GDPR for hotels – SMS marketing compliant with regulations

25.02.2020 Michał Kuliś, Content Marketer for SMSAPI
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GDPR for hotels explained by expert

Szymon Cyrzyk
Szymon Cyrzyk –
Junior Marketing Assistant

Today we asked Michał Kuliś – Content Marketer in SMSAPI, to share some helpful tools that can automate SMS communication with your guests and make it compliant with GDPR for hotels. 🙂

Discover more about KWHotel and SMSAPI synchronization >>>

In this article, Michał will answer the following questions:

  • How to collect phone numbers?
  • What tool will help you manage your SMS newsletter?
  • How to take advantage of the virtual mobile numbers?
  • Why is the opt-out system so important with the GDPR for hotels?

SMS marketing compliant with GDPR for hotels

Michal Kuliś
Michał Kuliś –
Content Marketer

SMS communication with guests brings phenomenal results, both in terms of sales and image. Hotels and resorts use text messages to send room codes, information on local attractions, discount coupons to restaurants or spa zones, and booking confirmations. Sending such SMS messages (but not all) involves obtaining consent from the recipient.

GDPR for hotels - SMS message with the following content: Weekend retreat with a MOUNTAIN VIEW? Or maybe a whole-Holiday stay? Save up to PLN 700 by making a reservation directly on
Sample message to your guests

When considering text messages in terms of GDPR requirements, they should be divided into two categories: sales and system. The former is associated with the promotional activities and hotel services related to them. It can be a notification regarding hotel availability, location, special offer or discount code. Sending this type of content requires obtaining consent for marketing communications.

How to collect guest numbers in compliance with GDPR for hotels?

The best way to collect relevant permits is to include them in the registration form. Consent must be active, meaning it has to be a clearly marked and conscious decision from the customer. It is a common practice to place a checkbox in the registration form. Such a method will be even more effective if it informs in advance what to expect in your text messages. We should definitely describe how often SMSes will be sent, their content and how to unsubscribe from the newsletter.

SMS Newsletter

Another way (also applicable outside your hotel website) is to use our specially prepared widget. The SMS Newsletter is a form that allows companies to easily obtain contact details along with the required consents for communication. The information goes directly to the contact database, so it can be used immediately for texting. The code needed to launch the widget is in the SMSAPI Customer Panel. There, you can also freely customize its appearance and the fields and data it will collect.

GDPR for hotels - a client receives SMS messages regardless of his network connection's stability
A client receives SMS messages regardless of his network connection’s stability

Virtual mobile numbers

An even simpler solution is to use a two-way SMS communication. A virtual mobile number will allow guests to subscribe to your contacts list via SMS. When subscribed, our system will automatically add a number to the database. This way of subscription should be noted in your privacy policy. Sending SMS reply to such number does not involve any additional fees – regular operator fees apply. 

There are two types of virtual mobile numbers: long code and short code. They differ in length, price and application. The first is a standard, 9-digit number, which works great whenever the recipient has a moment to read and enter a long string of numbers. The short code consists of 4 or 5 digits which is why it is perfectly suited for radio, television or outdoor advertising.

Why is the opt-out system so important?

When a new number is added to the contact database (regardless of the way it got there), it is worth sending a welcome message. This is in line with the rules of GDPR for hotels, as this message acts as confirmation that the subscription was successful. Secondly, it is a good opportunity to interact with the customer and, most importantly, it should contain an opt-out link.

The "Exit" sign referring to the opt-out system, useful with the GDPR fr hotels.
Clearly highlight the option to unsubscribe from the contact database

The opt-out link allows a guest to unsubscribe from your contacts database. In this simple way, the guest can prevent the sending of subsequent messages. When speaking of the GDPR for hotels, this is extremely important because it enables quick and easy modification of communication preferences without involving your staff. To accommodate the needs of SMSAPI customers, we have created our own opt-out system. It is fully integrated with the Customer Panel.

Learn more about the Opt-out SMS tool >>>

The most important advantage of the opt-out system is cost reduction as you are no longer sending messages to customers who are disinterested in your offer. Such automation saves time of both employees and brand’s clients.

Discover the difference between sales and transactional SMS messages

There are two main categories of Business SMS communication. The difference comes down to the purpose the messages are sent for. When sending SMSes with offers, it is required to obtain the informed consent of the guest, adequate to the rules of the GDPR for hotels.

SMS communication compliant with the GDPR for hotels - division into sales and transactional SMS messages, including examples.
Division into sales and transactional SMS messages

It is different in the case of messages regarding the accommodation itself, payments and other matters related to processing reservations. They are a part of your service, therefore do not require approval for marketing communications. However, you should make a note of such SMS messages in your company’s privacy policy.

Automated transactional SMS messages are an important part of customer service. They allow you to speed up communication and eliminate an unreliable human factor. Immediate sending is a desirable feature, especially for information that is important to guests, such as delays, security alerts, and payment confirmations. SMS notifications are a standard that works regardless of the scale of your business.

The growing interest in integrating SMSAPI in the hotel industry

Mariusz Luzar -KWHotel
Mariusz Luzar –
Marketing Manager for KWHotel

We currently have more than several dozen KWHotel integrations with SMSAPI, and their number is steadily growing. This is not surprising – the pursuit of automation is becoming one of the leading trends in the hotel industry, and effective communication with the guest is the foundation of every successful property.
Complete the form>> to receive a detailed instruction on how to integrate KWHotel with SMSAPI!

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