By Blake Ng — 1 Jun 2018
Over 40 percent of consumers think online instant messaging is an important service, giving businesses who use it an edge over those that don’t. Due to the last-minute nature of it, the travel industry can particularly benefit from messaging whether it’s to offer promotions for upcoming vacations or update travelers on delays or other travel snags.
Here are some ways your travel or tour company can use messaging to improve customer service, loyalty and sales:
Gathering data on your customers allows you to more accurately market to them. In the age of personalization, customers expect companies to be in tune with their habits and needs. In fact, 71 percent of consumers prefer personalized marketing.
Sending blanket promotions are more and more seen as a waste of advertising dollars. Targeted ads not only fill an expectation on the part of the customer, but they also help tour operators improve customer loyalty.
When a customer feels that a brand is paying personal attention to them, they are more likely to remain loyal to that brand. Sending a family of five a promotion for a romantic trip to Paris would probably be less effective than sending them a promotional tour to Disneyland.
Videos are the new trend in advertising with customers being more likely to watch a video than read a text. According to a study by Google, 64 percent of consumers watch travel videos when researching for a trip.
Customers want to see footage of the places they’re planning to visit and videos can be the ultimate form of persuasion. Messages that include links to videos will stand a better chance at being viewed than those that simply send text or link to a text advertisement.
Chatbots can simulate a conversation with a real person and can be a great first line of defense in customer service chats.
They can solve a great portion of common problems and effectively defer more complicated ones to live agents. But perhaps their greatest benefit is their cost-effectiveness.
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Messaging has the benefit of being immediate. In fact, 91 percent of text messages are read within three minutes of being sent, so if you need to get a message to a client ASAP, texting or mobile messaging is the way to go.
When a client has actually booked a trip, messaging can be used in a number of ways to improve customer service.
Depending on what kind of transportation they’ve booked, you can keep them updated on any delays or changes to their schedule.
This is a huge benefit to customers who can adjust their schedules to reflect the new itinerary rather than showing up and having to wait around for hours for a delayed trip.
Make sure your client has the best possible experience by sending them tips to make their trip better. For example, if they’re traveling with a child, send them suggestions for child-friendly activities.
Send an automatic confirmation message via mobile when a customer books a tour or trip.
Rather than sending an email, a mobile message will be easier for a customer to pull up quickly and easily when they go to check in.
Proactively engage customers with regular tips and activity suggestions to make sure they get the most out of their experience.
Offer promotions and deals on tours, restaurants and shopping to promote partner businesses as well.
Customers might hit a snag on their trip, whether it’s a problem with their hotel, their rental car, an activity they booked through you or bad weather making it necessary to change their plans. Put the power of communication in their hands – offer them an option to text you!
Mobile messaging allows them to reach out to you at any time while they’re on their trip and makes it easier you to resolve their complaint quickly and through a communication channel that’s convenient to them.
The best way to find out about your customer’s experience is asking them. By giving them a platform to voice their opinion, you create an opportunity to fix a problem if there was one and to learn what your company is doing right.
Customers often stay quiet to the company if they had a bad experience, but will tell others about their experience either through word of mouth or through negative reviews on review sites or social media.
Be proactive and seek their opinion to prevent them from venting online and offer compensation for their bad experience. A polling text is a quick and convenient way to find out how their experience was.
Tour and travel agencies can use mobile messaging for the variety of purposes: from marketing to customer service to managing operational activities. Keep in mind your customers’ preferences – you need to get their agreement to receive texts from you. When you leverage the power of their favorite communication tool, you’re on the right way!