How a Pandemic World Accelerated the Growth of Guest Messaging

Contactless communication grew out of COVID-19 restrictions—now it's here to stay



February 4, 2022

Digital messaging has increased by 50 percent since the pandemic started. Three-quarters of consumers expect “now” service within five minutes of making contact online. New technologies are accelerating across industries. It seems that now more than ever, the world is embracing guest messaging in hospitality—and won’t be turning back.

The pandemic has accelerated new technologies 

Even before COVID-19 turned the world upside down, hotels across the globe were considering using guest messaging to increase staff efficiency and connect personally with guests on their chosen channels. In fact, 44% of hotel executives surveyed by Statista in 2020 said they were considering using digital messaging services to handle guest requests, while 28% were already utilizing them.

Now, in an increasingly digitized world where 87% of the world’s smartphone population send and receive chat messages, it may become the only way to reach guests. 

That may be part of the reason why a study by Skift & Oracle Hospitality found that 75% of hotels say the pandemic accelerated their adoption of new tech, such as digital messaging and contactless check-in. Or perhaps it’s because of a Facebook study that found 64% of people prefer to message, rather than call, a business.

Whatever the reasoning, one thing is clear: digital messaging is the way to reach guests, and hotels across the globe are adapting.

Customer expectations

Another aspect of the hospitality and travel industry that’s been forever changed by the pandemic is customer expectations. The Skift & Oracle study found that 68 percent of travelers expected “self service and contactless check-in options” as a key feature for future hotel stays—that’s a lot of people that don’t want to have to go to the front desk.

Contactless check-in and booking is also safer in a world where social distancing is still key. Not only is it more efficient for both parties, but it can minimize contact for both as well. 

Guests traveling post-lockdown are also looking for personalized, immediate, convenient experiences. Phones can be unlocked with Face ID, apartments can be accessed via touchscreen—why not the same level of convenience in hospitality? 

Top digital messaging platforms can help deliver high-touch experiences from one platform, collect data on guests to craft more personalized experiences, and help increase bookings. Utilizing digital messaging in hospitality and having an online presence is key when 60% percent of bookings happen online, with 97% of guests considering online reviews and ratings before booking.

Efficiency for understaffed industries 

In addition to helping adapt to new technologies and stay COVID-safe, digital messaging just plain saves time. Hospitality teams can streamline the front desk by answering questions with the click of a button, send infographics to one guest or many at a time, and keep a history on returning guests. 

COVID-19 also affected booking ahead—in March 2020, 61% of all bookings globally were made within seven days of travel, with over half of those bookings occuring on the same day as check-in. This makes it increasingly hard to plan ahead and create staffing schedules that will be adequate for the amount of people staying at a property. 

With digital messaging augmenting teams, efficiency is heightened and guests are getting the attention they need, where they’re at. Instead of fielding calls and leaving people on hold, guest messaging allows hotel teams to reach guests on channels they're already using: Globally, WhatsApp has 2 billion users and Facebook has 2.9 billion — plus, customers actually read texts, as opposed to emails. 

To learn more about guest messaging as a global solution, visit the Kipsu Hospitality page or schedule a conversation today.

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