ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL—For many people, mobile is such a big part of everyday life that they are literally connected at the hip—or, even more so, the fingertip. With the rise of mobile messaging—a reflection of what people do most with their phones—leading the way in how users communicate and engage via smart devices, it is no surprise the technology has taken hold in the hospitality industry and, for the enterprising hotelier, has presented new ways to deliver a positive guest experience.
Now, the digital walls have come down and conversations are typed instead of spoken. Pouring gas on the trend is Infinite Convergence Solutions, based here, delivering next-generation mobile messaging services that enable secure internal communication among employees and external communication with customers and guests.
“Our Enterprise Messaging Service (EMS) platform gives hotels the ability to send mobile messages to their guests in a secure, reliable and cost-effective way. This means hotels can text message their guests with check-in information, what time the breakfast room opens, etc.—and guests can message the front desk if they need extra towels or would like a wake-up call,” said Anurag Lal, president and CEO, Infinite Convergence Solutions. “Our other secure mobile messaging app-based service, NetSfere, is a secure, internal mobile messaging app. That means hotel employees can text message with each other. As an example, the front desk can message housekeeping to bring more towels to a specific room number. This is especially helpful for hotel employees, as many are moving around throughout the day and aren’t always by a landline phone. The major benefits of both are improved communication and an enhanced guest experience.”
Consumer-facing messaging apps such as Facebook or WhatsApp are proliferating in the marketplace, yet these digital platforms are not secure and don’t ensure the privacy of conversations, according to Lal. In the hospitality industry, for mobile messaging to really be effective and seen as a trustworthy method of communication for the hotel and the guest, security is paramount as brand reputation and guest satisfaction are on the line.
“They do not have the device-to-device encryption that our platform boasts to ensure the privacy of conversations. Additionally, our platforms are much more reliable in not only sending out your message, but also ensuring it is transmitted to the correct recipient. Finally, our platform offers center control to IT administrators and follows stringent regulatory and data compliances, all of which Facebook, WhatsApp and similar options do not have,” said Lal.
It’s clear that mobile messaging has redefined how people communicate and, by offering a platform that reaches consumers where they are, hotels can seamlessly offer traditional services and provide a superior guest experience at the same time.
“Consumers are constantly connected to their mobile phones and live within these devices. About 90% of people respond to mobile messages within 15 minutes because it is such a natural interface and extension to them. We’ve conducted studies that found 50% of people would make or confirm travel plans via mobile message, and one in four people would purchase a flight or book a hotel via mobile message,” he explained. “Use cases include sending check-in information, offering sightseeing destinations and fulfilling room requests. What’s more, mobile messaging provides convenience and ease of use. Even when guests are outside of the hotel, they can still send a quick text message to the front desk to get any question or request they have fulfilled.”
For hotel staff, mobile messaging can make employee communication more instant and that can be especially useful when there are urgent requests as delivery speed and timeliness are often critical components of guest satisfaction.
“With this type of platform, management can send broadcast messages to instantly distribute information about schedules, crises or other events to the entire team. Additionally, crew coordination is much easier, as you have the ability to communicate with the exact people responsible for providing exceptional guest experiences,” said Lal. “A major trend that we’re seeing is hotels not just using mobile messaging to communicate with guests, but now many are implementing platforms for their employees to mobile message with each other, as well. We’ve conducted studies that found 44% of employees regularly use mobile messaging throughout the workday. Hotels are now providing their employees with secure, internal, company-approved and enterprise-grade platforms, so that they don’t have to resort to texting with each other over SMS/MMS or consumer-messaging apps, like Facebook or WhatsApp, which are inherently unsecure.”
Lastly, he offers this advice to hoteliers seeking to implement digital messaging platforms to increase efficiencies with their staff or foster engagement with guests: “Hotels should look for a reliable, proven messaging service with a track record of superior performance with other enterprises. Additionally, they should look for platforms with device-to-device encryption, central IT control, low per-user cost, remote management, secure cloud-based storage, fast and easy deployment and rich analytics that give them insight into their guests’ behavior and provide a more accurate gauge of communication success. Scalability is also a key consideration. Any messaging service platform needs to be able to scale to meet the unique needs of various hotels,” he concluded.