Luxury hospitality company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts wants to chat with its guests — via their smartphones.
The Toronto-based chain has introduced the Four Seasons Chat, which lets guests send and receive instant messages with hotel employees before, during and even after their stay.
Guests can send the messages through the Four Seasons mobile app, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, or SMS.
Luxury hotel companies have been slower to adopt texting technology because they pride themselves on face-to-face customer service. But recently, they have been more willing to adapt. Still, the companies say they will continue to provide personalized service while offering the option of a more streamlined method of communication.
“Four Seasons Chat ensures guests have access to our people at any time, for any need,” says Christian Clerc, president of worldwide operations for Four Seasons.
A number of other luxury hotel companies have adopted texting as a form of connecting with their guests.
For instance, Loews Hotels has “Chat Your Service,” which allows guests to request anything from more clothing hangers to a wake-up calls through text messages. The Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria resort in Phoenix, also lets guests text them any questions or requests with near immediate responses.
Marriott International, now the largest hotel company in the works, has a Mobile Request option on its app.
Some companies, such as Zingle, have sprung up precisely to help hospitality companies figure out how to incorporate texting into their roster of services.
“Texting has proved to a the perfect merger of human interaction and technology in today’s mobile first economy,” says Zingle CEO Ford Blakely.
The Four Seasons Chat will be available in more than 100 languages in real time. The company promises responses within minutes.
Four Seasons did a pilot program of the chat service in 30 hotels and found that half the guests used it at some point. In fact, they averaged more than six chats during a stay.
Four Seasons Chat will be available at 72 hotels and 19 residences by the end of this year. By next year, guests at all 106 hotels will be able to use it.
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