SMS Marketing for Airlines: How does it work?

September 25, 2017 | Back to the Blog

These days, when it comes to marketing your business, you have to be creative.

Since there are so many different platforms on which to engage with potential customers, companies have to be much more competitive so that they can maintain an edge on the competition.

One area that is still growing is SMS (text) marketing, and one industry, in particular, is starting to embrace it in stride.

Airlines have been struggling recently due to rising costs and lack of customer loyalty. However, with some innovations in SMS marketing, that could change soon. To better understand why this is happening, let’s take a deep dive into the world of SMS marketing and see how it all comes together.

How Is SMS Marketing Integrated Into Airline Marketing?

How Is SMS Marketing Integrated Into Airline Marketing?

Many different airlines are using SMS marketing for a variety of reasons. Let’s look at the various ways that it can improve their bottom line.

Deal Notifications

Considering that most people choose to travel because it is affordable, if an airline can offer any kind of deals on flights then they usually get a lot of positive feedback. This way, a customer that wasn’t even thinking of traveling may be inclined to do so if the price is right.

Improved Loyalty

Since affordability is the number one factor when picking a flight, most people don’t fly with the same airline exclusively. However, thanks to SMS marketing, that could be changing. Many companies offer bonuses for repeat and loyal customers, such as seat upgrades, first option for boarding, and discounts on food and beverage service in the air. All of these perks can spur people to choose loyalty over cost since they are getting more value from their ticket.

Lower Costs

Rather than trying to manage a network of different communication methods to ensure that passengers are up to date on their flight and ticket information, airlines can use text, which costs next to nothing and can be sent to anyone within their subscriber list.

Some unique options that are related to air travel include receiving updates about flight delays and takeoff times, as well as getting your boarding pass via text. This not only makes it easier for the airline to reduce overall costs, but it again adds value to the customer’s experience.

More Reliable

The other great thing about texts is that it works on practically any cell phone. Even if a passenger has an old Nokia or flip phone, he or she can still receive the message. If it were an email, only smartphone users with sufficient coverage and connectivity would be able to get and open such a notification.

Higher Open Rate

Usually, about 20% of emails will get opened by consumers on a regular basis, thanks to the fact that most people receive tons of unnecessary email in their inbox every day. Since practically every business has an email subscription, it’s no longer as effective as it once was.

Comparatively speaking, customers open SMS messages 98% of the time. This means that you can get more eyes on your call to action than with any other kind of messaging platform.

Higher Satisfaction

Overall, about 75% of mobile users prefer to receive texts for things like discounts and alerts, which is part of the reason why the open rate is so high. Since it’s so much more convenient for them, it connects to them on a more positive level.

Instant Results

With emails and other forms of advertising, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding when people will see and how they will respond. With texts, however, the replies are usually instantaneous, meaning that you can get significantly better results, regardless of the content. Often, customers will respond in about 90 seconds or less. With email, that time frame is about 90 minutes or more.

Improved Loyalty

Rather than forcing people to sign up for programs that involve codes or cards, businesses are discovering that people would much rather get rewarded via text. Over 50% of mobile users would be open to subscribing to a text-based program, and about 90% of those that do report that they think that they are valuable.

Huge Potential

Since SMS marketing is still relatively new, many companies can corner their respective markets if they act quickly enough. As we are about to see, airlines have already seen the massive potential of this kind of engagement, and other businesses are sure to follow suit. Whether it’s a retail operation, a restaurant, or some other kind of customer service oriented enterprise, SMS marketing is largely untapped (for now).

Why Do Airlines Benefit from SMS Marketing?

Why Do Airlines Benefit from SMS Marketing?

The main reason that this industry can maximize the potential of this growing trend is that it has the most challenges when reaching out to customers. Since there can be any number of issues with a flight, including delays, gate changes, or updated seat assignments, all of these alerts and notifications can happen via text rather than email or a phone call.

Not only that, but many airlines are developing mobile apps because it makes everything more convenient for the user, and SMS notifications can be baked into that kind of software. This can include bonuses like frequent flyer mile upgrades, digital boarding passes, or seat assignments.

Two-Way Texting

One of the most significant limitations to this kind of marketing is that it’s only one way. Since everything is automated, it’s difficult to receive and address responses from the consumer. However, many people would prefer to be able to talk to a representative via text, rather than having to speak to them over the phone or potentially wait on hold forever.

Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue are currently experimenting with a two-way option, using two kinds of customer service reps to handle both inbound calls and text messages. If the system works, then it could be a game changer.

What’s even better about trying out this kind of system is that it’s better for the company as well. One rep can handle multiple conversations at once via text, meaning that they can offer faster responses and reduce the workload by a substantial margin. Overall, it’s a win-win situation for the consumer and the airline.

Bottom Line

When it comes to customer service, making things as convenient as possible is always a major bonus, and airlines are trying as hard as possible to add new levels of convenience to the flying process. As a result, there could be a sizeable shift in the industry as people start taking notice of the added value that comes from SMS marketing and loyalty programs.

Outside of the air travel business, there is a world of potential out there for any company looking to make an impact with its customers. SMS marketing adds value to your brand, and it is a fresh and exciting way to engage with your audience. Best of all, it’s cheaper and more effective than other forms of marketing, which is why you should adopt an SMS strategy ASAP.


Are you ready to try SMS Marketing yourself? Start sending mass text messages with Mobile-Text-Alerts now for free! No credit card required. Try for as long as you need!

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