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!
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.
In order to appeal to new customers and interact with existing ones, businesses are always looking for new marketing methods. Whilst many companies are using traditional and online marketing techniques, these aren’t always effective. Email filtering, for example, means that many recipients may not even be aware that they’ve received contact from your company. As many email hosts provide in-built spam filters, it’s easy for email marketing content to be overlooked or ignored completely. SMS marketing, however, overcomes many of the obstacles associated with online and email marketing. Whilst potential customers may not see your company emails, SMS messages aren’t filtered in the same way. The delivery rate is, therefore, far higher for SMS messages in comparison to marketing emails.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The recent weather likely has many people thinking about their summer holiday. It's great news for travel agents looking to book ahead for the coming months. If you're a travel agent, SMS messaging is fast becoming a primary way to communicate with your clients.