Text messaging is a low-cost way of providing customers with information, sending alerts, mobile coupons, and other incentives. Consumers generally have their phones on and with them at all times, making text messaging an invaluable option for reaching customers, especially compared to email and other traditional channels. It therefore follows that SMS easily encourages repeat bookings and otherwise drives consumer loyalty, something the travel, tourism and hospitality industries certainly benefits from...
Airlines such as Southwest Airlines utilize SMS as a method of cutting airport wait time and inbound passenger calls. Alerting passengers to flight delays, gate changes and cancellations via SMS are all part of Southwest mobile strategy. Other airlines take advantage of SMS for sweepstake-related reasons. Hawaiian Airlines created an SMS sweepstakes not only to build their mobile database, but also to promote its television sponsorship of the San Diego Padres baseball team. The campaign included a mobile call-to-action during every Padres game in the month of May for a chance to win roundtrip tickets to Hawaii. This encouraged Padres game viewership and offers consumers the chance to double-opt-in and receive targeted messages from the airline in the future.
Hotels and Resorts
The hospitality industry turns to SMS as a method of improving customer service. Mobilizing existing loyalty programs and sending mobile coupons and alerts about on-site amenities, dining and entertainment options help hotels and resorts boost revenue and encourage customers to book again. For example, the MGM Mirage partnered with Acuity Mobile and interactive marketing services firm Acxiom Corp. to create mobile marketing programs for guests staying at MGM properties in Detroit and Las Vegas. The program allowed guests to opt in for access to special offers, contests, alerts and quizzes.
The Hard Rock brand promoted its restaurants, hotels, shops and events via Air2Web’s mobile marketing service CampaignPRO to attract and maintain a customer base. The Eldorado Hotel targeted guests through SMS with instant special offers to area restaurants and nightclubs. As a hotel mainly patronized by the 35-65-year-old demographic, the Eldorado’s strategy to provide guests with hotel offers, dining deals and entertainment alerts proved an effective method for reaching guests in their 20s.
Government agencies and tourism organizations are taking advantage of SMS marketing as well. CTM Media Group created the City-In-The-Pocket mobile marketing program to deliver targeted messages to New York City clients. The Pennsylvania Tourism Office used mobile marketing efforts to promote their most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Some 15,000 consumers signed up before February 2 (Groundhog Day) to receive alerts about the animal’s winter weather prediction.
Creative SMS short codes have proven the best means for helping brands and organizations establish essential two-way communications with customers, actual and potential alike. SMS technology is certainly proving to be a perfect fit for the travel and hospitality industry.