A small city sits close to New York border in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. There may be some debate on how we define small, but this town is definitively not large with a population hovering at 13,000. My last visit was 2018. A year earlier, a hotelier thought it would be a prime spot to open up a boutique hotel. Fast forward, five years later and I think this city should also be known for its execution of SMS marketing.

The city is inconsequential. I’ve been told it’s my duty as a writer and marketer to include hooks. How’d I do? For the curious, the town is called North Adams. More importantly, the hotel where I received this powerful version of SMS marketing is known as TOURISTS Welcome.

Check out TOURISTS feature on Dezeen

My first trip to the property was for a friends and family weekend. I happened to be connected to the general manager. Hence, I had the chance to sample the goods before it opened to the public. Back then, there was no dinner program or restaurant on campus. There wasn’t a full bar or live events. It was simply a beautiful property with a pool and cute things close by.

Recently, my partner and I went for a weekend. We were excited about getting out of the city. In fact, they were even more excited to check out Mass MOCA, an incredible contemporary art museum in a converted factory building complex. When we arrived at TOURISTS, they let us know guests can now take advantage of their texting system. I’ve experienced this service at other hotels but was never impressed.

Originally, we planned on staying one night. However, on our walk to dinner my phone started to buzz.

SMS marketing example from TOURISTS welcome
Excerpt from my text conversation with the TOURISTS staff.

Reach out to us for 50% off Sunday night’s rate and a $50 food and beverage credit. Hell yeah! We are both freelancers, and while we are on a budget, some deals are hard to resist. Saturday’s nightly rate was closer to $350 before taxes. They were giving us an opportunity to slow down and relax.

This wasn’t the only delightful part about the SMS marketing program. They let us know about a live music event in the lobby that was quite good featuring Minor Moon. Moreover, they helped with reservations, dinner recommendations, and were always quick to respond.

I love when brands and businesses put customer service and value offers ahead of pure sales when leveraging SMS. First, TOURISTS used text messaging to welcome and onboard us as guests. From there, they made it apparent that receiving texts wasn’t going to be a spammy experience by offering value. For example, let us know if you need help with any restaurant recommendations? If you have any questions about the area, check our Field Guide in your room.

By the time they made their upsell, it wasn’t just a sales tactic. They were inviting us to do something we already wanted to do without having to pay full price. Most businesses use SMS as an alerts feed. Every product drop and discount offer is fed to us like an IV drip. What a waste of a customer interaction.

We should look at marketing and sales as providing quality customer service, offering value, and lowering friction. It’s an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships. SMS marketing is great way to deliver on brand promise while increasing stickiness, retention and loyalty.