How to use automated SMS notifications to support your bookings and business (Examples included!)

By Brieanne Biblow

Booking ManagementBooking Management

Man checking mobile phone notifications

There are two distinct types of people in the world: ones who set their phones to vibrate and ones who set them to chime. But, no matter which camp you find yourself in, there’s a high likelihood your phone is somewhere within arms reach, ready to grab as soon as a message pops up.

With notifications lighting up our screens on the hour, it was only a matter of time before marketing initiatives found their way into this thriving channel.

Your business probably already uses newsletters and social media channels to connect with your customers. In fact, email marketing continues to be one of the most valuable tools for engaging with your customers and driving bookings. But, with over 306 billion emails sent every day, the battle for eyeballs in inboxes has become fierce. 

That’s why many businesses have started using Short Message Service (SMS) Marketing and shifted their focus to another enticing channel: text messages. If you’ve recently made a dinner reservation, booked a massage or made an appointment with a dentist, you’ve likely received an SMS appointment reminder. That’s just one of the many ways this new tool can support your bookings and your business. 

SMS Marketing vs Email Marketing – What’s the Difference?

Consider this: it’s not a question of either/or but both/and. You’ve mastered the art of email marketing: you’re successfully sending automatic booking confirmation emails, invoice payment reminders, and thank you emails. Great work!

Think of SMS marketing as complimentary to your other marketing initiatives, not competitive. The best part? Many of the skills you’ve honed through perfecting your emails can be applied directly to SMS marketing.

Before you search for an SMS notification service and begin mastering text messages, here are a few key differences to keep in mind.

First, let’s talk length. While customers are used to scanning longer paragraphs in emails, it’s important to keep texts short. Keeping your messages to a limited character count means your communications will be efficient and to the point.

Second, timing is everything. Whereas customers tend to open and read emails whenever it suits them, text messages are often viewed right after they’re received.

Given the above, SMS automation is one of the best and simplest ways your business and bookings can benefit from this channel.

Why use SMS automation?

Experience providers have a leg up on most other companies where SMS automation is concerned. Why? Customers are already expecting to hear from you with time-sensitive, important information. 

Harnessing the power of automated SMS notifications will get them the information they need right in the palm of their hands.

Woman checking her phone

The benefits of SMS automation for bookings

Your business is built on systems and processes that allow you to work smarter, not harder. A simple ‘set it and forget it’ tool, automated SMS reminders can support your bookings by giving your customers the best possible experience. Here are four reasons we think it’s worth it:

  • Personalized: A great booking experience is seamless, simple, and feels human. Impress your customers by sending them personalized messages pertaining to their booking.
  • Low cost: Generally costing less than $0.01 per message, giving your customers the benefit of convenience definitely pays off.
  • Trackable: Understanding how your marketing plays into your customer’s online journey will help you drive more bookings. With SMS automation, you can include links that track your traffic and Click Through Rate (CTR).

What to know before sending SMS notifications

So, you’re ready to set up automated messages to give guests the information they need. Remember that gaining access to your customers’ cell phones is a privilege! A customer’s text message inbox is personal space, so show them you value their privacy by asking permission:

Clearly ask for consent

Include a section that gives your customer the choice to opt-in to SMS notifications. For example, with Checkfront, you can easily include a checkbox in your booking form.

Tell them why

Increase the likelihood that your customers will accept SMS marketing from your business by clearly stating the value they’ll get from signing up. Setting expectations early reduces the chances of customers feeling like they’re being spammed.

Like email marketing, SMS marketing must abide by Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and the US’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Make sure you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s before you schedule any messages with this Canadian CASL Compliance Checklist and this Guide to U.S. SMS Compliance.

4 ways SMS automation can work for your business (with examples!)

We’ve shared why SMS automation can play a pivotal role in logistics and overall guest experience, so let’s get into the how!

Impress your customers by sending their booking confirmation details straight to their phones. Or, make check-in a breeze and schedule a message the day before your guests arrive to ensure waivers are completed. Even get more 5-star reviews by following up with a message thanking them for booking with you and asking for feedback. 

SMS notifications can keep things running smoothly for your guests and staff and help make logistical hiccups a thing of the past. 

To get you started, here are four SMS templates you can set up today to support your bookings

  1. Send a consent reminder

You’ve done your due diligence and ensured that your customer has opted-in. Say hello and refresh their memory with a short message. 


Thanks for opting in to text message notifications from {$COMPANY_NAME}! You can expect to receive important information about your booking shortly. We’re excited to see you soon 🙂 

  1. Booking confirmation notification

Reduce calls and emails with questions and eliminate confusion by automatically sending a booking confirmation that will reiterate important information. 


Thanks for booking with {$COMPANY_NAME}. We’re confirming that you booked {$BOOKING_ITEMS} on {$BOOKING_DATE}. You can view the details of your booking here: {$BOOKING_URL}. See you soon!

  1. Booking reminder notification

Reduce the potential for no-shows, and remind guests of time-sensitive information like your address, waivers, or safety measures. 

Option A.


Before any adventure, we make your safety our top priority. Be sure you and your group complete your waiver(s) here: [link to waivers]. See you soon!

Option B.


This is just a reminder that your booking for {$BOOKING_ITEMS} is on {$BOOKING_DATE} and starts at {$BOOKING_TIME}. We’re excited to see you!

  1. Booking follow-up and review notification

Nurture your relationship with guests and schedule a message right after their experience to ask for a review and improve your rankings on Google or TripAdvisor.

Thanks for joining us today, {$CUSTOMER_NAME}

If you’ve got 2 minutes, we’d love to hear about your {$BOOKING_ITEMS} experience and whether you have any suggestions for our team. You can leave a review here: [link to leave a Google or Tripadvisor review]. Thanks again!

woman kayaking with family

Start sending with Checkfront

While SMS marketing might be relatively new, with average smartphone users checking their phones 63 times a day, it offers your business a new opportunity to connect with your customers. 

Incorporating SMS automation into your business’s booking flow can help ease some of the administrative work that comes with bookings. Plus, scheduling messages can build, nurture and grow your relationship with your guests. You’ll show them that you value their time, and they’ll appreciate having their questions answered before they even ask!

If you’re ready to dip your toe in the texting game, Checkfront has everything you need to get started. Our software integrates directly with Twilio: a customer engagement platform that automates and delivers SMS notifications. This integration is free to all plans, not including any direct fees from Twilio

Interested in getting more tips on how to support your bookings? 

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