More and more markets are becoming mobile-first, giving brands huge potential to reach out to travelers, but EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect’s new free mobile market report finds that brands are missing out by failing to reach consumers on their smartphones.
Creating a mobile messaging strategy is effective, so why aren’t more brands doing it asks EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect’s new Driving Intelligent, Interconnected Mobile Engagement Throughout the Travel Journey report? The research, which is free to download now, shows that 83% of travel brands that have automated messaging services find that they are effective at increasing customer satisfaction. However, just 41% of brands surveyed report that they currently have these services, although a further 20% report that they are also developing the capability to do so.
Delving deeper into the deployment of possible mobile messaging routes, a similar story emerges of a lack of communication routes between brands and travelers. Just under a third of brands reported that they had developed an app, 29% could reach customers with mobile messaging or push notifications and just under a quarter can send SMS texts. This leaves the majority of travel brands bereft of ways in which to communicate directly to travelers’ smartphones, aside from through email, but even in this field, only 40.4% of respondents said they use mobile-optimised email.
This mismatch leaves a huge gap that is increasingly vital for travel brands to exploit. The research notes that not only do travel consumers increasingly resort to mobile as they research their trip and as they journey, but also they are actively interested in being reached. 87% of US travelers said that they find travel notifications useful, with trip status updates the most popular but also discounts and pricing widely sought after.
Therefore, travel brands are missing out on better performance in two ways says the research: Firstly, they are largely unable to cross- and upsell the consumer travel products, as well as less able to accommodate last-minute mobile bookings, hitting revenue directly. Secondly, they are missing out on a key means to drive loyalty with the consumer, as smart mobile messaging allows a relationship to be built.
This latter point can be done through a number of ways, such as making the customer’s journey more convenient, sending personalized messages, responding appropriately in moments of crisis, and creating an easier means to gather feedback and encourage reviews.
“Only the travel brand knows if you made a change to your flight or PNR, so in terms of loyalty why should a travel brand acquiesce that relationship to Google?” says Michael Bayle, head of mobile at Amadeus. “It should be them bringing these things to the attention of the traveler. The more current and actionable data, such as a flight cancellation, Google can’t act upon. The travel brand can make a positive change to get a result and take advantage of that disruptive management.”
However, to make the most out of mobile, it isn’t enough to simply deploy an app or an SMS service. Travel brands need to create an overarching mobile strategy. “For the traveler, there are no mobile stages. Mobile is everything and everything is mobile. We interact in making our purchase decisions seamlessly on our tablet and phones, and sometimes on our computers, so it is no longer fair to call out mobile as a separate category. It is no longer a case of ‘do you have a mobile strategy?’ Instead it’s ‘What are you doing to embed that deeper into the consumer lifecycle or purchase journey?’ says Rohit Tripathi, general manager and head of products, SAP Digital Interconnect.
Tripathi also notes that this needs to be contextual and appropriate to the consumer’s situation. “If it’s a general update or information about an upcoming promotion that is not immediately relevant, then email is the best way to reach out, or social media. If it is something critical that needs to be acted on, such as a change of travel plans, an unexpected disruption or threat, then SMS is clearly the way to go. You can safely rely on SMS to be available globally whether or not the person has a data plan,” he explains.
“When our customers reach out using SAP Intelligent Notification 365’s unique multi-channel API they can do so across communication channels either on-device, social media or on a brand app. Therefore, they can maintain two-way transactional or marketing engagement that matches the customer’s needs through an autonomous system that enables and escalates message routing across all mobile channels.”
Get ahead of the competition now and download this completely free mobile market report to access:
- A major industry survey of all travel verticals uncovering their mobile strategies and technology deployments.
- Analysis of how consumers are using the mobile channel.
- Projections for mobile’s growth across travel.
- Where you should be investing to reach the mobile consumer.
- How you can ensure mobile-focused communications are effective.
- An overview of how you should be measuring and overseeing an m-commerce operation.