In-App Messages vs Text Messages
Hospitality Mobile Messaging – which one delivers results for hotels, airlines and other travel companies?
In-App messages (aka Push Notifications) are short messages sent from a mobile application that is installed on a user’s smartphone. In-app messages can be sent even when the application is not being used. These are highly effective for some mobile applications – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social or gaming apps. It is a way to alert the user of new updates, special offers or reminders, and drive him to use the app. The one big advantage of in-app messaging is that it is a fast way to drive users into the application.
Text messages (aka SMS) are short messages (160 characters) sent between two or more mobile phones. Text messages can be sent from a short code or a long code directly to a user’s mobile phone. The user does not need to have a smartphone, nor does he need to have your mobile application installed. Since the end user includes both smart and feature phones (and you don’t need an app), the potential reach of your message is significantly wider. Text messaging eliminates the barrier points by allowing anyone with a mobile phone to join connect with your company, regardless of the phone type or wireless carrier.
Hotels Using Mobile Messaging
You want to drive people to your mobile application or mobile website and make a purchase, so why would you use text messaging? Inclusion. If you want to reach all of your loyal customers, and get your message to them faster, then text will be the most effective tool. Include a link to your website or into your mobile application in the text message, if that is how you are driving them to a purchase point. Resorts and Hotels around the world are discovering the power and effectiveness of text message marketing to keep guests informed and rooms filled. Last year, a Forrester survey identified a 450% increase in mobile bookings since 2009.
What Kinds of Text Messages Should Hotels Send?
- Send Special Weekend Rates to Loyal Customers / VIPs
- Fill Empty Rooms with a Last Minute Deal
- Promote Other Services such as Restaurant, Bar and Resort Activities
- Target Select Demographics by Zip Code or Preferences
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys
- Emergency and Weather Alerts
Tourism and Resort Messaging
Hotels are not the only ones who can increase revenues by leveraging mobile messaging, more tourism boards and specialty resorts are creating mobile marketing campaigns to draw people in. Resorts can capitalize on consumer behavior by combining it with highly segmented text messaging campaigns. The more you can gather about your customers (or potential customers), the more targeted your messages will be. A more personalized text message receives a better response rate. If you want to drive people to the ski slopes, then focus on visitors who prefer to visit during the cooler months. How do you find that out? Ask! Use two-way messaging to survey visitors about the kinds of information they want to receive from you.
Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and signifies the beginning of the 2012 summer travel season for many Americans. This year, many travelers are using their mobile phones to research, book, and review their summer vacations. Business owners in the hospitality industry can win big this travel season by using mobile marketing to offer special deals and reservation options.
These Mobile Solutions Can Increase Traffic During Summer
Many big brands in travel have already adopted mobile marketing
as part of their overall marketing strategy to reach travelers in new ways. Courtyard Hotels by Marriott have added QR codes
to their lobbies that allow guests to scan a virtual concierge to find points of interest, restaurant reviews and reservations, and even weather and traffic information around the hotel location. This increases the level of interaction and convenience for many of Courtyard’s guests, adding to the overall guest experience.
Other travel and hospitality businesses can use mobile engagement to increase new visitors and visitor loyalty. Airlines such as American Airlines
have embraced mobile to offer a new channel to their customers during the most competitive time of the year for new flight bookings. These airlines use SMS messaging to alert travelers of changes in flight times, available upgrades, or now boarding alerts. In addition, they can use SMS marketing, mobile websites, or mobile applications to offer exclusive pricing offers to its mobile user base. By doing this, they determine exact ROI through unique coupon codes through SMS messaging, number of redemptions on mobile websites and applications through advanced reporting technology.
Hotels can also benefit from mobile marketing by providing guests on-the-go booking options through mobile marketing. Travelocity recently reported that 60-70% of their mobile bookings
are for same-day stays. This channel is a great way to increase hotels’ occupancy rates and deliver a convenient option for travelers. In addition, hotels can use SMS marketing, QR codes to unlock deals and area information, and mobile websites and applications for booking, reviews, and special offers.
The summer 2012 travel season is the busiest time of the year for most travel and hospitality businesses. Adding mobile marketing to an existing marketing strategy can add convenience for customers and higher bookings for businesses all-year round.
|Starwood Hotels use mobile “Click-to-Call” ads to drive traffic
With more and more consumers using their smartphones to surf the Web, mobile websites
are becoming increasingly important to the hospitality trade, including hotel owners. I can see that one of the main purposes for building mobile websites would be for travelers to make reservations on the go.
Cell phone reservations are quite popular with people who are looking to make bookings, and this function can work very well for hotel chains and independent operations that get drive-in customers. With the 2011 number of mobile hotel searche
s up 3,000 percent over the previous year, now is the time for owners to make sure they have a mobile engagement platform with proper mobile web development.
I can see that someone who is looking for a room for the same or next day would be more likely to use a mobile device to make a reservation. To make the process of checking in an easy and convenient one, make a point of sending the guest a confirmation number the day before their arrival.
Another way you can use your mobile web development to your advantage is to create a page specifically for conference attendees. Visitors who are planning to attend the event will be able to find information they need quickly and easily, and posting it on the hotel’s mobile website will reduce the number of calls made to the hotel to find out about the daily itinerary and other details attendees need to know.
The hospitality industry has come up with some interesting ways to use QR Codes to improve guest experience.
An example of one innovative way that QR codes
are being used to relay information to guests is being used at the National Conference Center. The codes are posted at different locations throughout the facility to indicate eco-friendly policies. Guests scan the QR codes to learn more about other areas of the premises where the green initiatives are being used.
Guests who are staying at the Best Western Hotel Le Montparnasse in Paris who want to find out what amenities are available can scan a QR code from a brochure placed in their room. When the guest scans the code, they see a PDF document indicating all the amenities in that room. This is a highly effective way to provide a lot of information in a quick and convenient manner.
QR codes can also be used as on-site promotional tool. I was really impressed to learn that the Fountainebleau Hotel Miami Beach regularly uses QR codes to direct guests to landing pages that provide detailed information about its restaurants, bars, and spa facilities.
All of these methods of using QR codes are quite creative. I can see how using them can help to accomplish the goal of providing information without incurring large costs for printing materials.