How the travel and hospitality industry can experience huge surges in bookings with Inbox Commerce
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How the travel and hospitality industry can experience huge surges in bookings with Inbox Commerce

Published : October 27, 2023 | Updated : December 08, 2023

What if you could exponentially increase conversions and customer engagement by adopting a single innovative technology in your marketing stack? What if minimizing redirects from emails and notifications to your app/site significantly reduced lead leakage, boosting profit margins?

You can do all of the above via Inbox Commerce.

This marketing technology is overarching in its application across customer touchpoints. Let’s see how Inbox Commerce can drive conversions in the travel and hospitality sectors.

What is Inbox Commerce?

Inbox Commerce emerges as a cutting-edge breakthrough, revolutionizing how brands market products/services, engage customers and conduct transactions within messaging apps like RCS, WhatsApp, and email.

At its core, this approach aims to streamline the customer experience, offering seamless connectivity with brands. Users can effortlessly purchase products/services without the need for redirects to websites or apps.

RCS, WhatsApp, and AMP for email stand tall as the foundational elements of Inbox Commerce, forming a dynamic tech trio that reshapes marketing and conversion strategies.

This innovation infuses website and app-like functionalities into RCS messages, WhatsApp chats, and email inboxes. It empowers users to perform myriad actions – from product searches, cart additions, and purchases to tracking deliveries, providing feedback, gaming, booking appointments, tickets, seats, and beyond – within RCS, WhatsApp, and email confines. In the immersive Inbox Commerce experience, clicking CTAs and navigating multiple web pages becomes obsolete.

RCS (Rich Communication Services)

RCS is an advanced messaging protocol to enhance text messaging and multimedia communication on mobile devices. It’s a standard in telecommunications, crafted and backed by leading mobile operators, device makers, and tech giants like Google.

RCS turns the regular SMS into a multi-functional marketing tool. Brands can use RCS messages to initiate and continue two-way conversations between brands and customers.

Brands can leverage read receipts, typing indicators, group messaging, and sharing high-quality images, videos, and files within the messaging app. Users can talk directly to brands and leverage multiple site or app features within an RCS message. They can enjoy an interactive and feature-rich messaging experience without downloading another app.

Several surveys show that 70-80% of consumers engage with brands through private messaging rather than promotional emails and banner ads. However, SMS only offers one-way communication, allows no visuals, and limits text to 160 characters. RCS is the perfect solution – businesses can send customers rich, contextually relevant content.

Here’s how RCS can help the travel and hotel industries maximize their marketing ROI:

Better security and control over their information

Customers would want to keep their travel information private, especially related to specific jobs or industries. RCS messaging addresses this, helping to implement security mechanisms like two-factor authentication.

ADP’s two-factor authentication RCS campaign was designed to provide its customers with an extra layer of security by allowing them to verify their accounts through interactive and rich messages. It ensured that no one but the specific customer could access their itinerary and bookings.

Showcasing travel plan promotions

Did someone book a flight to Beirut? If so, display travel plan packages – including bookings for transport, itineraries, and even entries to an event or two in the city. Offer special tour packages with limited-time discounts. Utilize high-res images and GIFs within RCS messages through Inbox Commerce to attract customers.

Manage reservations and confirmations

Booking.com customers can view, share, and add their upcoming reservations to their calendars from RCS messages.

Customers can access your product’s functions without logging into a website or app, offering the utmost convenience.

Promote deals and make them more accessible

SnapTravel allows users to make hotel reservations at highly discounted rates over messaging. Users can search, view, make reservations, and chat with a live agent right within the message window.

When customers receive a discount and can redeem it the easiest way possible, they will instantly associate your brand with a great user experience. They will come back for more.

Enabling single-click check-ins and check-outs

Hassle-free hotel check-ins? Just open your Messages inbox!

