“WhatsApp is only for our un-funny family groups,” said no one ever.
Gone are those days when you would use WhatsApp only to connect with your friends and family.
Whatsapp is on everyone’s phone.
Yes, literally 9 out of 10 people use WhatsApp daily, unless they’re in China or parts of Southeast Asia.
And with such a wide audience to cater to, WhatsApp has evolved and now offers WhatsApp Business.
Today, as accommodations from all around the world are keeping abreast with new trends, WhatsApp Business for hotels is becoming pivotal.
This might sound a bit perplexing but once you start exploring, the avenues that WhatsApp Business can open for hotels become evident.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.
Whatsapp Integration in the Hospitality Industry
The WhatsApp you know from your personal use is different than the one I am covering in this article.
WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp business API are two major options for hotel businesses that have so many features to offer.
Let me explain it to you.
WhatsApp Business for hotels has gained good traction in recent times. And why not? After all, it seems to be a decent choice for several types of industry with features like business profile, quick replies, automatic greeting messages, automatic away messages, contact labels, message statistics, catalogs, etc. And it’s a free app not to mention.
However, for hotel businesses where communications happen on a much wider level, WhatsApp Business solely doesn’t work all the time. Accommodation businesses need some of the additional capabilities to enhance their operational efficiency and customer experience.
This is exactly where WhatsApp Business API integration comes into the frame and does the magic.
An Application Programming Interface (API) for WhatsApp Business allows you to integrate it with your hotel management system and explore a whole new dimension.
And this brings me to the next point,
How Can Whatsapp Benefit Hotel Operators?
Speaking of benefits, they are all tangible and cannot be overlooked. And in this section, I am covering the ones that make more sense to a hotelier.
1. In terms of operations
1.1 Get timely booking notifications
One of the top benefits of integrating Whatsapp for hotels with your property management system is that you get timely messages and notifications regarding every booking.
For example, you’re out of the station but you still want to keep yourself updated with the booking flow at your hotel. You can simply opt for a notification option and receive a WhatsApp message whenever there’s a confirmed booking.
Not to mention, you can also receive notifications and messages for canceled bookings, the ones that are on hold, and rescheduled bookings.
1.2 Stay updated with all the crucial reports
Reports are crucial for hotel owners. It allows them to take a deeper look at all the happenings of the hotel and make informed decisions.
Now, what if you could get these reports directly to your phone without even installing any application?
Sounds intriguing, right?
With WhatsApp Business integrated with your hotel PMS, you can get reports on – high balance, daily arrival and departure, concierge report, daily forecast, daily sales recapitulation, POS terminal, and whatnot.
Keeping yourself abreast with all these reports helps you in getting to know how’s your accommodation performing and what you can do to make things great.
Additionally, you can also opt to receive reports that are important to you. And if you’re not sure, here’s an article on reports that are necessary for every hotelier to analyze.
1.3 Communicate better
WhatsApp’s sole purpose itself is to help individuals and businesses communicate better.
However, “How can WhatsApp help hotel businesses in terms of communication” is the question here.
Here’s how it works:
1.3.1 With guests
Apart from all the happy-go-lucky marketing messages, it is also important to keep your guests updated with details regarding their stay.
Now, for a moment, step into the shoes of a traveler and check into a hotel. The very moment you enter your room, you receive the wifi password on WhatsApp. Sounds like something right, isn’t it?
Later, you go to the in-house restaurant to have lunch and decide to pay along with the final bill. The very moment you step out of the restaurant you receive the bill on WhatsApp for reference. Not to mention, this also reduces the chances of any discrepancy.
And finally, when you check out of the hotel, you receive your invoice straight into your WhatsApp invoice.
Communications are just about “Hi” and “Hello”, keeping your guests updated with everything also counts. And in this scenario, WhatsApp has done exactly that.
1.3.2 With staff
In terms of staff, communication is mostly about keeping your employees updated with tasks, shifts, etc.
Here’s an explanation of the use case with a scenario.
For example, all your employees have WhatsApp installed on their phones. Every time they are assigned a task, they get notified through a WhatsApp text. Once the task is completed, s/he can mark the task as completed right on the chat window and it gets updated on the PMS.
Now, if that isn’t the definition of convenience then I don’t know what is.
Furthermore, you can also use WhatsApp to keep your hotel staff updated with their roasters and other information with the help of a chatbot. All they need to do is interact with the chatbot to retrieve the required information.
1.4 Share catalogs, payment links, and more
Again, it’s time for an example.
(I and my love for examples are just eternal.)
Joe checks into your hotel today. And after a long flight, he couldn’t go to the restaurant to eat.
Let’s fix things for Joe.
Joe arrives at your hotel and while checking in he mentions that he’s really tired. Now, like a good hotelier, you send Joe your in-house restaurant menu on WhatsApp. Joe orders food, gets it delivered to his room, and also gets a link on his WhatsApp for payment.
Isn’t this amazingly convenient?
Be it a catalog, menu, payment links, or folios, WhatsApp’s integration with your hotel PMS allows you to share and receive everything that matters.
2. In terms of sales and marketing
2.1 Acquire more leads
WhatsApp for acquiring leads might sound a little weird, isn’t it?
But Pal, it does work magically.
This is more of a default advantage of WhatsApp. When you have a WhatsApp business account, you can integrate it into your hotel’s website.
Every time someone visits your website, they see the option to chat directly with your hotel.
Now, for instance, “that someone” texts you, inquires about rooms and prices, and then leaves.
What are you going to do about it? Drop it right there?
Save the contact for future pitches but don’t forget to mark. And this brings me to the next point…
2.2 Mark leads/guests according to labels
WhatsApp Business has a labeling feature.
For example, you can label people/contacts who texted you as a fresh lead and can later curate personalized marketing messages and send them to him/her.
In the same way, you can label other contacts as well — be it for a guest, existing guest, potential guest, or just a lead.
2.3 Segment contact list
Another feature that seems a little new?
Here’s the real deal.
Once you’re done labeling your leads or guests, you can create dedicated broadcast lists for each label.
Think of it as audience segmentation.
Now that you have different broadcast lists for each type of label, all you need to do is send the right message at the right time.
And guess what? If you have an audience from various parts of the world, you’ll find it cost-effective to connect with them, since WhatsApp doesn’t charge a fee for international communication.
2.4 Schedule messages
There are times when you might not want to stay awake just to send a marketing message to an audience in a different time zone.
This is where scheduling comes into the feature.
You can schedule your messages according to the broadcast list and the time zone they are in, leaving no stone unturned for your WhatsApp marketing efforts.
2.5 Understand customer engagement with statistics
One of my favorite features is the analytics part.
An integrated WhatsApp Business account for hotels allows you to see the analytics reports about your account activity.
You can run real-time monitoring of messaging and spending analytics for your WhatsApp Business account, view the metrics of all conversations, and check graphs to learn how each metric is performing across time.
WhatsApp for hotels is a real deal now. The instant messaging app has become a crucial element for hotel businesses of all shapes and sizes. Numerous accommodation providers from all across the world are already betting big on this sought-after instant messaging app.
And if you want to join the bandwagon and stay competitive in this industry, this is the time to take a call.
I hope the points have given you a clear picture of how WhatsApp can be extremely beneficial for hotel operators. Do let me know in the comments if there’s something else you want me to cover.
Till then, happy hoteliering, pals!!