The holiday season has arrived. In addition to TV specials, great sales, and a spirit of togetherness, the holidays are also a time for families to come together. Over the coming six weeks, PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that 47% of Americans will travel somewhere, and 46% of those people will travel by plane. Across the ocean, Eurostat predicts that Europeans living in the European Union will travel more than any other month outside of the summer months.
Despite lingering issues with COVID, inclement weather, rising travel costs, and concerns over flight cancellations, the world is traveling again. For travel agents looking to regenerate their business, this is welcome news. The uncertainty around travel presents an opportunity for travel agents to truly demonstrate their value when compared to online booking sites.
Using SMS or other messaging tools, travel agents can position themselves as an indispensable resource in helping their customers reach their destination this holiday season.
A2P Messaging for Travel Agents
A2P messages are text messages from an application to a person. These automated messages can be scheduled or triggered based on specific events. For example, a travel agent can schedule and send out vacation destinations each month or create a trigger that automatically sends out messages when flights are significantly discounted.
This tool helps generate sales by sharing time-sensitive offers, last-minute deals, and flight-accommodation package deals. By using this channel to deliver value to customers, it increases the likelihood that messages will be read and acted upon. MessageWhiz’s trigger feature can also be used to send welcome messages to travelers upon arriving at their destination.
Why travel agents should use A2P messaging platforms this holiday Season
Last year, airlines canceled over 4,500 flights over the Christmas weekend, primarily due to Omicron concerns. Most travelers who booked using online sites were left to their own devices to track their flights and find new options.
Automated messages can also help calm travelers when their flights are delayed. Rather than waiting around in the airport, travelers who receive an SMS in advance can plan around delays once they receive the notification that their flight isn’t leaving on time.
SMS messages, which can be received all over the world even without internet access, can also help ease tension for travelers. Travel agents can use the 2-way capabilities to help their clients find alternate flights to reach their destination.
Travel SMS Messaging Solutions for The Holidays
Travel SMS messages do more than just ensure that passengers travel from Point A to Point B. They can also be used to create a great vacation experience.
Here are five ways travel agents and those in the hospitality industry can use SMS to improve their customers’ vacations. Many of these can be automated and utilize A2P messaging, although some may require manual interactions.
- Coordinate room service in the hotel – When flights run late and passengers arrive after hours to their destination, hotels can coordinate room service dinners for their guests over SMS.
- Share local concerts and sporting events – Let travelers know about the hottest concerts and sporting events taking place in town. Messages can include videos, menu options, and even ticket purchase buttons.
- Introduce local attractions – Concierge over SMS services allow travel agencies and hotels to share local attractions with travelers. Share museums, the zoo, amusement parks, and other hot spots your guests won’t want to miss.
- Upsell Hospitality Services – reach out to customers over text message with special offers like spa or laundry services. Guests can schedule times and learn more about the different offerings available to them.
- Transportation – message your travelers during the pre-boarding stage of their trip to see if they would like you to arrange transportation from the airport to their hotel or home.
Use the right messaging solutions with your customers
There are a number of different messaging tools available to travelers. However, travel agencies and hotels should be mindful of some limitations while their customers are traveling.
As mentioned earlier, SMS messages will arrive on any phone that has phone service. Messages on WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and other third-party messaging services require that user has a smartphone and a subscription.
If your customers are traveling domestically, the odds are good that they will have their regular phone and internet service. As such, all communication channels can be utilized with them.
However, when customers travel internationally, not all opt for data plans and frequently find themselves only connecting when they have a Wi-Fi connection at their hotel. Those customers are far more limited in the type of messages they can receive and might not appreciate heavy WhatsApp messages that take time to download and use their limited internet. In those circumstances, a hospitality SMS is the best channel to reach them.
With the holidays here, find out how you can use SMS to better serve your customers. Talk to our customer success team today!