Your staff is well-trained in servicing guests in person, by phone, and by email, but guest messaging is a new way of communicating that requires a different approach. While employees are used to messaging with friends and family, the rules are different within a business environment.
In the absence of visual and vocal clues, and especially if employees are rushed or distracted, they risk confusing or even angering the guest. To communicate clearly and avoid misunderstandings, staff must choose their words carefully and follow proper guest messaging etiquette.
Let’s look at this example of a text exchange between a hotel employee and a guest. How well do you think the employee handled the request? If you were the guest, how would you feel?
The employee’s blunt style of communication (“Who is this?”), the delay in responding, the typo, and the use of emojis all come across as unprofessional. The employee does not seem to take the guest’s concerns seriously. In the end, the guest must call the front desk—wasting the guest’s time and likely leaving them feeling frustrated.
Tips for Guest Messaging Excellence
How can hotels avoid misunderstandings and create positive impressions when messaging with guests? Here are six tips.
1. Reply promptly. People expect quick replies via text message and chat. Assign an employee to monitor these channels closely, and program automated replies to advise guests of estimated wait times when staff is tied up.
2. Introduce yourself. If you’re messaging a guest for the first time, include your name and department. If you receive a message and don’t know who it’s from, don’t say “Who is this?”, instead say, “May I confirm your name and room number?”
3. Be clear and concise. Keep in mind that people are often on the go when messaging and might be multi-tasking. Keep your messages short and to the point, but not so brief that you come across as rude or abrupt. Always remember the pleases and thank you’s.
4. Be professional. Guest messaging is different from texting with friends. Avoid abbreviations, jargon, and emojis which may confuse or be misinterpreted. When in doubt, type it out. Be conversational, not casual or formal. Always check for typos before sending.
5. Be alert. Be attentive to the guests around you. They won’t know that you’re texting with a guest, not a friend.
6. Handle complex interactions offline. If the guest is confused or angry, offer to call them directly to avoid making the situation worse.
With these guidelines in mind, read this second example pictured here. This time the employee’s messaging is prompt, personalized, and professional. The guest is left with a much more positive impression and a great level of service.