What started more than 50 years ago with a sailing school (including boat rentals) has expanded years later to a growing Holiday Park and sailing school. The perfect place for water sports and nature lovers.
Personal contact with guests is one of the keys to Pean’s success. In fact, a large part of their annual bookings are made by their regular clientele. Reason enough for us to talk to Rienk de Jonge, co-owner of Pean, about how they communicate personally with their target group and guests and how they get and keep them “on board”.
As mentioned above, Pean values personal communication with (potential) guests, but how do you address this in a growing organization? To make the customer experience as personal as possible, Pean added WhatsApp to their communication channels. What they noticed right away was that conversations via WhatsApp were completely different from what they were used to via emails and phone calls. Things were much more personal. According to Pean, this can be explained by the fact that WhatsApp already is a channel that their guests use (on a daily basis) to stay in touch with friends and family. “If, as a vacation park, you make sure that you also can be reached by WhatsApp, you communicate on the same friendly level. That’s a bit different from a traditional business-to-customer relationship,” De Jonge says.
After seeing the added value of using WhatsApp, Pean wanted to use WhatsApp for marketing and sales as well, but how? Through the consumer version of WhatsApp, there is the possibility to send a personal message to a bunch of contacts at once with a single click. When Pean’s team tested this functionality, they were very surprised; in one simple action, it gave them higher conversion rates and more bookings than they were used to getting from their marketing emails up to that point.
However, as good as the initial results were, Pean also ran into some limitations. For example, the WhatsApp send list was limited to 256 contacts and only one employee could manage the channel. Pean wanted to expand it so that several employees could use WhatsApp at the same time and multiple employees could collaborate while being in contact with which (potential) guest.
After a brief Internet search to see what solutions were available, Pean came across Saysimple. The simplicity of the customer contact platform, the cost and the fact that Saysimple is a Dutch company were the deciding factors. De Jonge: “We have a lot of contact with the Saysimple team. In fact, much more than you would expect from a software supplier. From the very beginning, they think along, which is very nice!”.
In just a few years, WhatsApp has become the main booking sales channel for the Dutch vacation park; almost 25% of all bookings come through this service channel. Engage, Saysimple’s mass WhatsApp feature that allows companies to send numerous personalized broadcast messages with a single click, plays an important role in this regard.
How does Pean use this tool? Every year, using Saysimple Engage, they send early booking promotions via WhatsApp to their customer base, spread over two periods. During the last promotion, the early booking discount was sent to 2,500 contacts and generated 150 new bookings. That’s a conversion rate of 6%!
While WhatsApp is an important – and very successful – sales channel for Pean, they also began to look at how they could further optimize their guest journey through this channel. For example, Pean sends a personalized WhatsApp message after every booking. They do this based on the available guest data stored in Hostaway, the vacation park’s reservation management software. To connect Saysimple with hostaway, Pean uses Zapier, which automatically personalizes WhatsApp messages based on name, accommodation booked and length of stay.
In addition, Pean optimizes and personalizes the customer journey by placing QR codes on all vacation homes, allowing each guest to immediately contact the front desk in an accessible way via WhatsApp.
And finally, during their stay, guests occasionally receive WhatsApp messages with links to the guest portal. From this portal, they can arrange everything themselves; from renting a boat to booking a sailing lesson. WhatsApp messages to unburden guests!
De Jonge: “While communication with friends or family is usually done via WhatsApp, we use it as a service channel to be closer to our guests. Here it is important to know that, as a company, you are expected to respond quickly and appropriately. If a message takes too long to arrive, you will soon be labeled a ‘bad friend’. Thanks to Saysimple’s Zapier integration, we can ensure that we respond quickly, frequently and appropriately to our guests’ apps. And in addition to bringing us closer to our guests, WhatsApp also saves time because – experience shows – app conversations take much less time than, say, an email contact.”
Curious about what Saysimple Engage can do for your company? Our customer success managers are just an app or call away. We’d be happy to explore the possibilities with you.