The power of text message marketing has been leveraged to boost business at Premier Travel. Abra Dunsby speaks to the company’s director Paul Waters to find out more
SMS is the UK’s fastest growing marketing channel last year, Statista revealed that the number of mobile phone users would surpass five billion by 2019.
Not only do most people in the world have a mobile phone but they’re also receptive to it being used for marketing.
According to Statista, SMS marketing has become the fastest growing marketing channel in the UK, with more than 33 million people now opting in to receive business text messages.
Premier Travel is extolling the benefits of SMS marketing, having rolled it out across all its retail shops. “We’ve been using it for two years,” says the company’s director Paul Waters.
“The Travel Network Group’s group marketing director Si Morris-Green did a presentation for us a while back talking about its success for other members, so we thought we’d test it out.”
Premier Travel now texts its clients around once a month, either highlighting a promotional offer or an in-store event.
“We use SMS to whet people’s appetites and drive them in to the retail branches,” Waters says.
“We know that once we have the customers in front of us, we can convert in to a sale.”
For Waters, the perks of SMS marketing are manifold: “It’s instant. It’s even quicker to put together than a newsletter. Not all clients have email or social media, so it’s another way of reaching people – almost everyone has a mobile phone.
“A text message can also have more hype around it, encouraging clients to act now rather than later,” he adds.
More positive still is the fact that SMS marketing has led to a boost in bookings. “It’s easy to track success when we use SMS for events, as we can look at the number of attendees,” Waters says.
“We have regular meetings with store managers who say that it’s working well, and that clients have come in to book holidays because of text offers they’ve received.”
The texts are composed by Premier Travel’s marketing team and sent out via a system supplied by TTNG, as part of Premier Travel’s membership.
“The texts are short and snappy. It’s a relatively painless and cheap marketing process,” Waters muses.
Premier Travel uses SMS alongside other marketing methods including email and social media for a streamlined, multi-channel approach.
Plans are afoot for the agency to further refine and smarten up its SMS marketing, Waters confirms.
“We’re looking in to a new travel system which will give us a better ability via our CRM system to be more targeted with what we’re sending to who, segmenting data so we can send out cruise deals to cruise clients, for example.”
With a tactical, targeted approach on the agenda, no doubt SMS marketing will continue to bear fruit for Premier Travel and countless other agencies too.
“As 90% of text messages are read within three minutes, SMS marketing offers a huge amount of exposure for travel businesses.
Text messages work particularly well to raise awareness of events and flash sales, or to engage with customers through bespoke greetings for birthdays, national holidays and other special events.
Keep messages short (within 160 characters), attention grabbing, and always include a call to action and a way to unsubscribe.
Something like the following is perfect: "Our legendary sale is back! Enjoy £20 off all bookings until April 31, 2018. Call us on 01234 567890 to book an appointment today. T&Cs apply. Text STOP to stop."
Only use mobile phone data you have been given express permission to use for marketing purposes. This will work to satisfy the new GDPR requirements and to avoid annoying your customers.
Think about the best time to send your message. Evenings and weekends tend to work best. Try not to send messages on national holidays themselves – a text from a business on Christmas Day might seem a little too interfering. A nice “Season's Greetings” message sent a couple of days before would be fine.”