Part One of Four: 101 ways to use mobile messages in travelNewsBy Viewpoints | October 12, 2010Share This article was originally published on NB: This is a guest post by Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell, a US-based specialist in mass-micro messaging to organisations in more than 220 countries and territories.The competition to earn customers in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries is intense. The operations of hotels, restaurants, cruise operators, airlines, car rental agencies, and even tourist boards may be diverse, but the desire and need to be unique in the eyes of the customer - to differentiate from competitors on more than just price - remains constant.Businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries are increasingly using the mobile channel to engage more successfully with their customers. In many developing markets, customer segments that are un-contactable via telephone landline or Internet are on the other side of a mobile phone today.The adoption of SMS text messaging by the travel, hospitality and tourism industries is at the forefront of communicating with these wide swathes of mobile customers.SMS enhances customer service and makes information-based services more accessible to customers of these industries, advantages that are not being ignored by operators.Here is first swathe of 101 examples of use of SMS around the travel industry.1. Air China allows customers to check-in via SMS and mobile barcodes. Once a traveller has booked their ticket on-line, they can choose to be sent an SMS anytime from 24 hours to 90 minutes before their flight. The SMS contains a link to a mobile barcode, which the passenger can use to check-in through all necessary airport security checkpoints and board the flight.2.American Airlines has introduced mobile boarding passes for passengers taking domestic flights, which it hopes will not only cut down on paper waste, but also make things a little more speedy and convenient for travellers.3. Upon confirmation of a successful online flight reservation, South African Airways sends to its customers an SMS copy of the flight information and the booking code necessary for flight check-in.4.JetStar implemented an SMS boarding pass program in Australia and New Zealand and reaped the benefits of faster flight processing times and decreased traveller annoyance.5.Federal Air services luxury game lodges in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The lodges cater mainly for the overseas tourist market. Gencentric implemented a feature on the Fed Air web portal to update the arrival times for each flight. The system sends SMS notifications to Lodges notifying them of the new flight arrival times, thus ensuring that guests are always greeted on time.6.Singapore Airlines Club members can enjoy the convenience of contacting a customer service representative from anywhere in the world, by sending a SMS text message. In order to use the SMS contact service, known as PPS Connect, customers text their PPS Club membership number to a designated number. Customers will receive an SMS confirmation of the request within minutes and a customer service representative will call no more than 30 minutes later.7. The British Airport Authority (BAA) launched an SMS service called "Flying Messenger" for people who are either boarding a flight or meeting colleagues at London's Heathrow or Gatwick airports (before it sold the facility). Customers text their flight details 2 hours before flight departure and BAA sends back a reply text which includes updates of any flight delays, as well as special offers that may be used before boarding the flight.8. Travellers at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport can now summon assistance via SMS, such as requesting toilet paper or complaining about the airport taxi service. The service also lets people inquire about the status of departing and arriving flights.9. The Star Alliance airline network is providing passengers with free SMS alerts on the progress of their flights. The SMS update service enables Star Alliance customers to track the flights of any of the member airlines, irrespective of location virtually anywhere on the planet, as well as track the details of internal connecting flights.10. Leading online travel company, Orbitz.com offers its customers SMS text message alerts including information relating to flight arrival delays, flight cancellations, departure delays, departure gate changes, severe weather updates, emergency information briefings, 24 hour flight status checks, and executive car service alerts.11.Personal Porter is an Australian company offering travellers a global door-to-door luggage delivery service with real-time tracking via SMS. Launched in January 2007 in Sydney, it aims to reduce queues at checkin and move passengers quicker through airports.12. By permanently attaching a microchip tag from Rebound TAG to their luggage, travellers can significantly reduce their chances of losing their personal belongings. A barcode and identification number is also printed on the Microchip Bag Tag to ensure that in the system also works at airports where there are no microchip readers. When the lost luggage is found, users receive an SMS.13. Asian online travel company Zuji has launched a lowest airfare SMS alert service for local mobile subscribers in Singapore. With more than 50 destinations to choose from, travellers can send an SMS to ZUJI stating their chosen destination. They will then receive an SMS reply with the lowest airfare available, and can book online.14. South African Airways uses a Clickatell Communicator solution, which is linked to the SAA intranet and accessible from within the Operations Control Centre (OCC) of South African Airways at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. In response to events, SMS’ are sent to SAA employees; message recipients are categorized according to specific events as per the SAA Alarm notification documentation.15. Travellers unhappy with the services of express bus operators in Malaysia can now lodge complaints with the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board via text message. The new avenues for submitting complaints are aimed at curbing inappropriate practices among express bus operators, especially during the Balik Kampung exodus - the annual pilgrimage of city folk to their respective hometowns during festive seasons.16. The Swiss Federal Railway (SBB) allows travellers to purchase train tickets via SMS. Travellers are able to send an SMS indicating their desired departure time and destination to a specific short code. The reply SMS may be used as a travel ticket.17. The London Underground Customer Charter states that if a tube journey is delayed for 15 minutes or more, passengers are entitled to a full refund of their single journey cost. Tube Refund enables frustrated commuters to text their email address and journey details to a designated number to claim their refund.18. The Bangalore traffic police provide traffic information through SMS. Users can now send an SMS to a dedicated number and get updates on traffic jams, bus locations and even travel routes and times.19. Navteq's Traffic.com helps holiday shoppers give the gift of real-time traffic information. The gift pack includes personal mobile traffic services for three mobile numbers that can be given to friends and family for when they’re on the roads. Included in the pack is the Traffic.com Text Alerts service - a free SMS text messaging service that alerts you to delays on the roadways of major cities across the country.20. The OYBike is a bike rental system, which allows users to hire and return a bicycle via their mobile phone. The bikes can be found at transport hubs such as tube stations, public buildings and car parks and each bike stand is equipped with a specially developed electronic lock operated through a keyboard and LCD display. An OYBike registered user selects an available bicycle and the locks display a code, the user then calls the OYBike call centre and gives them that code. A unique pin code is then read out to the user and sent back by text message. This pin code is entered into the lock to release the bicycle. After use, the bicycle is locked into any empty port on an available OYBike station. A unique pin will appear on the lock display that the users then text back to OYBike to end the hire period.21.Dublin Bus timetables can be accessed by SMS. Travellers send a text message to a short code with the word BUS followed by the bus route number or the word TOMORROW for the next day's service. Users receive a text response containing times for the next 3 buses in each direction (or the next day).22.National Car Rental, the leading UK car rental company, sends an SMS message to each customer when they’re collecting a rental car, asking them to text back an accurate mileage reading. SMS has significantly reduced the number of staff and time needed for updating records and created a more customer friendly service.23. Car Club is a premier car rental company, offering a comprehensive range of transport solutions for personal and business travel needs. Customers can now receive SMS alerts on their mobile phones with information on reservation confirmation, car details, charge of credit cards, invoicing, etc.24.Airports Company South Africa offers a text messaging service that enables travellers to SMS a number and receive a response with available parking at Johannesburg International Airport.25. A SMS parking service available in Amsterdam called SMSParking allows registered users to pay parking fees by SMS. Users send an SMS message when they park their car and send another SMS message when they leave. They pay for the exact time they parked their car, and SMSParking automatically collects the amount owing from a users bank or credit card account every two weeks.Tomorrow's edition features examples from tourist boards and translation services. Part Two: 26-50Part Three: 51-75Part Four: 76-101NB: This is a guest post by Pieter de Villiers, CEO Clickatell, a US-based specialist in mass-micro messaging to more than 220 countries and territories.