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“Based on the latest available data, global international tourist arrivals more than doubled (+130%) in January 2022 compared to 2021 - the 18 million more visitors recorded worldwide in the first month of this year equals the total increase for the whole of 2021.” – United Nations World Tourism Association
The pandemic drastically impacted the global tourism market with a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development citing a $4 trillion lost to the global GDP for 2020 and 2021. However, with Covid-19 restrictions easing off, many home-bound citizens are taking advantage of the travel opportunities they longed for, with the United Nations World Tourism Association noting a 182% year-on-year increase in January to March 2022. Travel companies need to ride this wave by connecting with willing travelers while they’re keen to embark, through the leading communication platform – SMS API. Here’s how it all works.
This is a software interface that allows your travel business to send messages using an SMS Gateway. The SMS API effectively connects the internet and SMS communications so that web applications can easily send and receive text messages.
Using the SMS API, you can communicate with your travel customers through two-way SMS from a dedicated number on a web messaging platform. This lets you send notifications to travelers while also receiving messages for a much better customer engagement.
When it comes to travel, your SMS API can enable airline SMS or airline chatbots to better engaged with your customers. There are many practical applications for this form of two-way connectivity in the tourism industry.
- Confirm flights
When your customers decide to book a flight online, you can connect with them via an airline chatbot asking whether they would like to receive SMS notifications related to their journey. Many modern customers are opting in for this telecommunication service as they have their mobile phones readily available and it creates a more seamless travel experience.
- Flight reminder
While many will arrive at the airport way ahead of schedule, there are some that would benefit from an airline SMS reminder about the flight time and the airport. This is particularly useful for those who are travelling quite extensively now that the routes are open.
- Alerts and notifications
The reality of airline travel is that there could be delays or even cancelations where weather or unexpected emergencies arrive. While this is inherently frustrating for travelers, it’s made a lot more tolerable when an airline SMS notifies the individual of the unexpected turn of events. It could even be a simple case of a gate change – something that could be hugely challenging for a traveler who doesn’t receive the airline SMS.
- Mobile boarding pass
Another great service via the SMS API is the mobile boarding pass that can be sent directly to the customer’s phone. There’s no more need for printing tickets which could easily be misplaced. It’s a simple matter of taking out the mobile phone at security and the gate for a ticket scan.
- Luggage notifications
As with flight changes, another reality of airline travel is that luggage can be misplaced. It inevitably finds its way back to the traveler, but it’s necessary to alert the airline immediately. With business messaging, customers can notify airlines of the error and receive updates on the location and delivery of the missing luggage.
Many hospitality businesses, such as accommodation and restaurants, also facilitate reservations via SMS. For hotels, travelers can book ahead of time and even do a mobile check-in using their mobile phones. Finding nearby restaurants is easy, and it’s just a matter of a simple SMS.
- Emergency alerts
One thing the pandemic indicated was the value of bulk SMS messages to alert citizens to emergency situations at scale and quickly. The same can be done for your travel customers. If there’s any severe weather forecast, protest action, or other emergency that could impact travel, this can be quickly communicated with customers via SMS API.
- Customer loyalty programmes
“1/3 of travel and hospitality brands that aren’t leading the industry in loyalty have no loyalty program at all, though 21% of those brands say they will have one in the future.”- Skift
Incorporating SMS customer loyalty programmes for travel is proving to be incredibly beneficial for the tourism industry. Some of the ways this can be done includes:
Special offers to updated travelers about special deals including promo codes and partner-associated discounts
Rewards for booking through your travel agency with incentivized programmes for future travel
Travel tips for helpful information about the area they’re visiting, what to pack, currency exchange, and more
- Customer surveys
You can learn so much from your customer engagements – information that can be used to better address your business operations for future campaigns. Using the airline SMS or airline chatbot, you can gather customer feedback and insight through quick and easy surveys.
There are so many uses of SMS API for travel, but the benefits for both airlines and customers are extensive. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits:
Convenience: Travelers are already on their phones, so you’re meeting them where they are, and, with SMS API, there’s no need for Wi-Fi connectivity, and customers can contact you without extra charges, even abroad.
Cost savings: This reduces operational costs through automation, freeing up time for employees to focus on more productive tasks.
Real-time support: The two-way SMS API offers 24hour support, anywhere in the world, which means flight delays and emergencies are quickly attended to.
Self-service: With SMS API’s two-way messaging service, customers can book flights and accommodation themselves without human interaction.
Customer loyalty: Modern customers want to engage on digital platforms and by offering them airline SMS services, they are more likely to establish brand loyalty.
Clickatell offers a secure global network to reliably send SMS messages to your customers, expanded to include a response from your customers and begin to adopt chat. If you’re looking to for a robust airline business messaging service, then get in touch with Clickatell.
SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.