By breaking down departmental barriers, embracing unified data management through an all-in-one PMS, and leveraging modern guest engagement tools, hotels position themselves as pioneers in guest-centric service, setting new standards of excellence in the hospitality industry

By Warren Dehan

Thanks to technology, today’s hotel operators are breaking down departmental barriers and adopting a centralized database approach to have a game-changing impact on efficiency. This technology becomes even more transformative when coupled with two-way text messaging between hotel staff and guests. Such digitalization is revolutionizing how hotels manage guest information and communication, and it is leading to a remarkable enhancement in overall guest satisfaction.

Dissolving communication barriers between hotel departments is a key operational goal for many in 2024. Traditionally, hotels have operated in a siloed manner whereby each department focused on its strengths to the detriment of communication and collaboration. Hotel marketing departments focused on selling to guests, while the front desk consumed itself with direct guest interactions. While this strategy was effective in the past, today, this departmental makeup hinders operators’ ability to deliver seamless, personalized experiences.

Boosted by Improved Communication and Messaging

To provide the best possible guest experience, management must commit to more expansive communication channels. Hotels have been effectively gathering data on guest booking decisions, guestroom preferences, and potential angles for upselling. Still, this information is often locked behind gates between departments, often inaccessible between disparate systems that don’t share data. By adjusting a hotel’s back end to reinforce collaboration, hotels can rectify inefficiencies and capitalize on missed opportunities to cater to individual guest preferences.

All in One

A significant and recent step hoteliers have taken to improve on-property communications has been to embrace a centralized database approach to data storage, complemented by guest two-way text messaging. Hotels can reconfigure their data storage strategy to consolidate guest data into a unified PMS platform, giving all departments a clear view of actionable guest information in a manner that can be easily accessed.

Once consolidated, guest data contains all the necessary information to contact travelers using text communication to confirm details of their trip quickly, inform them of changes on the property, or even conduct a conversation about the local area. However, this technology’s greatest potential impact is in providing hotels with additional revenue streams informed by guest data accessed through a centralized system. Text messaging has been transformative in hospitality because hotels can enter each interaction assisted with a full 360-degree view of each guest, including their travel history, preferences, and sentiments about the current hotel–or others.

When operators can access this holistic perspective, they can transcend departmental boundaries to provide more accurate answers or pointedly solve problems to enhance real-time guest engagement. Access to a centralized system allows hotels to market ancillary services or amenities to guests based on accurate preferences, which can be tracked over time. Hotels with access to this data can make nimble marketing decisions and quickly capture guest bookings, F&B reservations, and amenity purchases from any point of contact on property. A centralized system allows hotels to keep guests on property longer while exceeding their expectations at every turn.

Two-way text messaging is also indispensable for managing unexpected incidents as they arise. Two-way communications help hotel staff members stay in direct contact with guests, providing them with up-to-date information on booking adjustments, hotel restaurant reservations, or alerts regarding lost items. Expanding communication this way improves operational efficiency and helps hoteliers provide guests with a higher level of service.

Know More, Say More

The advantages of centralized data and a text-based communications system in hospitality are manifold. First, centralized data facilitates instant access to critical guest details, such as previous stays, dietary preferences, and special requests. Access to this information empowers hotel staff to anticipate guest needs, proactively address issues, and provide personalized services capable of exceeding guest expectations. Furthermore, they can do all of the above while communicating with guests in a way they prefer.

And make no mistake, guests do prefer texting. A Soprano Design study found that 90 percent of people open a text message within three minutes of receiving it, compared to just 20 percent for an email. Additionally, a study from the American Association for Public Opinion Research showed individuals are, on average, much more truthful when answering inquiries over text and that people “are more likely to disclose sensitive information via text messages than in voice interviews.” As a result, interacting with guests over text can help operators learn about a stay, which could potentially impact a guest’s satisfaction or review score but would otherwise go unmentioned across other interactions.

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Real-time data analytics and sentiment analysis are also enabling operators to gauge guest satisfaction levels throughout their stay by leveraging the immediate feedback of text messaging. Staff can promptly intervene to amend the situation if a guest shows signs of dissatisfaction over text communications. Mid-trip interventions have the potential to turn a negative experience into a positive one and are often highly effective at generating beneficial reviews. At the same time, hotels can also seize on positive guest feedback to further enhance their experience during their stay or later, supported by new information on what is creating a positive experience for guests.

Access to these capabilities is made possible by a centralized database of guest information coupled with two-way text messaging. This level of communication between hotels and guests is not just a convenience; it is a strategic necessity. It empowers hotels to create memorable, tailored experiences and fosters guest loyalty through expanded interactions. By breaking down departmental barriers, embracing unified data management, and leveraging modern guest engagement tools, hotels position themselves as pioneers in guest-centric service, setting new standards of excellence in the hospitality industry.