How (and Why) Mobile Messaging Will Transform Traveler Engagement

How (and Why) Mobile Messaging Will Transform Traveler Engagement Published August 2015 Analyst: Cathy Walsh


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At the time of Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, the sheer enormity of the transaction caught many observers off-guard. At the most basic level, the mobile messaging app provides an alternative to SMS text messaging that, to the unschooled, may not seem all that groundbreaking. Yet over the past several years, hundreds of millions of users have flocked to messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, Viber and Kik, many of which are dominating time spent on mobile devices. In the first quarter of 2015, messaging apps comprised six of the top 10 global apps by usage, and the daily messaging volume of WhatsApp alone has likely eclipsed that of the entire global SMS system.

Young users have been an early driving force behind the popularity of mobile messaging, whose intimate, real-time, short-form and often rich-media-laden messages are defining the next phase of mobile communication. For travel companies, mobile messaging in all its forms, from dedicated messaging apps like WhatsApp, to in-app messaging and even conventional text messages (SMS), will transform how travel brands engage with and service travelers. This article explores the rise of mobile messaging, including top messaging apps and providers, the prospects for messaging-as-a-platform and applications to travel.

  • Introduction
  • Messaging Matters
    • A Massive, Engaged Audience
    • Messaging With a Capital ‘M’: A Shifting Paradigm
  • Messaging as a Platform
  • Beyond General Messaging Apps
  • Got the Message?
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