10 ways to leverage SMS / texts to improve guest experience

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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10 ways to leverage SMS / texts to improve guest experience

What’s the one thing your guests have on them at all times before, during, and after their visit? Their smartphones. And SMS marketing allows you to reach them on those very devices.

Also known as guest experience messaging, SMS marketing is the process of sending tailored messages to your guests where they’re already hanging out.

Over 90% of text messages are opened within three minutes of being received, which makes it an ideal channel for instant communication with your customers.

Attractions can use texts to send guests personalized recommendations before their arrival, live updates during their visit, and discounted offers to persuade them to return. 

Guest experience messaging can also be used as a means for customers to instantly communicate with your company. Many hotels are already adopting this. Guests staying at The Breakers, a luxury hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, for example, can text staff to order room service or let them know their TV is broken.

Attractions could similarly leverage messaging for easily answered questions like “Where are you located?” or “What time do you close?”

Let’s take a look at all the ways attractions can use SMS messaging to improve the guest experience.

Why is personalization important for guest experience messaging?

10 ways to leverage SMS to improve guest experience.

Why is personalization important for guest experience messaging?

When a guest gives you their phone number, they’re trusting your company to send them relevant messages. This can include details about their visit, travel recommendations, and special offers.

In other words, they’re expecting every text message to be personalized. Every guest has different expectations and preferences. By harnessing data on their behaviors and previous interactions with your brand, you can begin to anticipate their needs, rather than react to them.

This makes the experience more seamless as a whole. If text messaging eliminates the need for guests to be put on hold when they call to find out your location, that’s already a win for your attraction. If they show up with a well-planned itinerary because you sent them recommendations beforehand, that’s another win.

Here are a few more ways your attraction can use SMS messages:

  • Ask guests if they have any special requests or needs before their visit
  • Provide guests with important information on the day of their visits, such as directions and parking details
  • Allow guests to make restaurant reservations via text
  • Notify guests of event and activity schedules on the day of their visit
  • Ask for guest reviews post-visit
  • Offer guests special offers or discounted deals to encourage a repeat visit

10 ways to leverage SMS to improve guest experience. 

Let’s take a look at all the different ways your company can use text messaging to reach your audience in a more effective, personalized manner.

1. Ask for permission

Always ask for permission before sending your guests marketing-related messages.

You can ask them to opt-in by texting a keyword like “FUN” to a specific number, or if you already have their phone number on file, send them a message asking to reply “YES” if they would like to receive relevant offers from you in the future.

It’s important to ask for permission beforehand so that your guests don’t feel that you’re invading their privacy or bombarding them with irrelevant messages.

When guests specifically opt-in to your SMS messaging, you’ll be sending offers to customers who are actively open to receive them.

2. Always identify yourself

Remember to include your business name or URL to remind guests who are sending the message. Your guests likely have dozens of texts sent to their phones every day, and they may have forgotten about sharing their phone number with your company.

By identifying yourself right away, guests will associate the message with your brand and will know where to use the special discount you’ve just offered them.

Source: Zipwhip

3. Send SMS reminders pre-experience

Send your guests a welcome message as soon as they buy their tickets and let them know they can text you with any questions.

You can also use this welcome message to provide them with information about how to access their tickets, directions to your attraction, and transportation details. Also, ask them if there are any special requests they’d like to make.

The welcome message is also a great time to ask them to opt-in to receiving future SMS messages from you.

Then, you can send reminders of their upcoming visit before they arrive.

You could prompt them to check their email or log into your website to access their tickets or send them a QR code via text. Use this reminder message to also tell them you’re excited to welcome them to your attraction.

Many hotels, as you can see in the example above, send a reminder message with the check-in time so guests know when their rooms will be ready. This helps streamline the check-in process because guests will have their reservation details handy via text.

4. Remind guests to sign their digital waivers

Digital waivers are necessary legal consent forms that every outdoor adventure company should have. These waivers protect your company from any liability issues. Ideally you’d have guests fill their waivers out ahead of time so they can have a more seamless experience when they arrive.

You can accomplish this by sending them a text that links to the digital waiver. The text should prompt them to electronically sign the waiver before their visit.

5. Send updates when guests are arriving

Similar to reminder texts, you can also use SMS messaging to send updates as guests are arriving at your attraction. You can share specific ride queue times, event schedules, or weather information.

An outdoor theme park might send a message like, “Hi Jane! It’s going to be 83° & sunny today. Don’t forget your water bottle! You can refill it at the water stations throughout the park.”

This is a personalized message that directly relates to your guest since it’s based on the day they’re visiting. Guests will appreciate receiving the relevant information that can help them better plan out their visit.

Source: Zingle Inc.

6. Ask for customer feedback

SMS messaging is also a great tool to ask for customer feedback. It can be as simple as texting your guests a message like, “Text 1-5 to rate your experience with us, with 1 meaning poor and 5 meaning excellent.”

Guest reviews help you gain a better understanding of your visitor experience. Both positive and negative reviews are valuable: The latter helps you pinpoint areas of improvement and work on customer satisfaction.

Reviews also act as social proof for your brand. Future visitors will be basing their decisions to purchase a ticket on the reviews they find online. Positive reviews will encourage them to hit the “buy now” button.

7. Send texts that go above and beyond

Personalization is key to going above and beyond in your customer service.

One way to do so is to find out why your guests are visiting your attraction and further tailor their experience to the occasion.

Let’s say your guest is celebrating a birthday at your venue. You can text them a special birthday message and tell them you have a gift waiting for them inside. When your guest checks in, have a staff member hand them a treat.

8. Provide a more inclusive and accessible experience for everyone

Text messages can be especially useful in communicating with guests with hearing disabilities. You can tailor specific messages for deaf people that provide them with everything they need to know about your attraction, including where and how to ask for special assistance.

9. Use SMS as an alternative means of communication in case cell reception is poor

If cell reception is poor at your venue, you can always use SMS messaging as a way to communicate important information with guests. Whether it’s an emergency notification or an event schedule update, a text message will reach your guests wherever they are.

Source: Text Talk

10. Make it feel exclusive

You can make your SMS messages feel ultra-exclusive by using language that makes your guests feel special.

For example, you can send newly enrolled customers a “new members only” offer. Meanwhile, you can also send long-standing customers a “customer loyalty discount” thanking them for their business.

ZooTampa keeps subscribers engaged throughout their membership cycle via text reminders like the one shown above, which prompts them to renew with a special discount.

These offers are more enticing since they’ll feel exclusively tailored to the guest receiving them.

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There you have it: 10 unique ways to leverage SMS messaging to improve your guest experience.

Your guests today are expecting nothing less than an exceptional guest experience from start to finish, and personalization plays a key role in providing them with one.

This is the time for your attraction to begin exploring the benefits of SMS marketing if you haven’t done so already.

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Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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