Chances are you’re just a few days away from an amazing summer vacation. One of the perks of a vacation is staying a hotel that caters to all of our needs. You may be in for a new experience depending on where you stay from now on – hotels are now communicating with guests through texting.
Zingle is one of just many programs that hotels have started using, which allows guests to text message their requests rather than having to pick up the phone. The “How it Works,” page on the Zingle website shows that a hotel guest can easily send a text message requesting something.
The advertised perks for businesses to use Zingle are that “Texting provides a running record of every conversation that takes place between two parties,” and “Texting is easier for businesses because it eliminates verbal communication mistakes.”
Hotels will also be able to analyze data and view that particular client’s conversation history. Basically it sounds pretty great, and almost completely impossible for guests to leave the hotel unsatisfied.
However, it should be pretty easy to see the downsides as well. Can anything really replace that human connection? Can a text message provide hospitality? Can a text message replace the quirky personality that the concierge has or the bell hop’s sense of humor?
Hotel Chatter discusses hotels and texting and whether this is truly better customer service or not – making the point that usually better customer service goes hand-in-hand with more guest interaction, not less. Another great point is made, is sending a text to make restaurant reservation really that much easier than picking up the phone? While some may be okay with the decreased human interaction, others will not be too thrilled, especially those who are not so technically savvy.
USA Today reported the experiences of various hotels that have adopted texting as way of communicating with their guests. For example general manager, Tony Phillips, of the Loews Vanderbilt Nashville told USA Today that the amount of requests has gone up, possibly showing that guests feel more comfortable to ask for what they need because they are able to send a message rather than having to pick up the phone and ask. Perhaps it almost feels like we aren’t inconveniencing anyone because we don’t have to talk to them. Phillips also stated that employees have 2 minutes to respond to a text, if the text has not been responded to in that time a manager then gets involved in order to guarantee fast service.
This method of communication is debatable, of course. There will always be those who prefer the sound of a voice over the phone rather than a text but perhaps this is something that we should anticipate seeing more and more.