Skift Take

Messaging positions travel suppliers to address queries on a real-time basis and nearly instantaneously, and it gives travel operations the opportunity to coordinate on-site efforts in new and powerful ways.

Earlier this month we launched a new report in our Skift Trends Reports service, The Future of Messaging, Part 1.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.

While the push is on to capture messaging audiences, there are two significant global players among the platforms currently succeeding at that drive, and Facebook owns both of them. Between the company’s WhatsApp platform and Messenger, the social network is poised to command a wide segment of market as messaging emerges within the travel space.

Travel companies are especially incorporating the rapidly growing options of third-party messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others. The number of texts sent daily on WhatsApp, for instance, come to about 30 billion — already exceeding the estimated daily tally of 20 billion SMS, MMS, and MIM text messages. The following chart shows the growth in messaging as compared to other online social and communications options.


Click to enlarge

Note that messaging apps are outpacing timeline- and feed-based models — in this case, perennially popular platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Some social network platforms are making moves in response. Twitter announced last year that it was lifting the character-cap on its direct messaging feature, for example, from 140 to 10,000. It was a significant enough shift that Wired declared the platform “just became a messaging app.” The move helps reposition Twitter to better compete with Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, and the like.

Meanwhile, startups such as Slack are pursuing — and reaching — specific user sets in significant ways. Designed for large-group use, the app was initially pitched to business teams. Teams formed around travelers from, say, the African diaspora and travelers that stay on the road as a kind of nomadic lifestyle, however, are also finding a place for their conversations within Slack’s subscription ecosystem. And, as Slack’s user base doubles every three months (according to recent analysis) competing services are already emerging, one example being HipChat.

And while new and hungry startups are likely to flood the travel-messaging space in the short term, older travel brands such as Kayak are also adding modules such as Kayak Snap, a forthcoming SMS-based travel service.

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Tags: messaging, research reports

Photo credit: Facebook's Messenger app. Karlis Dambrans / Flickr

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