Skift Take

Mobile messaging is "hot" with travel marketers. But nobody seems to have cracked the code on a killer use case just yet.

This week we’re looking at the expanding range of travel uses for mobile messaging apps.

As consumers spend more time in apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat, more travel marketers (like travel agents) are testing ways to engage customers and deliver services using such applications. Now it appears the hotel industry is taking notice. How are hoteliers using these apps to bolster guest services? Read on below for more details.

Hotel Marketers Look to Messaging Apps to Engage Guests
Messaging apps are all the rage with travel marketers. As more consumers spend more time using apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat, travel brands are realizing the format offers an interesting opportunity for more personalized 1:1 customer service. This is particularly true with hotels, as brands like Aloft and Holiday Inn Express have been experimenting with using messenger programs (and emojis) to engage travelers and deliver on-site guest services. Read more

Google Debuts New “Real-Time” Ad Product
Timing is critical when it comes to digital marketing. This is particularly true for the travel industry, where products are often highly perishable. A new ad product from Google, called “Real-Time Ads,” may help with the issue. The new ad unit makes it possible for marketers to deliver their message instantly in coordination with relevant TV moments. The company suggests the tool will be especially useful for big live TV spectacles like the Super Bowl, Olympics and Oscars. Read more

Travel Brands Sign Up for Google’s App Indexing Project
As consumers rely more on mobile devices for research and purchases, it’s becoming harder for search engines like Google to provide mobile-friendly search results, particularly for content within mobile apps. Google’s response to the problem has been a massive push for something called “app indexing,” a technique that allows the search engine to find data within mobile apps and deliver it in search results. This week saw two new travel marketers, HotelTonight and Chimani (a developer of National Park tourism apps) agree to let Google index their apps in the company’s search results. Read more

Hotel Loyalty Faces Challenges Amidst Growing Online Booking Trend
Hotel loyalty programs are facing a period of dramatic change. With more loyalty offers than ever before, growing market power among intermediaries like Expedia and Priceline and concerns about the devaluation of program points, travelers and hotel executives are struggling for ways to keep up. This article offers a good snapshot of the current state of the industry and how it’s been impacted by shifts on traveler behavior Read more

Marketers Highlight Travel Industry’s Top Integrated Ad Campaigns 
Given most consumers’ passion for travel, creating compelling advertising would seem like a no brainer for most travel brands. Yet designing engaging digital advertising that also produces business results is harder than it looks. For those looking for inspiration as they plan 2016 campaigns, here’s a look at some of the best integrated and interactive travel advertising campaigns of the past few years. Among the brands included are Expedia, Turkish Airlines and, among others Read more

Google Expands Its VR “Expeditions” Field Trip Program
Virtual reality programs continue to gain steam with travel marketers. A number of brands have been experimenting with such VR campaigns, as hardware capabilities and consumer interest in the technology continue to increase. Google, one of the early proponents of VR tech, is further increasing its capabilities this week, launching an expanded version of its Expeditions Program, to offers virtual reality field trips for school classrooms. Read more

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Tags: content marketing, Digital Marketing

Photo credit: Facebook's Messenger is just one example of the mobile messaging apps attracting significant interest from consumers and marketers alike. Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr

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