhatsApp Business.
Unlike email or SMS, WhatsApp has an incredibly high 98% open rate. It’s the perfect channel to maximize engagement with guests and other stakeholders.
WhatsApp is also built for conversational messaging. By supporting multimedia messages, including images, videos, audio and files, it makes interactions feel natural and lively. This helps build rapport and trust between the customer and the business, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Traditional channels like SMS may also incur costs on the guest’s end whereas messaging on WhatsApp is free for them.
Furthermore, WhatsApp conversations, including any agreements, bookings or requests made over the messaging channel, are easily saved. While this is also possible on email and SMS, records are scattered, making them difficult to track.
These benefits aren’t just theoretical. Hotels are already using WhatsApp Business to provide a better communication experience with their stakeholders, especially with their guests.
How Hospitality Businesses are Winning with WhatsApp for Hotels
Let’s take a look at two hotels that are taking advantage of WhatsApp to improve communication, create more memorable guest experiences and build brand loyalty.
WhatsApp Hotel Wins: OYO Hotels & Homes
OYO Hotels & Homes, the third-largest hotel chain in the world, uses WhatsApp as part of its guest service and relations. Guests can make inquiries, book rooms and check the details of their stay over WhatsApp.
This helps remove the hassle of making reservations, improves the guest experience and enables OYO to better manage guests overall.
And the results? More than 85,000 monthly conversions, 55,000 monthly unique users engaged and a 15% reduction in call center traffic.
WhatsApp Hotel Wins: AccorHotels
Since 2018, AccorHotels has trialed and implemented a virtual concierge and room service using WhatsApp. Guests can communicate directly with staff members over WhatsApp via a dedicated number assigned to each guest.
This “portable concierge” has made guest relations more personal and meaningful. It’s no surprise, then, that the use of WhatsApp for room service at AccorHotels has exponentially increased over the past few years. It’s a channel that their guests feel very comfortable using.
Convinced by the power of WhatsApp for hotels? Create your own wins to boost your hotel’s stakeholder experience.
How to Use WhatsApp Business for Hotels
The first thing to do is pick the right WhatsApp Business product to use. The WhatsApp Business App is for small businesses with low inbound and outbound message volume. On the other hand, WhatsApp Business API is best used for large businesses that have a high volume of messages.
Choose the best product according to the size of your hotel. For example, a family-owned bed and breakfast might be best served with the WhatsApp Business App, whereas a hotel chain should choose the WhatsApp Business API.
However, to use the WhatsApp Business API, you’ll need to get access from a Business Solutions Provider (BSP) and connect it to a messaging inbox to send and receive messages. With a customer conversation management software like respond.io, you can do both.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the best WhatsApp Business practices for the various scenarios that hotels handle regularly.
WhatsApp for Hotel: Serve Guests
WhatsApp Business can help with the guest journey. There are multiple opportunities to make their experience as seamless as possible.
Pre-arrival: An easy and smooth guest journey starts with a good first impression. Send a confirmation message on WhatsApp as soon as they make a booking. Before they arrive, send automated messages about your facilities and activities they can do. This builds anticipation and helps them plan their stay.
Check-in and stay: With WhatsApp Business, your hotel can elevate the guest experience and provide unmatched convenience with virtual concierge and room services.
Check-out: You can even enhance the check-out experience for guests. Send them a personal ‘thank you’ message and a guest satisfaction survey to collect feedback and improve your services.
By leveraging these tools, hotels can streamline their operations and enhance the guest experience by offering an easy and seamless way for guests to access additional services. With WhatsApp, your hotel can supplement or even replace traditional guest services.
You can also increase the chances of guests returning by offering vouchers or discounts with promotional messages. Send these messages out periodically or even before the holiday season or on occasions like birthdays and anniversaries to make them more effective.
Speaking of which, let’s look at how WhatsApp can be leveraged during hotel events like conferences and exhibitions.
WhatsApp for Hotel: Organize Events and Exhibitions
MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), weddings and parties can generate huge revenue for hotels.
Promote your hotel as a venue in physical or digital spaces such as brochures, at trade shows, on social media and more, and use WhatsApp QR codes and chat links to get interested customers in your inbox.
These features act as a form of lead-generation. WhatsApp allows you to save these contacts and their details in your contact list for future promotional messages.
WhatsApp for Hotel: Liaise with Travel Agents
Beyond targeting guests and other end users, hotels can also liaise with travel agents via WhatsApp and tap into their clients. Hotels can connect WhatsApp with their CRMs to keep track of agreements and contracts, guest lists and relevant transactions.
Furthermore, hotels can also add agents to their broadcast lists to promote special events or offers. This will help hotels effectively reach a wider audience and increase their chances of attracting more customers.
Overall, broadcasting promotions can lead to increased exposure for the hotel and potentially more bookings. But it doesn’t stop there. You can do so much more using WhatsApp API with respond.io.
Supercharge WhatsApp API with respond.io
As repond.io is a WhatsApp partner, you can get access to WhatsApp API directly from the platform. Alternatively, connect WhatsApp API to respond.io and start using its many features to draw out WhatsApp API’s full potential.
Here are 5 ways respond.io brings WhatsApp API to the next level.
Get All Your Messages In One Inbox
Other than WhatsApp, respond.io allows you to connect and manage conversations from all other messaging apps in one convenient location. You can connect respond.io to Facebook Messenger, Google Business Messages, Viber, LINE and more.
While this gives stakeholders flexibility, they might reach out on multiple channels at a time. This makes it difficult to identify the same contact and keep their information organized.
Respond.io resolves this issue by enabling you to merge duplicate contacts and consolidate all their channels, messages, events, and comments into unified profiles.
For example, if a guest first messages you on Facebook Messenger and later on WhatsApp, respond.io can recognize them as the same contact and merge their profiles and conversation histories into a single thread.
Send Promotional Messages
With respond.io’s Broadcasts Module, you can import contacts, segment them for precise targeting, schedule broadcasts in advance and more. Other than broadcasts, hotels can also use external platforms to drive their promotions by setting up event-triggered messages.
For example, you can send abandoned booking recovery notifications to guests who didn’t complete their reservation. Win back those indecisive guests and increase your revenue.
Lighten Tasks with Advanced Automation
Respond.io supports powerful automation that improves the use of WhatsApp for your hotel. You can ask questions to collect information, route chats by language or shifts, auto-assign corporate or VIP guests to dedicated agents and more.
When using respond.io’s automation features to their fullest, hotels spend less time worrying about unproductive tasks, like routing Contacts, while giving guests hyper-convenience from the comfort of their phones.
Integrate Your CRMs and Reservation Platforms
You can integrate your WhatsApp API account with over 5,000 applications through respond.io. This includes CRMs like Salesforce, Pipedrive and Revinate, as well as reservation platforms with open APIs like Pegasus CRS and Cloudbeds.
You can retrieve and update contact data, create contracts or support tickets, as well as key in reservation details while chatting with guests or other stakeholders.
Monitor Your Agent’s Performance
The respond.io Reports and Analytics Module gives you an overview of your teams and insights into any actions you need to take. Identify unproductive agents, find out which channels your customers prefer, review broadcast analytics and more. This is a powerful tool that helps keep you on top of things.
That’s it! You’re ready to get started on integrating WhatsApp Business for your hotel. If you want to use WhatsApp at a higher level, sign up for a free respond.io trial and get a WhatsApp API account in minutes.
Curious about how WhatsApp can benefit other industries? Read the articles below to learn more: