Hey WhatsApp… can I have two beer and a coke?
Our colleague David Maartense blogs about using WhatsApp for business purposes in the hospitality industry, which doesn’t happen often. Think for example about making last minute reservations through WhatsApp or sending pictures.
National Social Media Research 2016 of Newcom shows that WhatsApp currently is the biggest social media platform of the Netherlands. A number of 9.8 million of the Dutch people uses WhatsApp, 7.0 million of them are using it on a daily basis.
What makes this app popular and how can the hospitality industry benefit from it? First: is it a free service, spending money on text messages is history. Secondly: it is on every smartphone that you buy nowadays. And thirdly: everyone uses WhatsApp and the so called ‘group apps’ are fun!
Despite the popularity of WhatsApp, it is not in the social media package of most companies. They rather use Twitter and Facebook. Upcoming social media such as YouTube for video content, LinkedIn for business purposes and Instagram for pictures remain the most popular. WhatsApp is staying behind for now but that is about to change.
Big companies like KLM, ING and Interpolis started using WhatsApp in 2015 for web care purposes. It’s an approachable service and for the costumer benefits from the fact that the texts can’t be read in public. Companies take advantage by adding a personal touch to the relationship with their costumer. Is this also possible in the hospitality industry?
Internal memos are already replaced by ‘group WhatsApp’ for the staff. The latest updates are often shared in these groups. Besides that the service offers more benefits. The guest can send a last-minute app with their reservation at 19.00 o’clock. The restaurant won’t be disturbed by incoming phone calls while serving their guests. Replying to emails often takes longer than replying to a short message on WhatsApp.
Hey Whatsapp… we have been waiting quite some time now!
It is very likely that soon there will be a system that your guests can use for making reservations through WhatsApp. And also being able to make orders with it or even pay with it eventually. These technics do already exist and the step to introducing the service does not seem very big anymore. In the meantime: without these technical developments you could always add a small joke to you terrace menu: send us a WhatsApp if you think it takes too long! Perhaps also send your order ;-).