Leisure & Hospitality International - Spring 2015 - 47

From the rural regions throughout India to the skyscrapers of
New York, dependency on smartphones, tablets and feature
phones has become a way of life for people nearly everywhere
in the world. The increased mobile interaction that people
have on their always-connected devices has grown beyond person-to-person communications and has developed into a realm
where consumers expect personal experiences with businesses
and brands. The travel and hospitality industries, in particular,
are on the forefront of this demand for enhanced mobile engagement - a natural evolution, as people on the go are more
inclined to interact on a device sitting at the tip of their fingers.
Companies in the travel industry have
the unique ability to use mobile as a
resource to provide each customer with
personalized services that make travel
more convenient and enhance their
experiences. It's become the norm for
travelers to use mobile devices to monitor flight statuses, check into hotels
or use location-based services to find
restaurants while in unfamiliar territory. Additionally, the increased adoption
of technologies that allow consumers
to store credit cards, coupons, boarding passes and entertainment tickets
on their mobile devices has accelerated the need for companies to react to
customers' growing expectations for
mobile interaction.
Consequently, brands looking to
increase customer engagement - and
subsequently loyalty - must have a
mobile strategy that provides travelers
with personalized content wherever
they are and on whatever device they
are using. To deliver personalized
content, companies need to leverage
the mobile-context intelligence that's
gathered from a user's mobile device

when he or she opts in. This information includes location, communication
preferences, mobile network, device,
shopping patterns and more. This
information enables companies to
treat each customer as a "market of
one" by tailoring messages according
to individual desires, needs and travel
behaviors. The more relevant and applicable the message, the more likely it
is to spur customer engagement.
For example, a rental car company
could send an automatic check-in
notification to its customer via SMS,
email, etc., upon the customer landing
in a nearby airport. Then, if the traveler
replies "yes," an automatic vehicle
upgrade offer or check-in confirmation
could be sent to the customer's mobile
device, turning a routine customer
process into a streamlined, expedited
and enhanced customer experience.
Mobile context also can help companies cater to the market of one by
selecting the most effective communication channel for reaching a particular
individual, whether it is through SMS,
push notifications, email or a combi-

nation of channels. When it comes to
choosing a communication method,
Harris Research shows that 64 percent
of consumers with texting capabilities
prefer to use texting over voice as a
customer-service channel.
However, without mobile context
brands are not able to determine if a
specific customer is part of the majority who prefer SMS messaging or if the
customer has another preferred mode
of communication. Furthermore, mobile technologies are able to escalate
time-sensitive communications if the
customer does not respond to a notice
via a particular channel. For example, if
a hotel spa does not receive a response
from a customer after sending an
appointment reminder via email, an
automated system can escalate the
notification to go out through a text
message that asks the customer to reply with the letter "C" to confirm. This
multichannel communication system
prevents scheduling mishaps or other
disruptions in experience.
The companies most likely to see
success in brand loyalty and customer engagement are those that tailor
messages and notifications by using
mobile context to deliver the right
message at the right time. Whether
before, during or after travel, brands
and companies must take advantage
of mobile to build relationships with
customers and provide enhanced and
personalized interaction.
Todd Thayer is vice president
of product management,
enterprise and intelligence
solutions at Syniverse. Visit
www.syniverse.com.

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Leisure & Hospitality International - Spring 2015 - Cover3
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