Using WhatsApp to manage your Hotel Operations? - The MessageBox Solution Part I

pubslished on
June 6, 2021
Alternative Tech

WhatsApp me is the new slang for message me. WhatsApp! What an App. Over 2 Billion Users.

The most prolific communication tool that man has ever invented. The statistics is confounding. The most popular app in over 100+ countries. 69% of internet users use WhatsApp (other than China). Available in 180 countries and 60 languages. It has been downloaded more than 5 billion times in Android and iOS. These metrics are a dream for any tech founder. In short, its nothing short of HUGE.

It rules the space for personal messaging. It influences elections in many countries. WhatsApp groups are how people keep in touch, no matter in which part of the world. Everyone is part of some friend groups, relatives groups, school groups, college groups, alumni groups and every other type of group that links its members in some way.

MessageBox-Whatsapp Integration

Whatsapp and Guest Request Management

Whatsapp: a pure C2C application.

MessageBox: a pure B2B application.

Imagine your surprise if I told that the biggest competition to MessageBox is... WhatsApp?!

For that matter it is a competition to any request management application in hospitality or any other vertical where there is no corporate mandated tool for intra company communication.

The only exception is geographies where WhatsApp is not the most popular tool. So, for example, in Thailand it is LINE chat. So, depending on which geography you are coming from, request management tools have to fight off the dominant C2C communication tool of that geography.

“Imagine your surprise if I told that the biggest competition to MessageBox is... WhatsApp?!”
MessageBox VS Whatsapp

When we created MessageBox, we had no inkling that we would be fighting the most prolific app in the market. And worse, our messaging features and quality would be compared to WhatsApp. Those are some big shoes to fill.

Why WhatsApp rules the Business Messaging Market?

Some of the reasons why WhatsApp is highly prevalent in Corporates is:

  1. Familiarity:
    I use this all the time. All my colleagues have it. All my customers have it. All my suppliers have it. My company does not have its own tool. Its great. So why not!

  2. It's Free:
    Corporates does not need to spend a dime for this. Employees can use their own devices. BYOD by default.

  3. It's Simple:
    It's so easy to use.

  4. Single Tool:
    I need only ONE tool to manage ALL my communication.

How did WhatsApp become a Guest Request Management Tool for Businesses?

All the above factors has led to WhatsApp becoming very sticky for all corporate communication. However, this caused another problem: Inertia to move out!

When WhatsApp is so embedded in all communication, hoteliers improvised. Why not use it for guest services around the hotel?

Sending a message – “Hey X, go and deliver the pillow to Room 102” is also a task. X replies to that message (using the ubiquitous “Reply to”) feature – “It is done”. Voila, you have a request management application.

This practice is become so common place that when a solution like MessageBox is introduced, there is friction to adopt and utilize fully, as users are comfortable with WhatsApp or LINE Chat. Users are weary of request management solutions due to the transparency that it brings in to daily operations. It is difficult to hide issues, defects and other issues relating to low service quality.

However, since everyone is addicted to the application, request management tools and hotel operations platforms take a back seat. Cost and convenience override any decisions on moving out of WhatsApp. The resistance to new request management tools accordingly becomes very significant from the staff.

The Takeaways

As a hotelier, if you are really interested in the best for your hotel in the long term, intangibles like effective request management go a long way in delighting the guest – directly and indirectly. With the current WhatsApp method of guest service management, the reason a hotelier does not feel the harmful impact is because the impact is also intangible and not direct.

How can you fix something when you don't know what it is that is broken? This is the hidden dilemma that hoteliers are facing today.

How did MessageBox tackle this seemingly impossible task?

Read part two of this blog HERE.