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To earn customers' brand loyalty, even the largest global travel brands are willing to spend big. Case in point: Hilton ponied up an estimated $100,000 or more to license one of the best-known songs of all time, "(I can't Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, for use in a commercial compelling consumers to "stop clicking around" and visit the hotel's website first. 

While satisfaction is certainly key to loyalty, opportunities exist beyond splashy ad campaigns for most travel brands. Advertising drives awareness, but data powers engagement... and, ultimately, engagement drives loyalty. To cultivate high-quality traveler data that can be used for high-impact marketing strategies, brands need to engage in as many meaningful digital interactions with their customers as possible – and digital messaging enables them to do that. 

Especially for travel brands looking to grow loyalty program memberships or boost direct bookings, an intelligent messaging strategy is the best avenue for cultivating customer data and driving long-term engagement. Here's why.

An App Alone Isn’t Enough

Across the travel and hospitality sectors, brands have handled changing consumer preferences head-on. Industry stakeholders have invested heavily in creating branded mobile apps that travelers want to download (and use) due to their high-value features: Apps from many of today's top hotel brands enable guests to book rooms, check in and out, and seamlessly manage their loyalty accounts.

Those functionalities provide obvious benefits to busy travelers, but the customer data pulled from app users is even more beneficial to the hotels themselves, since it can be used for personalized offers and other targeted marketing strategies designed to drive loyalty. The more its users engage with its app or website, the more (and better) data a travel brand can cultivate on users' preferences and behaviors, and the higher value offers it can send as a result. 

But it takes digital messaging – via interstitials (in-app pop up messages), browser push notifications, emails, and other message types – to keep customers coming back to interact with the app over time, even when they're not looking to book. And while some travel marketers mistakenly believe that app messaging is push-exclusive (that is, that they have no way to reach app users who don't opt-in for push notifications) that's far from the case. 

Beyond Emails & Opt-Ins

Armed with an intelligent "multi-channel" toolset, travel brands can automatically deploy offers directly via the channel the individual end user is most likely to engage with. In the process, they can lessen their reliance on email-only marketing campaigns (which are losing their ability to drive conversions in today's multi-device, mobile-first consumer landscape). 

By utilizing rich inbox functionality, which is akin to an email-like inbox inside an app, travel brands can reach more app users (opted-in, and not) and drive stronger outcomes: One global hotel brand example, has experienced read rates as high as 47% on their digital messages with a rich-inbox-backed strategy. Location-based offers are another tactic for converting on-the-move travelers: In its first "geofencing" campaign, the same hotel brand achieved open rates for location-based offers at 55% over their goal. 

On the back of engagement results like those above, brands can cultivate more high-value intel on travelers to deliver targeted offers and personalized content. Ultimately, the most loyal customers are the ones who feel consistently rewarded – and yes, satisfied – by their favorite brands. Becoming an individual traveler's favorite brand is the hard part; from there, digital messaging is how to capture greater customer data, and brand loyalty, in the long run.  

About OtherLevels

OtherLevels is a leading second-generation digital marketing platform with offices in San Francisco, London, Brisbane and Melbourne. OtherLevels is at the forefront of the enterprise marketing transformation being driven by the massive shift to mobile. The OtherLevels digital marketing platform enables marketers to engage and retain their audience across desktop, mobile web and apps. For more information, please visit, OtherLevels Holdings Limited ACN 603 987 266.

Contact: Derek Strong

Contact: Ed Field

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