What is the impact of text and messaging apps on travel?

Phocuswright

There has been a significant increase in the use of mobile messaging among travelers, according to a new report. Travelers aged 18 to 44 are driving the use of mobile messaging. Nearly half of U.S. travelers used text messaging and more than three in 10 used chat apps to share their travel experiences in 2015, up significantly from previous years.

"Chat, Shop, Buy: Messaging as the New Traveler Medium," a new report from travel industry research company Phocuswright, analyzes the use of text and messaging apps among U.S. travelers, and the impact they will have on travel planning, booking and experiencing.

"Travelers' use of mobile messaging has risen dramatically, and the impact on travel – from shop and book to experience and share – will only grow," said Douglas Quinby, Phocuswright's vice president of research.

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Apart from mobile messaging services and platforms that enable travelers to share their trip experiences, numerous entrants have emerged within the growing field of trip planning via mobile devices and a chat-based user experience.

In addition, mobile messaging represents an obvious opportunity for travel brands to offer on-demand traveler support. In the hospitality segment, a slew of startups have stepped in to facilitate guest relations via instant messaging, Phocuswright reports.

Some brands have used mobile messaging to identify and remedy missteps with the app design process, reports Adobe Digital Marketing. For example, one brand discovered issues with app functionality after raising awareness and watching use increase. In this case, messaging helped highlight the fact that functionality was buried in a menu and should be made more prominent.

Hyatt has become the first travel brand to begin testing Facebook’s messaging app as a customer service tool, reports Travel Tripper. Although the chain has been using social media to interact with customers since 2009 (including private messaging through its Facebook page), this recent development demonstrates Hyatt’s commitment to being on the forefront of engaging with guests on the platforms they themselves are using. Through Facebook Messenger, customers can communicate with brands just like they communicate with their friends.

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As travelers prepare to get back on the road, hotels can take steps to keep their guests feeling safe.

The additional steps are meant to ensure the long-term success of its owners as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease and guests return to hotels.

The product allows hotels to check guests in with no physical or material contact between the guest and the front-desk agent.