How to use SMS during emergency travel disruption

Keep customers informed, so they don’t get stuck.

Talk to an expert

Empower customers

Whether it’s local public transport or air travel and hotels, travel plans are subject to unpredictable change and cancellations during emergencies. Customers need updates they can rely on – on a channel that reaches them any time of the day.

Keep them in the know

There are lots of automated travel alerts you can set up in your messaging workflow: booking and payment confirmations, reminders, changes, delays, cancellations. In a crisis you need to cut the volume of queries hitting your call center.

Savings – for you and customers

Avoid disruption costs for you and your customers – including: lost productivity and missed business meetings, un-planned hotel stays, meals, rental cars and other expenses, traveler stress, and increased traveler risk.

Get their opt-in

Use the customer data you gather during the booking process to encourage sign-up to emergency SMS alerts. Or if a new crisis situation unfolds, run a dedicated campaign to promote travel alerts.

Cut costs and disruption

Maintaining a great customer experience is hard in a crisis. SMS alerts can help you minimize overcrowding and frustration – and cut the volume of queries hitting your call center.

Open up two-way conversation

Your customers will have lots of queries about cancelling and rescheduling bookings. Try to handle this process by texting them self-service links or via two-way SMS interactions. This will save your service center from being overrun with calls.

Don’t lose focus on CX

Even during an emergency, keep looking for opportunities to create helpful, empathetic interactions that improve customer experience. Your response in tough times will go a long way to building lasting loyalty

Reach everyone

Lots of travel providers have mobile apps, but adoption rates are too low to make them a reliable channel for alerts. SMS is a different story: 98% of messages are read – most in seconds. And there’s no need for WiFi or data.

98% of SMS are read, 90% of them within three minutes. No channel can beat that kind of cut-through engagement.

42% of US travelers say disruption management is the single most important area for improvement for airlines.

By texting self-service links or letting your customers reply to messages with cancellation or rescheduling options, you can reduce the burden on your call center agents dramatically.

SMS is also a great way to invite feedback so you can intercept and address complaints before they reach social media or review sites.

90% of travel and hospitality companies say mobile messaging has a ‘considerable’ or ‘major’ impact on customer service.

Be surprisingly useful

Travelers are used to confirmation alerts and reminders. During times of emergency and disruption, look for new opportunities to add value and cut stress. It could be an alert about queue length or a reply-to-reschedule text

Offer priority and advance warning

Sometimes it makes sense to offer elderly or vulnerable travelers special notifications that give them priority boarding or advance access to the services they need.

Global alerts need a global provider

If your customers are international, or they’re traveling around the world, you need a messaging solutions provider with a global presence to match.

Collect feedback and learn

Invite your customers to text their feedback so you know how you’re doing, which passengers need a follow-up, and how to improve your service – during the emergency and beyond.

“We have around 37 million customers who use Virgin Trains every year so getting the right technology platform was clearly critical. That’s another reason we selected OpenMarket.”

John Sullivan CIO, Virgin Trains West Coast

How we can help


A library of ready-to-launch campaigns

A low-code drag-and-drop campaign builder

Data visualizations and in-depth reporting

Flexible APIs

Ready to get started?

Talk to an expert

Related use cases