In a busy and complex world, where everyone and everything is connected by technology, experiences matter more than ever. Usability directly impacts the quality of an experience, while great experiences create the loyalty and trust that enable brands to grow and companies to thrive. Usablenet’s mission is to be a strategic partner to clients by creating and delivering great experiences across all channels.
|19 DECEMBER 2011||
Beyond the app and mobile web strategy -- what else should brands do with mobile?
This is a guest article by Jason Taylor, head of platform strategy and innovation at Usablenet.
Because travelers are inherently “mobile”, it’s natural that travel companies have been early adopters in mobile, often blazing the trail in the mobile industry.
They were the first to have a transactional mobile site, first to leverage mobile apps, first to reach a global audience, and so forth.
By understanding the mobile traveler’s behavior, companies can leverage different mobile technologies to create new experiences that ease a traveler’s journey.
A notification strategy, for instance, is a great way to capitalize on existing technologies that can benefit the mobile traveler.
This article outlines top tips on how travel brands can use push notifications, SMS, and email notifications to maximize their customer engagement in the travel space.
1. Pushing information to plugged-in users
Push notifications is a native functionality in an app, where data can be sent to a user’s smartphone based on their location. Even if the app is closed, these messages can pop up on the user’s home screen to alert users with targeted messages.
This provides an effective way for travel companies to notify consumers of the latest travel warnings, deals, offers, flight changes, and more.
Delta Airlines is a great example of a travel company that has not only been successful in its overall mobile presence but has also effectively used push notifications that add value to the traveler.
In the era of smartphones, Delta recognized the importance of providing their customers with up-to-the-minute travel alerts, incorporating push notifications into their native app that immediately updates travelers with relevant flight information, warnings, deals, and more.
2. Texting campaigns have a real impact
With the rapid expansion of mobile broadband and wireless technology, travel companies have found that SMS allows them to effectively communicate with consumers in both a personal and timely manner.
Consumers must opt in to receive SMS alerts, ensuring that travel brands only send messages to consumers who are receptive to receiving them. SMS is an extremely effective means for travel companies to interact with consumers on an ongoing basis to deepen brand loyalty.
The Hilton Hotel Group has successfully leveraged text messaging to increase guest numbers to its hotels and build customer loyalty. SMS enables Hilton to instantly send out important marketing messages such as on-site specials and promotions, at the most appropriate time of day.
As a result of their text messaging efforts, the hotel has seen a 10-25% increase in offer redemptions, an increase in conversion that is a direct result of putting relevant content in front of the right people.
Similarly, Delta Airlines uses text messages as a way to keep travelers up to speed on crucial flight information. Users can choose to subscribe and get updates on all flights, or receive a one-time alert on a specific flight.
Both options provide users with up-to-the minute alerts on flight cancellations, delays, and schedule changes.
3. Maximizing email notifications in mobile
With more than 20% of email marketing messages read on mobile devices, it’s essential for travel brands make sure that all links users visit from their smartphones direct them to a mobile optimized view of the site.
Additionally, deep links, which are links that bring users to a subsection of the website beyond the homepage, must also be optimized for mobile in order to maximize the traffic that is driven to the site from mobile devices.
For example, if a smartphone user follows a link from an email campaign that directs them to the standard desktop page view, they are likely to be discouraged by the slower load time and having to zoom in to properly engage with the promotion.
This reduces the change that the customer will convert and will decrease the likelihood of them engaging with the brand via mobile in the future.
US Airways is a great example of a travel company that has been leveraging the advantages of notifications. Through its flight notification system, BeNotified, travelers can sign up to receive emails with up-to-the minute departure, arrival, delay and cancellation information.
With email marketing messages increasingly read from mobile phones, all travel companies must ensure that their email notifications support links that direct readers to a version of the site properly formatted, regardless of the device they’re using at the time.
4. Use mobile to deliver timely content to travelers
Simply offering an optimized mobile site is no longer sufficient in fully engaging and retaining customers. In order to set themselves apart from competitors, travel companies must find new ways to actively engage and add value to their customers who are constantly on-the-go.
Offering an optimized mobile presence is a first step, but travel companies can build on this by actively delivering relevant information to the customer in a timely and effective manner.
Strategically incorporating tactics like push notifications, SMS, and email notifications allow travel companies to do just that.