As hospitality businesses work to recover from a global pandemic that drastically affected travel behaviors, hotel and campground owners need a software solution that supports their post-pandemic recovery by enabling effective integrated marketing communications with guests.
Look for a property management system (PMS) with the following tools to help you communicate re-opening dates, COVID-19 precautions, protocols and policy updates, and upcoming promotions at your property.
1. Email Marketing
An email marketing module allows you to create custom email campaigns, filter guest records in order to create targeted recipient groups, and schedule future emails or send them right away. An integral part of email marketing is your ability to access reporting to gauge the success of your campaigns. This reporting should include open and click-through rates, hard and soft bounces and unsubscribe data.
Email Marketing Best Practices
- Create an eye-catching subject line that entices your viewer to keep reading.
- Include a “call-to-action” link for your reader to click and further engage with your campaign (e.g. BOOK NOW or LEARN MORE)
- Include the option to unsubscribe from future communications.
- Send test campaigns to your own email address to ensure a clean layout, effective message and working links.
- Send your campaigns on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays at 10:00 am local time for maximum views and clicks.
2. Message Center
The ideal communication hub is a centralized messaging center that lives inside of your PMS system and allows for efficient communication. From within this message center, you should be able to communicate with current and future guests via email, SMS messaging and chat.
Email: Your business likely retains hundreds or thousands of email addresses from past guests, or those who have signed up for your marketing communications, so it is important for your PMS to support email communication tools.
SMS Messaging: Some communications, such as a safety alert, are just too urgent to send via email. Your PMS system must allow you to reach guests on their phones in case of important alerts. Using a PMS with a message center enables you to send SMS messages that will instantly reach guests in case of last-minute updates to check-in protocol or emergency situations.
Chat: You should be able to exchange real-time messages with guests who need assistance. Using a PMS with a chat feature enhances your accessibility to guests and expedites communication while providing an alternative to SMS and email messaging. Travelers also greatly appreciate having the option to use this tool and offering it will increase guest satisfaction.
3. Automated Correspondence
Using a PMS with automated correspondence saves you time and money by enabling you to send messaging at a pre-designated time. Automated correspondence is the key to efficient communication when it comes to sending confirmation, check-in, check-out, and receipt messages to your guests. Your PMS should enable you to create these messages as customizable templates that go out automatically during various stages of the guest lifecycle. In turn, you and your staff are freed up to tend to other business needs.
4. Guest Portal
Your PMS provider should offer one final tool to enhance your guest communication: a guest portal. Your PMS should have a “Contact Us” tool in the guest portal for visitors to click on and send a message while they’re viewing their stay details. On your end, the message will appear in the message center, and your two-way conversation will then be stored under the guest's reservation record for future reference. In addition to being an efficient communication tool, the guest portal can allow guests to independently view and print receipts, sign documents, and provide your property with any additional desired information.