There is no need to click around on multiple web pages or app interfaces to check in or out —all that can be done from within an RCS message, thanks to the versatile functionality of Inbox Commerce. With no click-throughs or redirects, the experience becomes hassle-free, enhancing the user experience enormously.

WhatsApp in Inbox Commerce

With WhatsApp Business, brands can communicate directly with their customers on a platform generally used for casual conversations. With 2 billion users and a 98% open rate, WhatsApp is the ideal channel for marketers to deploy bulk messages.

Like RCS, WhatsApp Business aims to establish direct and personalized lines of contact between brands and buyers.

Brands can use WhatsApp to send promotional messages, updates, and offers, providing a more intimate and real-time connection with their audience.

One of WhatsApp’s most brand-friendly features is ‘Click to Chat’. It lets them integrate a direct chat link on their websites or social media platforms, and users can access the brand’s WhatsApp channel by clicking on a single icon within a site or app.

If a brand has to send particular messages to specific groups of users (based on customer segmentation) instead of individual customers, they can use WhatsApp’s broadcast lists. It has never been easier to disseminate marketing content, updates, and announcements to specific customer segments.

Businesses can also easily integrate payment gateways with WhatsApp, so customers can buy anything they want without leaving the app. The official WhatsApp API can incorporate payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Razorpay, etc.

Here’s how WhatsApp Business can help with accelerating conversions in the travel and hospitality industry:

Deliver time-bound deals and discounts

The HolidayPirates travel company chose WhatsApp as a faster and more scalable channel for communication. They intended to use the app to deliver time-sensitive deals to customers.

By the time a customer opens a conventional email with a deal, it may have become invalid (deal valid only for the next 3 hours!). But since people check their WhatsApp messages all the time, they will be able to see the brand message at the moment it is sent.

HolidayPirates’ adoption of the WhatsApp Business Platform led to a 53% increase in WhatsApp subscribers in 3 months, a 97% message open rate, CTR rates up to 40%, a 900% increase in subscriber engagement compared to email, and increased traffic to vendor partners.

Thanks to Inbox Commerce, brands can use high-res images, GIFs, videos, image carousels, and more to advertise their offerings via WhatsApp, including deals.

Understanding the audience with more precise data

User actions within an Inbox Commerce-driven WhatsApp channel give the closest possible look at their browsing behavior and preferences. Every option they choose on WhatsApp directly indicates what a user wants, and this information can be accessed by brands using WhatsApp Business.

This data is invaluable, as it helps with more granular customer segmentations – essential for effective hyper-personalization strategies.

With Inbox Commerce, you see and know your customers more closely than before.

Disseminate essential information easily and quickly

Visit Valencia Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Valencia, Spain, needed a way to talk to tourists and residents during the famous Las Fallas festival. They needed a way to inform tourists and residents about the festival events and encourage folks visiting to stay after the festival and see more of Valencia.

The NGO also wanted to manage crowds, especially in the city center, as well as to publicize smaller businesses and local attractions.

The Foundation did all the above by leveraging a WhatsApp Business chatbot called FallasBot, and the results were incredible – 99% cost savings per interaction, 82% re-engagement rate, and 41x increased customer engagement. The bot helped 2 million+ visitors with easy access to on-demand information.

WhatsApp Business comes with a plethora of features that let brands showcase information in attractive, eye-catching ways.

Up your personalization game

Forget generic recommendations. None of your customers have time for those. If a brand is still pushing ‘regular’ recommendations for everyone, customers will ignore it and find their itinerary elsewhere (there are millions of travel vloggers on Instagram, remember?).

Emirates Airlines realized this and created a unique chatbot experience within their display ads. Folks could ask about their trip and get personalized travel recommendations within the ad.

Brands can do the same thing with WhatsApp Business. For example, if someone books a flight to and/or a hotel, the travel company can send recommendations on WhatsApp as soon as the tickets are confirmed. Ask the customer what they want from their trip – “Do you want a great sightseeing experience? Amazing dining? Do you want to see the city’s history through art?” etc.

