Fast-forward to 2015 and you literally have your whole travel plan in the palm of your hand. These days, SMS notifications are contributing to a very pleasant traveling experience. From check-in and entertainment bookings to rentals and travel guides, today's always-on customers have grown accustomed to real-time updates, all the time. They want notifications to enhance their travels and especially when things go wrong, for example delays, weather catastrophes, riots and lost baggage.
SMS can be used by airports and rail companies to offer real-time departure information. For example, the London Underground provides a free SMS service with real-time travel news and details of delays. This allows people to plan their trip more efficiently before they arrive at the station. An SMS service is also available for Airport Express trains to London airports.
Travel companies can set up automated SMS notifications that offer discounts and promotions a week or a few days before departure. This way, travelers can plan their activities and feel appreciated by exclusive offers while companies can enjoy upsell opportunities.
The new buzzword in mobile marketing - proximity marketing - can be used by popular tourist attractions to market to opted-in visitors in the area. A virtual perimeter is created and once a customer enter it, they can be sent anything from special offers to value-adding information such as weather alerts, surf updates, etc.
Even if they have pre-booked their tickets, tourists might face some boring time spent in queues. SMS is a fun, cost effective way to keep them entertained. For example, the popular Madame Tussauds used to send queuing visitors SMS messages containing facts about Vlad the Impaler, Count Dracula and others immortalized in the wax museum.
Accommodation providers can smartly boost revenue by notifying guests about events, dining, entertainment and spa options via SMS notifications.
Cycling is ever popular in large cities and now rentals have been made super easy via SMS services. For example, OYBike is a network of bicycles that can be hired by mobile. A user chooses a bicycle at an OYBike station, phone the call center and give them the bicycle's unique identification number. The bicycle lock's PIN code is then sent back to them by SMS so they can unlock the bicycle and start using it.
To sum up: these days a mobile phone is so much more than a traveler's camera and social media posting device. Through SMS services, it can become their concierge, tour guide, travel agent, local expert and so much more. For more ideas on how tourism and travel companies are using SMS to increase loyalty and sales, download our 101 uses for SMS guide.