By Judd Wheeler
We live in a world that is experiencing constant disruption—taxi companies that have no taxis (Uber, Lyft), accommodation providers without real estate (Airbnb), and movie houses with no cinemas (Netflix, Amazon). Likewise, now that smartphones have become the number one travel research tool, the 122-year-old marketing funnel that many businesses have been living on is dead.
That is why your motorcoach travel and tour business must include mobile efforts at every step of the way in reaching new customers. Watching customers migrate between devices (TV to smartphone to desktop) is like watching a squirrel with ADHD in a forest of oak trees. However, the ultimate destination is the same: Buy. Own. Advocate.
To accomplish this, first you need to start with a mobile-friendly website. Most everything you do around mobile will drive traffic back to this site. If it’s not mobile-friendly, customers will turn away and go to a competitor’s website. Forty percent of shoppers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a travel site. More than 50 percent will leave and never come back if a site is not mobile-optimized.
Second, mobile-friendly email can spark awareness about your current offers and amenities. More than 60 percent of all emails are now opened on mobile devices, and 70 percent of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well. Unfortunately, too many businesses don’t check for mobile optimization and therefore miss these consumers.
Finally, nothing beats an in-the-moment message like an SMS. Text messages have a 98 percent open rate compared to email at 22 percent. Additionally, the average response time for a legitimate email is about 90 minutes compared to 90 seconds for a text message. Welcoming and onboarding customers, promoting amenities, and sending updates are best accomplished with SMS messages.
The days of marketing generalized messages based on age demographics is gone. Everyone wants and expects a personal experience. To deliver that, mobile is a requirement. It is the only marketing channel that your customers keep within arm’s length 24/7—replacing their watch, alarm clock, radio, and camera. The smartphone is the most personalized device they own, and it now surpasses scrapbooks as the number one item they’d go back into a burning house to save.
It’s time to be there the minute your customer needs you. It’s time to provide useful and timely information in an instant. It’s time to connect with mobile.
Judd Wheeler has nearly 25 years of experience in digital marketing and has consulted for hundreds of companies.