Travel is coming back in a big way as restrictions are lifted and people are able to scratch that wanderlust itch. American Airlines expects 47 of its top 50 corporate accounts to start traveling again this year in a promising sign for business travel (Wall
Street Journal), and Hilton's CEO said that Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend was the busiest its hotels have been in the Covid era, with 93% of rooms occupied. (CNBC)
Travel and hospitality providers who embraced contactless payment and communications options pre-Covid were able to continue to collect from and communicate with the sparse travelers still out there – meaning revenue was still coming in albeit less – while
businesses that relied on other payment methods fell behind. Now, as people take to the air, land and sea to explore the world again, they’re more careful than ever when it comes to touching public devices. Options like paying by SMS message from a mobile
phone enable wary travelers to only touch their own device and quickly complete a transaction – whether it’s paying for a reservation, going out to eat, or admission to a site or attraction.
Recent findings from Everyware among its travel industry clients support the return to normal travel. Their findings show an uptick of approximately 25-30% in reservation bookings from February to May 2021.
In addition to making payments, contactless solutions like paying by text mean the travel and tourism business interacting with each customer have a direct line of communication to the palm of their hand. From sharing hotel upgrade options or add-ons to
packages reserved, to alerting customers to reopening and welcoming guests again – a text message has an extremely high open and response rate. Additionally, it helps to diminish chargebacks and keep travelers feeling accommodated and happy.
Other ways a business can interact with their travel customers by text message, aside from solely collecting payments include:
- Promote on-site events or amenities
- Share interesting facts about the local destination
- Drive ratings and reviews with automated checkout texts
- Send personalized messages before, during and after a trip
- Connect with travelers in their preferred language
These added benefits result in highly satisfied customers who are more likely to visit again in the future.
Businesses who weren’t aware of paying by text message or hadn’t used it before are learning of its benefits quickly. They’re leaning on it as travelers demand the option. Accepting cash, travelers’ checks or even a physical credit card is becoming obsolete,
and touching a shared keypad is simply undesirable. Any business looking to attract today’s jetsetters and globetrotters needs to embrace paying and communicating by text as the future.