Announcing a New Channel: SMS
Ten months ago, TourOpp introduced the first automated messaging platform for tour and activity operators using the popular messaging app, WhatsApp. The service allowed companies to streamline the whole customer service interaction with travelers after they had booked.
We were thrilled and excited to see how much excitement this brought to the industry, especially considering the difficult times that most of these businesses have gone through. However, we knew we couldn't stop there. For all the popularity that WhatsApp enjoys, there are still around 20 countries in the world where SMS still dominates text messaging. The United States, Canada, and Australia are probably the most significant examples of this.
In Marketing 101 they tell you that your brand, your advertising and communications have to be where customers you are. Therefore, we are really excited to announce that all TourOpp GO! customers are now also able to automate their communication with travelers using SMS.
Why do so some countries still rely on regular text messages?
There are many factors that affect WhatsApp's low adoption in these countries. In the USA, for example, SMS was unlimited in most plans offered by carriers there since way before WhatsApp was even available!
Then, when people wanted to chat in groups, they just started using apps like GroupMe. And now, whenever someone wants to share more content than just text, Rich SMS allows them to do that in most smartphones. Why download an extra app when you have everything you need right there, right? Will this change in the future? Only time will tell.
So who will benefit from this new channel?
This new channel is not only important to tour and activity operators based in countries where SMS is dominant. This is helpful to any tour and activity operator in any country receiving travelers from these countries as well (think of tour and activity operators in Los Cabos or Cancun, where at least 40% of travelers are coming from the United States and Canada).
And don't be confused, the fact that people are traveling internationally does NOT mean that they will stop receiving your text messages. People who rely on SMS want to be connected when they travel too and that's why there are now apps like Google Voice or Google Fi that allow you to receive SMS even when you are abroad (as long as there's an internet connection, which is the same limitation that other messaging apps will have too). Some carriers in the USA, like T-Mobile, even include unlimited SMS in your plan at no extra charge.
So if your customers are not using WhatsApp, you have to be where they are and not expect that they adapt for you. If they are using SMS, your time has come for you to save time by automating your communication and see how many more bookings, reviews and referrals you can get.
If you are a tour operator that is looking to get started, click here to schedule a call.