A hotel view on why the industry is gravitating towards messaging

When Two Roads Hospitality was born from last year’s merger of Commune Hotels & Resorts and Destination Hotels, the newly formed company inherited a relationship with real-time messaging specialist Checkmate, which has since been acquired by TrustYou.

The success of the program with former Commune Hotels led Two Roads to sign on for another guest messaging service –Zingle—in order to offer another option to the lifestyle hotel management company’s hotel owners.

Today, Two Roads is working towards 100% adoption of SMS technology at its more than 85 hotels by 2018.

Andrew Arthurs, CIO and SVP IT at Two Roads Hospitality says:

“We believe that SMS messaging is a critical technology solution that can enable the guest journey and we have seen a very high level of adaption of SMS messaging, enabling guests to communicate directly with the property on their terms, on their device and on their time.”

Arthurs goes on to detail how each of the technology solutions provide a different value to hotels’ in Two Roads’ portfolio of five brands: Destination Hotels; Thompson Hotels; Joie de Vivre Hotels; Alila Hotels & Resorts; and tommie Hotels.

TrustYou’s acquisition of Checkmate is elevating the service platform with better integration capabilities with other systems with which Two Roads is currently contracting or planning to do so.

Zingle enables service automation because it’s integrated with HotSOS, the cloud-based service optimization solution that’s part of Amadeus.

Both platforms are used to communicate directly with guests pre-arrival as well as during their stay and in-stay service requests like extra towels a more streamlined process for both guests as well as staff.

Arthurs says:

“From a staff standpoint, it’s more efficient to have someone respond to multiple text messages than to have someone respond to multiple phone calls.”

Direct contact with guests pre-arrival also allows the hotels to better prepare for a late check-in or a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary that guests plan to celebrate during their stay.

But the technologies are only effective as long as guests are responsive and Arthurs attests that the hotels see high level of adoption rates among guests.

“I’m surprised by how much information guests are willing to share over text because it’s a one-on-one personal connection.”

Moreover, as long as guests know that they hold the means to receiving an instant response from the hotel in the palm of their hand, the hotels have a better chance of rectifying any issues that may arise during the stay before guests post them to review sites or social media.

The information captured via these exchanges with guests also has long-term value to the hotels, which store the data so that it can be accessed during guests’ subsequent visits to the property to accommodate various guest preferences that might have been expressed via a service request or special occasions that may be relevant during the repeat stay.

Retaining the conversations provides a level of detail can give staff context when servicing a guest request or that can create an opportunity to surprise a guest by remembering his or her birthday.

Notably, Arthurs also says that while SMS communications with guests are effective pre-arrival and in-stay, it is not the channel for post-stay communication, although Two Roads does see an opportunity to collect guest feedback after they check out.

He also expects chatbots to play more of a role in hotels’ text interactions with guests:

“There’s an opportunity with AI to inform responses to basic questions that don’t require a human answer, such as ‘what time does the pool open?’ or ‘what time does the bar close?’”

Related reading:

Why travel brands should be investing in chatbots now

What now for chatbots in travel?

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