SMS marketing comes to UK travel firms

MIVA, Inc has announced the launch of TXT//AD, an innovative new advertising channel that enables travel companies to target potential customers via SMS. TXT//AD has been launched in the UK by MIVA in partnership with The Number, Britain’s leading directory assistance service and the company behind the high profile 118 118 brand.

The new product enables travel companies for the first time to buy space within 118 118 text messages.

TXT//AD campaigns are sold by targeted ‘Ad Groups’ which enable travel companies to target active purchasers who may be directly interested in their products or services.

There are over 120 Ad Groups in total of which 23 are in the travel sector including hotel chains, airlines, ferries, travel agents and car rental companies.

On average over 250,000 text messages are delivered by 118 118 each month against these travel related Ad Groups.

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With TXT//AD companies can buy either their ‘Own Ad Group’, or ‘Complementary Ad Groups’. A hotel chain, for example, could buy space in every text message sent in response to enquiries for companies in the ‘airlines’ Ad Group. Seb Bishop, President and CMO, MIVA, explains:

“118 118 texts tens of millions of directory callers with their enquiry details each year. TXT//AD for the first time gives companies the opportunity to have their number and any special offer included within these messages.

“Through the Ad Group system, travel companies can reach potential customers at a time when they are highly receptive to their marketing message and we believe this makes TXT//AD an incredibly powerful and tightly targeted new ad model.”

Adds William Ostrom, Communications Director, The Number:

“Mobile callers to 118 118 ring us because they have an immediate and direct need to reach a business or service. Now we’ve developed and tested a proposition that we believe greatly increases the value of every message, without making any additional charge to the end user.”

Each TXT//AD comprises up to 95 characters of copy and can include phone numbers, URLs, special offers, promotions or advertising straplines.

TXT//AD has been tested and researched by Saville Rossiter Base amongst a sample of 500 mobile phone users. Key findings of this research:

- 93% of users said they would like to receive an additional number in future.

- Nearly 60% of respondents who were sent the message recalled it.

- 8.4% of consumers used the additional number.

- 75% of respondents said that they could see clear benefits in the service.

- Just over 80% of respondents were also interested in an enhanced offer (such as a discount on goods or services) and the majority said that even if they didn’t use it immediately, they would do at some point.

- Half also said they would think about sending the information on to family and friends.

To view a TXT//AD demo, visit: www.miva.com/txtad
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