How the Travel Industry can use A2P Messaging
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about travel agents using SMS messaging to respond to changes in travel due to world events. It turns out that the travel industry can also benefit from the fastest growing SMS sector: Application to Person (A2P) messaging.
According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the “Rapid increase in the growth of mobile phone subscribers coupled with increasing mobile marketing activities is driving the global A2P SMS market.” They predict that the market will grow to $62.1B (~£50B) by 2025.
The travel industry accounts for some portion of that, but not very much currently. Another report by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum found that only 10% of consumers had received or sent SMS messages from companies about their travel.
That means there is plenty of room to grow for the industry. The use of mobile devices isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, and travellers will begin to expect the convenience of SMS messaging (if they haven’t already). A2P can make it easier for travel agents and companies to contact their travellers. Here are some examples.
Last Minute Sales
There are almost always rooms that haven’t been filled, empty seats on planes and trains, or cabins on cruises. While travel agents can certainly call their most active clients to offer last minute deals, that takes time. With A2P messaging, a message with a great last minute deal could be sent automatically out to those customers. This would let the agent contact more people than they could using voice calls, and probably get a higher – and quicker – response than using email.
One of the most common uses of A2P messaging is booking confirmations. But there are other uses as well.
Last minute schedule changes, flight delays, transfer information or even hotel changes can also be sent automatically. These types of alerts need to reach the client fast so they can prepare or make the necessary changes quickly. SMS messaging is guaranteed to arrive within seconds. It also is preferable to email because internet access is not required.
While this sort of service via SMS isn’t standard yet, mobile based customers will likely see it as a differentiator when choosing a travel agent or booking site. It’s just more convenient for them.
While some travellers are out just looking for a good deal, most want to experience the best customer service during their trip. Providing up-to-date information on itinerary changes is a valuable service. But you can go beyond that too.
Providing weather updates, especially if there are unexpected forecasts for the climate, could be incredibly helpful to travellers. Sending links or information on the local fare or activities might be just what someone needs to decide on what to do that day.
Giving clients the ability to complain or compliment about their stay via SMS will give important feedback about the destinations, activities, and their preferences. Follow-up surveys after they return home give an additional opportunity to provide even better service in the future.
Some of these things are probably already being done via email or voice calls. But using SMS has advantages. The largest of these is the immediacy that no other channel can provide. It is also a very personal channel, allowing you to provide great service – automatically via A2P – to clients who will remember it the next time they book a trip.
To find out more about how SMS and A2P can help the travel industry, download our special report, How to Use SMS Messaging for Marketing, Booking and Customer Support. You can also ask our experts questions via live chat, email or by phone.
Online travel and review sites are great for travellers. They are good for hotels too, but they offer a double edged sword. User reviews are unfiltered – that is the travellers can say whatever they like both good and bad. And managing a bad review can be difficult, but how can SMS help?
For travel agencies, SMS messaging allows you to connect with travellers on a one-to-one, or one-to-many basis, yet still be personal. How can that be? People guard their mobile numbers and only share them with the people or businesses they really want to hear from. It's their personal number after all, and they won't hand it out to just anyone.
SMS marketing can be a double-edged sword, which is why it's crucial to ensure that each one of your campaigns is well thought out, immaculately spelt, financially accurate (i.e., the prices listed are correct), and, perhaps most importantly, the time and date is 100% accurate. Only once you have triple-checked each one of the components should you then consider sending out a batch.
The campervan and caravan industry grew 16% this past year. Campsite and holiday park owners can connect with the thousands of new travellers using SMS messaging. After all, 76% of travellers prefer to take their mobile on holiday rather than a friend.
Even great hotels sometimes have a mix up or some sort of problem that can affect a guest. And with social media and hotel review sites, chances are a disgruntled guest isn’t going to keep their complaints to themselves. Here are three examples of how to use SMS messaging to gauge customer satisfaction.
How SMS Marketing can help guarantee a sold out summer season for independent travel agents and tour operators. In this article we explore how small and medium-sized independent companies in the travel and tourism sector can take advantage of the opportunities offered by SMS marketing to ensure a sold out summer season.
SMS flies under many marketers radars when it comes to building an inbound marketing strategy. But if Buzzfeed's news app is to be believed, there are days when SMS generates the greatest percentage of shares on that channel, beating out Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and email. SMS share buttons are reported to have been used 4 times more than Twitter buttons. When you consider Twitter has 317 million active users, then SMS marketing has huge potential for a hotel business.
In many ways, SMS messaging is so commonplace people don’t think about it. They just do it. For example, using SMS for mobile marketing in retail is a fairly standard use case whether you’re a company or the consumer. But there are always exceptions – those who innovate when it seems there’s nothing new to be had. Here are two examples of companies from the US using SMS in ways no one else is – yet.