By Andrew Sanders Vice President, Travel, Transportation & Hospitality
Today’s travelers expect simple communication methods and quick responses. Messaging—whether in the form of texts, chatbots, or others—is an essential tool for ensuring deep guest engagement and providing a superior overall customer experience.
Although the travel and hospitality industries are not exactly known for being quick to embrace new technologies, I believe that it’s time for everyone to jump on board with messaging. In this three-part series, I’ll go into the “what, why and how” of modern communication strategies to illustrate the importance of messaging and the extraordinary value that it brings to both guests and the companies that guide their travel experiences.
The Power of Immediacy
The use of mobile messaging between consumers and businesses is skyrocketing. According to research conducted by MobileXCo, the number of people who opt-in to receive SMS messages from businesses has grown by an astounding 23% since 2016. Facebook Messenger is another communication channel that’s expanding rapidly, with over 20 billion monthly messages sent between people and companies.
Messaging provides a new level of immediacy in communication, which is greatly advantageous for consumers and brands alike. Instead of searching for a phone number and likely being transferred and waiting on hold before being served, people prefer to contact travel companies via text messages, Facebook Messenger, What’s App, and chatbots. The ease-of-use, combined with rapid response times, makes these communication methods ideal for busy travelers.
Travel and hospitality companies who utilize instant messaging can stay on top of leads in a monumentally more effective way than those who don’t. The ability to meet or exceed the customer service expectations of today’s travelers is virtually impossible to achieve without offering instant communication in the same ways that most people have grown accustomed to using throughout their day.
Don’t Miss Out!
Using messaging to communicate with consumers leads to a level of engagement that cannot be matched otherwise. Here’s the thing: if a business doesn’t provide instant messaging as part of its customer service, the chance of missing out on revenue is so high that it’s more-or-less guaranteed.
Fortunately, the travel industry is starting to catch up. A new wave of messaging initiatives are sweeping across the entire sector, with a growing number of travel companies utilizing the power of communicating with customers via text messaging, Facebook Messenger, chatbots, and more. For example, American Express Global Business Travel entered into a partnership with Apple Business Chat to provide instant messaging to all Apple smartphone users. KLM is another company that’s effectively applying this technology through its use of Facebook Messenger to automatically notify customers of flight cancellations, as well as to issue new boarding passes and even to send coffee vouchers within the Messenger communication channel.
The aforementioned brands are just a small sample of the growing number of travel companies that realize the power of messaging with consumers to increase engagement and ultimately to provide a superior customer experience that leads to long-term loyalty.
In the second article of this series, I’ll delve deeper into the value of messaging for travel brands and explain why every company will benefit greatly by developing an instant communication strategy that meets the expectations of today’s consumers.
Please share your thoughts about the importance of messaging with me.