Will Texting Be the New Onboarding for Travel?

Posted by Dwight Sholes 

When it comes to email marketing, retailers often have a lot to teach the travel vertical.  Retailers usually are a few step ahead of travel marketers in adopting the latest strategies and tactics in email marketing.  So it is always interesting to see what innovative practices retailers are adopting in their digital direct marketing programs and prognosticate about what this might mean for the travel vertical.

Case in point:  Greats, a hip, Brooklyn, New York-based footwear brand.  By marketing directly to consumers online, Greats is able to innovate faster and offer quality products at a lower price than traditional shoe retailers. Their website is critically important in driving business.  It’s the only place, right now, that one can buy Greats shoes.

So it’s no wonder that Greats wants to make sure that it takes advantage of every single site visit to establish a connection with prospective customers.  It does this right on its home page by inviting new visitors to opt-in to receiving marketing messages from the brand.  Nothing new there.  But what is different is that Greats offers consumers a choice:  to receive a discount code for their first purchase, and subsequent marketing messages, via text OR via email.  And they don’t start out asking new prospects to opt-in.  First, they qualify prospects to make sure they’re at least somewhat interested, and then lead them down a simple process to opt-in and provide a few pieces of identifying information.

The process is smart and easy.  So easy it makes one wonder why more travel companies aren’t following suit and offering consumers the ability to start their engagement via text message.  This can actually help grow a travel brand’s email list, since once a consumer makes a booking she will need to provide the travel brand with her email address to receive booking confirmations and other important messages.

Step One:  Initial Qualification
Before inviting site visitors to opt in, Greats first makes sure they have at least some passion for the brand promise.  Anyone who happened on the page and isn’t really interested will be filtered out at the outset.  In travel, this could be a simply qualifying question like:  “Are you ready for your next amazing vacation?”


Step Two: Invitation to Opt In
Then Greats implements the standard retail tactic of offering a discount off a first purchase.  What is different here is that prospects are given a choice, to receive their discount code and subsequent marketing messages via text or via email.


Step Three: Opting In
Consumers can then enter their email address or their cell phone number.  Interestingly, Greats felt a need to include fine print statements for text subscribers but not for email subscribers.



It will be interesting to see if this approach is adopted by other retailers and eventually makes it way to the travel industry.  A travel company that is a first adopter in this use of texting to send first purchase discount codes might just be able to move the needle on sales before competitors follow suit.

As always, we are interested in your insights and experiences. Could something like this work for your business? Leave me a comment below.

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