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The Traveler’s Journey Starts Right After Booking

When considering the guest experience, the importance of pre-arrival engagement is often overlooked. However, a crucial part of each guest’s journey happens before they ever set foot on your property. And with the right application, you can capitalize on this significant touchpoint. The pre-arrival period gives hotel operators a golden opportunity to engage with guests via personalized messages, reminders, push notifications and chat, allowing you to customize their experience, improve guest satisfaction and boost ancillary revenues at the same time.

Make the most of your welcome message

Your first pre-arrival opportunity to connect with guests is when you confirm their booking with a welcome message. Research shows that welcome emails have a 91.43 percent open rate, and read rates are 42 percent higher than an average email.

This makes it the best time to share essential travel information, educate new customers about your brand and invite them to join your loyalty program – or recognize them as repeat guests. Now is also the time to ask if they have any special requests and find out what their preferred method of communication is. Many guests prefer text messaging over emails, with 78 percent of U.S. consumers saying that a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important updates. Plus, 82 percent of text messages are read within five minutes, helping you build a strong customer relationship by delivering the right information at the right time.

The right app facilitates customized messaging

Three out of four travelers say that they appreciate when hotels and resorts customize messages. An effective hotel app integrates with your property management system (PMS), allowing you to access data from robust customer profiles that include guest demographics and preferences for more personalized pre-stay interactions. For instance, through push notifications you can recommend relevant events and excursions that may appeal to certain guests, with the ability to book directly with a tap of their smartphone. Or maybe you have a repeat guest who previously requested additional pillows and coffee upon arrival. You can make them feel special by sending a message to let them know that these items will be ready and waiting for them when they arrive.

Upsell options benefit guests and your bottom line

Handled the right way, upselling your special or value-added services will enhance each guest’s experience and open up ancillary revenue streams in the process, with 98 percent of upsell revenue made through pre-arrival messages. Two to four days before arrival is a great time to promote room upgrades and advanced parking, as well as dinner, golf or spa appointments. Using an application is effective here as well, since more than half of U.S. leisure travelers prefer to use an app to add extras to their bookings while on-the-go. Personalization matters in your upsell messages, too. For instance, if you know that a particular guest has booked a manicure in the past, sending a promotion via guest messaging or push notification for a mani-pedi is more likely to garner a positive response than a promotion that isn’t as relevant to their interests.

Touch base the day before check-in

The day before arrival, send your guest a friendly welcome message that includes an easy way for them to contact the front desk or concierge. Guests will see that you’re ready for their arrival and eager to serve them. You can also remind them of upcoming on-property events and complimentary services, such as an airport shuttle and mobile check-in. With studies showing that even a five-minute wait at the front desk during check-in reduces guest satisfaction by as much as 50 percent, guests will appreciate knowing that they’ll have the convenience of an expedited and hassle-free process.

The pre-arrival experience is an essential touchpoint in the customer journey, with pre-arrival messages delivering the highest open and conversion rates. The right application allows for real-time responses to questions and personalized interactions that set the stage for an overall positive guest experience and increased revenue opportunities.

Want to learn more about how you can increase guest satisfaction and boost revenue through pre-arrival engagement?

[1] “How Effective Are Welcome Emails? [Infographic].” Campaign Monitor, [2] “Transactional Messaging Consumer Report.” Vibes, 22 Apr. 2018, [3] “Flowroute Survey FINDS Consumers Overwhelmingly Prefer SMS to Email and Voice for Business Interactions.” Survey Finds Consumers Overwhelmingly Prefer SMS | SIP Trunking, Voice, and Messaging, 12 Dec. 2016, [4] Dehler, Nicole. “Today's Guests Have an Appetite for Mobile and They're Willing to Pay for It.” Hospitality Net, 19 Sept. 2019, [5] Menze, Jill. “The Hotel Email Marketing Trends That Can Help Boost ROI.” PhocusWire, 26 Oct. 2018, [6] Christoff, Janeen. “Travelers Increasingly Rely on Mobile Apps When Traveling.” TravelPulse, 14 Nov. 2018, [7] Pingitore, Gina, et al. “Lost in Translation: Cross-Country Differences in Hotel Guest Satisfaction.” Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, Sept. 2013, sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

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