If you run a hotel, you’re familiar with this scenario already - your guests show up to get their room cards or keys, sighing in frustration as they tell you about their luggage having been misplaced at the airport.
Here are some strategies you can implement using SMS to deliver timely notifications to them when their lost luggage arrives.
Getting the Guest’s Phone Number
You probably have many of your guests’ contact numbers in your hotel database or CRM. Regardless of that, you want to avoid using their number for the purpose of text message alerts without their agreement. There are multiple ways to go about phrasing such a question:
- Would you like to receive a text message alert on this number when your lost luggage arrives?
- Is there a specific number you’d like to receive lost luggage text message alerts on?
- Could you leave your phone number and details in this form so we can contact you when your lost luggage has been found?
If you go with the third option, the form would also clearly state text message alerts would be sent to the number the guest provides, asking for their consent to this. Once you have that, it’s time for the next step.
When & What to Send
There are 4 main touch points for lost luggage:
- Found at the airport
- En route to hotel
- At the reception desk
- Being delivered to guests
The safest time to send out an SMS alert would be when the lost luggage is delivered to the reception of your hotel. Even if the airport might have notified you it’s en route, you can never predict exactly when it will get there and whether or not it’s even the right luggage.
However, some of your guests might specifically request to be informed the moment the airport calls to inform you they’ve found it - for their peace of mind or a host of other reasons. Others may want a series of notifications, one for each touch point. In either case, here’s how to tackle all of those.
Dear guest, your lost luggage has been found at the airport. ETA to the hotel is 30 minutes. You will receive a text message once it arrives.
With this, you’re putting your guests at ease, as they know their luggage has been found - plus you’re telling them they’ll be promptly informed once it arrives, so they don’t have to keep checking at the reception desk in case of any delay in the ETA.
Dear guest, your lost luggage is en route towards the hotel. ETA is 20 minutes. You will receive a text message once it arrives to the reception desk.
This way, they know the airport has sent their luggage and this serves as a way of tracking it, which reassures the guests and eliminates any anxiety over whether or not it’s been forgotten or misplaced again.
Dear guest, your lost luggage is waiting for you at the reception desk.
The guests now know they can pick up their lost luggage whenever they find it convenient. Scheduling text message alerts is also a very neat option, as your guests might have certain periods of time when they don’t want to be disturbed. You can set it up in your system that certain numbers only receive messages between, say, 8 AM and 9 PM.
Even if your employees marked the luggage as ‘arrived’ and issued the message to be sent at 10 PM, it would not be delivered until 8 AM the following morning. This is neat because the automation also avoids your employees having to wait until 8 AM to actually send.
Dear guest, your luggage is en route towards your room.
In many cases, your guests might want to have their lost luggage delivered to their rooms rather than having to get to the reception desk to pick it up on their own. Of course, for you to get to this point, you’d have to find a way to ask for their preference again - which brings us to step 3 and the easiest way to do just that.
Interactive Lost Luggage Text Message Alert Examples
If your guests want the luggage to be delivered to their rooms from the reception desk, you can give them that option by allowing them to respond to either of the alerts at the first 3 touch points with a specified keyword for stating their preferences. For example:
Dear guest, your luggage is waiting for you at the reception desk. Reply with ROOM for room delivery. Reply with LATER to get another reminder in 2 hours.
If the guest replies with ROOM, you have a template already prepared in your system for a reply:
Dear guest, your luggage is on route to your room and will be delivered within 10 minutes.
In case they replied with ‘LATER’, you send them the original message in the reminder they requested, making sure to repeat both options / keywords for them again.
All in all, text messages are a simple, yet effective tool for hotel managers to use in order to make the process of dealing with lost luggage more user-friendly and smooth for all parties involved.