5 great uses for A2P SMS in the travel industry

August 12, 2015

fortytwo

For any business, the ability to get your marketing messages read by a large proportion of your audience rather than a tiny percentage can make or break a campaign. SMS marketing is one of the few mediums that can reach such an audience and be read by them. That’s why more enterprises are opting to include SMS into their marketing mix.

With sales of smartphones and tablets outstripping those of laptops and desktops by an order of magnitude, getting in front of mobile users is very beneficial to any business. Doing it in a way that is received positively by those users is even better.

Few industries can leverage mobile communications like the travel industry. It’s an ever-evolving industry that is mobile in itself. By its very nature, users of the travel industry are often on the move themselves, meaning mobile communications are central to staying in touch.

Reaching customers, offering value, adding services, and enhancing engagement are all something any business would embrace. The ability to do all that using technology we already have makes it an unmissable opportunity.

What is A2P SMS?

So we all know that SMS stands for Short Message Service- the ability to send text messages to other users through mobile devices. The A2P element of that is the ability for an application to send those SMS messages on your behalf, Application to Person – A2P.

Application to person is predominantly a business communications medium that allows an organisation to push messages to a subscriber base regardless of geographical location and time zone. Typical uses include travel updates, banking messages and many other value-add messages. You can find out more in one of our previous posts, here.

So what are those five great uses for A2P SMS in the travel industry?

1.Sales

One of the most important uses for A2P SMS is in sales. The travel industry is one where prices change quickly, late availability needs a prompt response, or where seasonal offers can generate extra income. One way to reach an audience quickly and illicit an equally fast reply is SMS.

By using a global platform to send, manage and respond to those SMS, a travel business can offer customers time-sensitive offers, last minute deals, provide travel alerts and other value adding offers that build reputation and brand loyalty.

By using opt-in customers from previous marketing efforts, any sales efforts stand a much better chance of success. By offering only good deals and useful messages that offer real value to the audience, the brand and their messages will receive an overwhelmingly positive reception.

2.  Interactive reservations

The e-ticket and internet seat reservations have become immensely popular because of the convenience they offer the customer. We also know that travel brands who offer more innovative ways for travellers to control their own journeys benefit from better engagement. A2P SMS can help with that.

Good uses of A2P SMS could include departure time and location selection, text alerts for flight delays, destination pickup confirmations or arrangements, extra destination services on offer, and a whole lot more.

A2P SMS also provides the opportunity to offer multiple levels of service to customers. For example, higher tier customers can receive these perks for free as part of their ticket price as an upselling opportunity.

3.  Ticket management

We mentioned e-tickets because they are proving to be very popular indeed, especially with business travellers. A2P SMS can leverage a little of this by allowing an operator to send check-in alerts, and links to e-tickets or for boarding passes. They can also alert nominated third-parties of travel arrangements, ticket collection and arrival.

The same multi-tier service opportunities are available for tickets as they are for reservations. Premium service offerings can include check-in alerts, gate changes, seat reservations, food orders, SMS check-in barcode, and a range of other opportunities.

4.  Customer service

A2P SMS is a very powerful value-add option for customers already engaged with a brand. The travel industry in particular could benefit from that. As an industry often criticised for lack of information, timely updates, proper engagement and customer service, A2P SMS offers a powerful level of interaction to counter that.

A brand can send flight or destination information, real time alerts, flight cancellation notifications, gate change alerts, weather information or storm warnings, and a range of other valuable messages to improve service.

At a higher level, a travel operator could allow customers to complain, complement or contact them via SMS in conjunction with IVR systems for cross platform interactions and a deeper level of service. All largely automated until the last moment.

5.  Loyalty and reward

Using A2P SMS in conjunction with other marketing to offer rewards for remaining subscribed to the SMS service. It can also reward people recommending others to join or for individuals joining. A useful rewards program can be a powerful motivation to enrol in a targeted ad campaign or for responding to satisfaction surveys or feedback.

Loyalty programs are very effective brand engagement tools and find a good reception across multiple industries. The travel sector especially can benefit as the reward potential is very valuable. After all, who doesn’t love a cheaper holiday or free seat upgrades?

The use of the smartphone as our go-to device empowers users of A2P SMS in a huge way. Just as long as you have the ability to deliver and the imagination to devise them. Careful message selection is as important as the offers sent. As long as quality and value override all other considerations when using SMS marketing, engagement should remain high.

Used alongside traditional marketing, A2P SMS messages are an exceptionally powerful tool. They can communicate with the audience anywhere at any time. They are uniquely able to reach travellers when on the move, which is when they might best benefit from the offer. It is also when those messages might be best received. There are few better conditions for marketing to an audience that we can think of!

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