The saying, “There’s an app for that” has been something we’ve all heard or even said in the recent years. As travel brands look to communicate with guests in the most personal way, new forms of marketing are being developed and refined to connect with travelers one-on-one.
Through this process, marketers have learned what’s not working in the travel industry, and how companies need to accept new marketing outlets instead of the current standards: broadcast marketing and mobile apps. They need to drill down to the most pure form of communication possible, while making it as easy as they can on the traveler. Conversational marketing will not only attract travelers, but also give them a personal experience driving customer loyalty.
Saying Goodbye to Broadcast Marketing
For years, companies have been operating under the assumption that with the right message and the right frequency, the brand will implant itself in a consumer’s mind. Does this work? Yes. Is it the most effective way to get your message across to a lot of people? Possibly. But do all consumers need to hear the same message for the same product? No.
Although your message may have a large reach, this is a one-way conversation. As times have changed and technology has moved to the forefront, consumers have evolved and want a personal connection with the ease of real-time communication. So, as great as reaching a large audience is, you’re lacking the two-way conversation that’s necessary in today’s world.
Are Apps Appealing?
With broadcast marketing out of the way, we’ve moved on to the idea of utilizing mobile apps to generate interest from travelers. This seems like a step in the right direction because the consumer needs to actively download an application (showing interest). Through the app, you’re reaching interested travelers and not sending a message to people who do not necessarily want to hear it.
Seems like a good system with your messages being distributed to an active and interested audience, so what’s the issue with apps? There are over 1.5 million in Apple’s App Store alone, meaning your property is going to have to stand out to attract travelers into downloading and seeing the information you’re sending. Say your app does get downloaded; quality is incredibly important as only 10% of apps downloaded are used more than once.
Ultimately, the app is going to help you reach a more targeted audience, but chances of the audience downloading and using your app are slim. Plus, travelers have to make the choice between Android or iOS, meaning that if you’re app is only made for one, you’re missing out on a good chunk of your audience.
Get the Message
Instead of sending a message across the board to everyone (broadcast marketing) or waiting for consumers to download an app, marketers are now turning to messaging (whether it is SMS, Facebook Messenger, etc.) to reach travelers. Many people wonder “why” SMS and other forms of direct messaging? Simple, it’s personal and it can be done in real-time.
Most travelers own a mobile phone that is already equipped with messaging. If you send a traveler a message, their phone lights up and you generate real-time engagement. If a traveler is staying at your property and they need something, a simple message can have a service (like a massage) reserved for them. If a guest is having a problem at your property, a message can get a maintenance person to fix it right away, making their stay positive and keeping your name away from negative online reviews.
Along with SMS, many users are also using Facebook Messenger, viewable on a phone, tablet, or computer which is crucial in the multi-device world that we live in. These messages result in action and show commitment to authenticity. With this authenticity, properties are able to create a one-on-one feeling while reaching their guests in a personalized way.
This messaging also provides a record of interactions you have with your guests. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is an easy way for your staff to know something about the guest whether they’re checking in or saying goodbye at the end of the stay.
Make it Count
It’s clear to see that the way we interact with consumers continues to change and it is important to keep messaging as personal as possible. Guests at your property want a personal connection before they arrive, during their stay, and after they go. It’s no secret that communicating through messaging will help create a more personalized experience as well as keep your team on top of guest needs.