Guest Texting Overview

Guest Texting (Cloud | Video)


This article refers to the Cloud version. For the Desktop version, click HERE.

Feature Overview

Feature Availability

Guest texting is available in the Visual Matrix Desktop and Cloud version.
However, the most advanced features that are Custom Responses and Automatic Triggers are only available on the Cloud version.

Cost of the Feature

There is NO charge from Visual Matrix to activate or use Guest Texting.
All a hotel has to do is sign up with a Twilio SMS account. 
Twilio may have a small fee to use their service, but it's minimal. For US and Canadian hotels Twilio does charge less than one cent per text.
For more information: https://www.twilio.com/sms.

Activating the Feature

Open an account with Twilio

To open an account, go to https://www.twilio.com/

Contact Visual Matrix Product Support

Once done, contact our Product Support to set up the account in Visual Matrix.
Open a ticket through our portal at help.vmpms.com.

Setups

Everything will be set up during the activation process with the Support Department.
However, if you want to customize the texts messages, you still can.

SMS Communication Options

Go to Management > Interfaces > SMS Communication
At the top, you will see 3 check-boxes and one button:
- Allow Guest Text Requests: if you uncheck this box, the guest will only receive texts messages, but will not be able to do any request.
- Opt-In Automatically: If checked, every reservation coming through a 2way (BW, Siteminder, SynXis, Innlink, Channel Management, ...) will automatically be opt-in for texting.
- Send Employee Texts Through Twilio: If checked, notifications set up in the user profile (Housekeeping, Maintenance, or Management) will now be sent through Twilio (more reliable for the cost of the text).
- Enable Future Reservations: if you click on the button, every current and future reservation will have the Text Message feature enabled.
This should be used only once. If someone has opted out of the feature and the button is pushed again, the client will be opt-in again...



Customize Texts Messages

Go to Management > Interfaces > SMS Communication
You can choose to send or not send the following:
- Arrival reminder
- Welcome Text
- Room Ready Text
- CheckOut Text

You can also modify the messages that are sent. Make sure you save at the top after any modification.



Manage Custom Response

Once you are in Management > Interfaces > SMS Communication, go to the Toolbox on the right and click on Manage Custom Response.
There are 2 tabs: Custom Response and Automated Triggers.

Custom Response: this will let you create templates to use to respond to guests requests
You can create multiples requests that the hotel could choose between to send back to the guest.
You can also include some links in those messages, like a webpage.
After clicking Add New, do not forget to Save it.




Automated Triggers: useful in that any specific verbiage used can trigger a specific action or message
- Triggers: enter the words that you wish will trigger an action
- Match: choose between All, Any, 2 or more
- Open Work Order: check the box if you wish one or all of those words will open a work order.
The work order will be created as the same start and end date, which will not put the room Out of Order
- Maint Item: This has to be filled if the previous box was checked. It is the category of the Work Order 
- Open GuestTextRequest: check the box if you want someone at the hotel to get notified of the message
- Custom Response: This will show you the list of customs responses you created in the previous tab, you can choose to use one of them to answer the guest's text
Do not forget to Save once done.


Using the Feature

Activate the Feature in the Reservation

On the reservation next to the phone number there is a check box for text alerts. If this box is checked the guest will receive alerts.
Hotels should ask guests as they speak with them or make reservations and ask if they would like to be activated for text messages. 
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other regulations require you to ask the guest for permission before just sending them text information.
Hotels may also want to confirm the phone number on the reservation can receive text messages. 




Send a Text Reminder Before Arrival

This feature is to send an arrival reminder to any guests that have a phone number and the Text Message feature checked.
Go to Front Office > Supervisor > Send Reminder.
By default, the date will be the current audit date, but you can choose any date in the future. Click Send Reminder.
This will send a reminder for any arrivals for that chosen day.



The Customer Experience from Room Available to Check-Out

The customer has elected to receive text alerts. The box has been checked in the reservation:
- When a vacant & cleanroom is assigned to the reservation the guest will be sent an alert advising their room is ready. If you assign a dirty room, no alert is sent until the room is cleaned.
- Once the guest checks in, they will receive a welcome alert. It explains that if they need anything during their stay they can just reply to this text. This message can be personalized.
- When a guest needs something (like extra towels), they can send a text message as a reply to the welcome text they received. This will send a text message to each user in the On-Call section set to receive Guest Text Requests.
- The guest in the room will receive a message that says their request has been received.
- The text goes to the user(s) and the request gets created in Front Office > Supervisor > Text Alerts.
- This has the same functionality as Special Requests. You can see the request here and you complete the request here.
- Once the request is completed here it sends a text to the guest stating the request has been marked completed.
- When the guest checks out, they will receive a Thank you for staying message.

Guests will also receive an opt-out alert as well in case they do not want to receive text messages. They can opt-out which unchecks text messages from their reservation.

Pre-Setup Automatic Responses

If two rooms share the same phone number and the guest sends a request, they will be asked which room has the request.
If the guest enters a room number that does not have the phone number they are texting from they will receive a message along the lines of “a reservation cannot be found with this number, please contact the front desk”.
If a guest sends a text message prior to check-in or after check out they will receive a message to call the hotel.
Messaging only works from the guest while they are checked in.

Follow-up of the Requests

When a request is sent and the on-call person is notified, you can find the message in two different places.

From the Supervisor Section of Front Office

Go to Front Office > Supervisor > Guest Texts


From the Reservation itself

Open the reservation and go to the Special Requests on the right-side icons.
There will be a second tab for the Guest Text Requests.



Watch the Webinar about the Text Guesting Feature



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