Planning a trip can be stressful. From closing the loop on booking processes to managing flight schedules to the research and comparison required to fully execute a trip, the traveler’s journey is one with many twists and turns.  

Travel and hospitality apps serve a variety of purposes, from helping users price hunt for flights, coordinate accommodations, provide information on target destinations, and locate resources while they’re abroad. Given the complex web of physical and virtual touchpoints users navigate as they travel, it’s crucial for them to receive communications from your company as quickly and efficiently as possible to streamline their travel experience from start to finish.

That’s where notifications come in!

Why do travel apps need push notifications and SMS?

Real-time communication is a must-have in the travel and hospitality industries. Whether your app specializes in bookings, hospitality, transportation, flights, touring, or some other element of the travel experience, your customers not only benefit from, but require timely updates around the factors that affect their travel plans.

When consumers hesitate to finalize their travel plans, you run the risk of them churning. There's a reason the travel industry has one of the highest abandoned cart rates across verticals.

That being said, your travel or hospitality app can benefit from messaging your users with a variety of transactional and marketing messages. These messages allow you to deliver a less stressful and more seamless combined digital and physical travel experience, which is bound to keep users coming back next time they need to make arrangements.

Let’s get into some key SMS and push examples in the travel space.  

1. Travel Deals

As your users begin the travel planning process, they’ll start by researching your offerings based on their target criteria. If you’re a hotel booking app, for example, these parameters might include location, price range, number of guests, etcetera. Targeting your promotional messages based on prior engagement patterns and known preferences is key here so that you avoid irritating your subscribers with irrelevant content.

With push and SMS, you can advertise your hottest travel deals using cross-channel behavior to personalize your message. The status of your travel offerings, such as the availability of extra hotel rooms or bus seats, can change quickly, which makes it all the more important to distribute promotions via these visible and real time channels.

With SMS, users are sensitive to over messaging, so you’ll want to be selective and only advertise the most urgent and enticing promotions in this channel.

With push, you don’t have to worry as much about over messaging, so feel free to promote deals more frequently here.

2. Confirmations

After a user has booked a trip or finalized a reservation with you, you should send them a message confirming that their transaction went through. SMS is an excellent channel for booking confirmations, because it’s more permanent than push, but still immediate.

Confirmations in this category can include bookings for flights, hotels, cars, tours, and more, and they should contain a summary of the user’s reservation and its key details.

These messages should be automated so they are received conveniently after users complete a transaction. Sending these messages via SMS is effective because this channel gives users a quick way to revisit essential information tied to their trip, even in the absence of an internet connection.

3. Itinerary Updates

Imagine a user is running late for their flight and is sprinting through the airport to find their gate. Suddenly, their phone dings as they receive a notification that their flight gate has changed. They swiftly change direction and double back towards the new gate.

In this example, receiving a push notification at exactly the right moment means the difference between a user missing and making their flight.

After a user has completed a booking or reservation with your company, you’ll want to help them track the relevant moving pieces throughout their post-purchase journey. Flights, logistics, and accommodations can change in a heartbeat, which is why it's crucial for users to receive these itinerary updates in real-time. These updates should convey urgency and highlight the details that have changed, including an updated date, time, and location in a simple and succinct format.

Itinerary updates can include the likes of transportation delays, cancellations, gate and terminal changes, and more.  

Let’s say a user’s flight has changed due to bad weather. Send them an immediate push update from your app with the relevant information.

“Hey there Maria, your flight is delayed due to unsafe conditions. Check its real-time departure status here. {link}”

Push is an excellent option for these alerts, as it’s the most efficient and visible way to notify users on the go. After an itinerary is published, you can set up an automated message to be triggered when plans change. Keeping your users informed through the inevitable delays and inconveniences that arise in the travel industry helps salvage customer satisfaction.

4. Reminders

Send appropriately timed reminders via either push or SMS to make sure travelers arrive at the right place at the right time and avoid travel snafus. Your airline can send users a push reminding them of their gate number an hour before they board. Your hotel app can send users an SMS with a link to their check-in page for tomorrow’s reservation. Your travel agency can send a friendly push that their museum tour requires attendees to wear masks.

Hi {first name}. We’re excited to welcome you today! Check in for your stay at {hotel name} with the following link {link}.

Reminder notifications can help users stay on top of their plans and show up prepared. It should go without saying, but these notifications must be customized, timed, and targeted to land effectively.

5. Cart Abandonment Notifications

The travel industry as a whole faces an 81 percent cart abandonment rate, which creates a struggle for marketers in this vertical. When sending cart abandonment notifications, it’s important to place yourself in your users’ mindset. Think about the best content and optimal timing to spur reengagement. Hook them by helping them visualize being on their dream vacation with the help of your product or service. In the traveler’s buyer journey, there’s plenty of room for creativity and emotional marketing tactics. You can even layer in an extra incentive like a discount to get users back to your bookings page.

Push is an excellent choice for abandoned cart notifications, as it gives you a way of reaching users in a direct and immediate way.

Hopefully these use cases spark some ideas for your travel app’s next messaging campaign!

To learn more about pairing the right use case with the right communication channel, take a look at the following article.

>>App Communication: When to use Push Notifications, Email, SMS, and In-App Messaging