This week, we’re revisiting the future of messaging apps.

Increasingly used by consumers around the world to access a range of features like customer service, bill payment and mobile commerce, many of these so-called “messaging” apps now are about much more than messaging. Social giant Facebook, whose Messenger platform is among the most dominant in the U.S., has been rolling out a range of travel-related features like boarding passes and Uber reservations in recent months. Will app users (and brands) embrace theses features too?

Facebook Adds Boarding Pass Functionality to Messenger Platform
Facebook has grand ambitions to make its messenger service a fully-fledged platform for commerce, customer service and more. As noted in recent Skift investigations, the social giant is already experimenting with ways to let messenger users book an Uber direct from the app and enable brands to handle customer service. Messenger this week announced another layer of travel functionality to the service, partnering with KLM to let travelers receive flight updates and their boarding pass via the chat interface. Read more

Royal Caribbean CMO Discusses Digital Marketing, Millennials, in New Interview
Royal Caribbean is one of a number of brands in the cruise industry in the midst of a major overhaul of their product offering and marketing strategy. A recent interview with Jim Berra, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, provides some additional insight into how one of the industry’s most well-known brands is adapting its approach to address changing travel tastes and new demographics. Read more

Examining the Challenges of Visual Content Marketing for the Travel Industry
It’s probably no surprise by now that imagery plays a critical role in traveler’s decision-making process. But although many marketers realize the importance of such imagery, creating processes to source it, organize it and get the proper copyrights can be challenging. New research out this week reiterates this fact, providing a list of some key paint points facing visual marketers in the adventure travel sector. Read more

Dubai Airports Tests New Wearable App Strategy
As more airports experiment with ways to use mobile to enable new travel services, wearables like the Apple Watch are increasingly getting a second look. Dubai Airports, which oversees the city’s two main air travel hubs, is taking its mobile strategy to the next level with a new smartwatch program for Apple Watch and Android Wear devices. Device owners can access on-the-go information like real-time departure and arrival schedules, gate changes and baggage claim details. Read more

Search Engines Continue to Dominate Consumer Trip Planning
Channels like mobile and metasearch may be gaining ground with travelers conducting online trip research. But despite a growing range of options (and more travel company efforts to change behavior) recent research suggests search engines are still the de facto starting point. According to the research, which surveyed nearly 3,000 leisure travelers in the U.S. and Canada in Q1 2016, search engines far-surpassed property websites or OTAs as the starting point for trip planning. Read more

Air France-KLM Tests New In-Flight Entertainment, Connection, Services
Air France-KLM this week joins a growing range of airlines looking to overhaul their in-flight entertainment and internet services. The carrier is testing a new in-flight service that would allow passengers to access content like short videos, digital newspapers and magazines, shopping catalogs and destination info streamed via flyers’ personal devices. Read more

Photo Credit: Facebook is expanding the functionality of its Messenger app to include flight schedule information and boarding passes. Facebook