How Travel Agents Can Compete with Online Booking Sites by Using SMS Messaging
The lure of quick, easy and cheap travel arrangements online has revolutionised the way people find and book travel. Travel agents offer so much more than search, click and book, but still find themselves facing competition from online booking organisations. But none of the major online booking sites can offer the personalised service an agent does. But as a travel agent, you can take advantage of new technology to help your customers and their business.
The key is to demonstrate your added value to current and potential customers. Here are three ways you can use SMS messaging to differentiate yourself from the competition:
Offer helpful information to travelers before and during their trip. This can be last minute trip updates and notifications, warnings of late transportation or other delays, baggage or security restrictions, and reminders of important dates and times.
Keep in touch after the trip. Send a short text message saying thank you for using your services and you hope they had a wonderful time. You can even ask them to reply if they want to with comments or suggestions. Everyone loves getting goodies on their birthday. Send your clients a text message with a special incentive or coupons for future travel as a present, or even a small voucher for the local pub. Your customers will know you really care about them and will come back to you time after time.
Continue the conversation. Even when their trip is over, you can still send them special offers. These could be for travel or contests, sweepstakes, and other opportunities. If you can, tie the offers into the profile information you have for them based on their travel and other info they’ve authorised you to have. For example, if they like golf destinations, send them notification of a related event or travel opportunity sponsored by a golf resort or company.
New customers will appreciate all your attention and personal service. They just can’t get that at major online booking sites. For customer’s you’ve helped travel before, they will appreciate you even more. Their loyalty will only continue to grow as each text message can show how you can help and how you care.
These ideas and more are contained within our “Travel Agents’ Guide To SMS Messaging“. It’s specially written for Travel Agents with lots of business boosting tips … and it’s completely free!
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.
“European travel agents don’t like it”. That’s a statement made by one of the gentleman at my table during the mCommerce Summit earlier this month. He is from Cruise America, a successful RV (camper) vacation rental company based in Arizona, but with 123 locations around the US. We were talking about his company and their online and mobile reservation options.
SMS marketing has seen a huge uplift in popularity in recent years, with big brands investing in the technology to better engage with their customers. There are so many benefits of SMS marketing, from the ability to directly to reach customers with your communications, to the fact that over 80% of SMS texts are read. With over approximately 90% of the world receiving mobile coverage, you’re highly likely to be able to reach your audience, regardless of where they are. SMS marketing is cost effective, and campaigns are quick to develop, in as short a time period as the time it takes to write a text message. This gives you the advantage of being able to communicate quickly, and effectively with customers, reacting to information almost instantaneously. With so many reasons to use SMS marketing, we’ve highlighted four sectors successfully using SMS messaging as case studies to highlight the advantages of investing in the technology.
The lure of quick, easy and cheap travel arrangements online has revolutionised the way people find and book travel. Travel agents offer so much more than search, click and book, but still find themselves facing competition from online booking. But none of the major online booking sites can offer the personalised service an agent does.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
Right now it is peak season for camping and caravan sites; it's the middle of summer and the school holidays have begun. Even the great British weather has been relatively kind this year so far. With what is the busiest time of the year for camping and caravanning parks, marketing strategies are often not priority, especially for the many small owner run businesses within the industry and those who are reliant on returning customers. SMS text message marketing, however, can benefit campsite and touring park operators by offering a simple, cost effective and time efficient way to reach both existing and new customers to promote your business by direct contact to their mobile phone. Read on for eight proven text message marketing and promotional ideas to help fill those final pitches.
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.
Using people’s names in marketing is great. It does provide a certain level of personalisation that can get people more interested in what you’re sending them. Of course in text messaging, you don’t always have the room for a name, your message, and the required opt out information … usually there just isn’t enough room. So how can you make your marketing messages personal?