Based on the answers, send them tailored itineraries so they get to see sights and indulge in experiences appealing to their specific preferences. Make traveling easier, less effort-intensive, and infinitely more rewarding.

Offer support for multiple languages

If you are serving an international customer base, an easy way to ensure a great customer experience is to interact with them in their chosen language.

WhatsApp Business helped Khan Academy to launch a multilingual chatbot to help students with FAQs and learning tools. Travel and hospitality brands can do the same to widen their audience reach.

Give people the choice to interact in their chosen language, and you’ll automatically become more memorable to them. You’ll be the brand they return to because you’re trying to give them an experience that makes them feel at home.

AMP for email

AMP for email technology allows brands to infuse regular emails with website and app-like features. It lets users accomplish many of the actions for which they would have to visit a site or download an app – searching for products, comparing and ordering them, completing payments, filling in forms, booking seats/rooms, leaving reviews, redeeming deals, looking at maps and so much more.

The bottom line is that AMP emails make users get the best out of a brand without ever redirecting to the brand’s site or app. No redirects mean no lead leakage and lower bounce rates.

Booking tickets and selecting seats

Inbox Commerce can give users a website or an app-like experience within email. Customers can do anything they usually do on a travel/hospitality website or app without leaving their inboxes.

A prime example of this is customers’ ability to book tickets and choose their seats without leaving their email. Brands can even include live seat layouts (updated dynamically to show available seats), push personalized recommendations, showcase bundled upgrade options, and allow quick bookings – all within the inbox.

Offering real-time tracking and updates to users

Inbox Commerce allows businesses to insert live trackers within an email body. Users can track their flights, trains, cabs, buses, and other transportation within email – no more visits to an app or a web page for updated wait times and pickup points. Include live map locations, nearby news, traffic and weather conditions, and more. They can also make changes as required within the inbox.

If a customer is looking for a travel plan, help them buy it with a couple of clicks from the inbox itself.

Adding packages and extras to cart

Inbox Commerce emails come with design and functional elements that let businesses up their marketing game to enrich the user experience. One such significant feature is the ability to ‘Add to Cart.’

With these emails, your customers can easily select packages from travel promotions and add them to their cart for check-out. They can also add, remove, customize, and update their tour packages straight from the inbox, replicating a website/app UX.

Don’t forget to show similar package options and related travel arrangements that match a customer’s interest. It is an easy way for travel brands to effectively up-sell/cross-sell their products and services.

Offering powerful search and customer support

Insert AI and autocomplete-enabled search bars into email so that users explore options and questions to resolve doubts about their plans and packages. Autocomplete brings up the most frequently asked questions (concerning keywords). You can also include FAQ sections and chatbots in the inbox to help folks with their queries.

It is entirely possible and easy to provide 24/7 interactive chatbots so that customers get the best-in-class experience within an email. Users can get instant help and suggestions without clicking through to a website or calling a helpline.

Collecting customer feedback quickly and easily

Embed survey and feedback forms within messages. You can use preset elements like star ratings and radio buttons or offer a text field so that customers can leave their impressions and opinions in their own words.

Reviews and ratings by fellow travelers matter a lot – they help first-time customers make an informed decision quickly.

Inbox Commerce can help your business soar higher

Inbox Commerce isn’t a theoretical concept. It’s here, and it works.

Netcore clients, all major brands, have deployed Inbox Commerce and delighted their customers. Inbox Commerce changes the marketing game at its roots by bringing ease, convenience, and novelty to people’s messaging and email inboxes.

If you’re already curious, contact us. Let’s talk about leaving the competition behind with innovative and profitable marketing. Understand how you can benefit from our expertise and experience.

Serving over 6,500 customers across 40 countries, Netcore delivers over 1 billion inbox experiences every day – including 500 million emails and 700 million push notifications. Netcore’s AI is trained on 25 billion+ interactions from 1,300+ eCommerce stores, making it an invaluable asset for global brands.

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