How Technology Can Help Travelers In Stormy Weather


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While Americans’ wanderlust came back with a passion in 2022, the travel industry continued to struggle with labor shortages, high fuel costs and the aftereffects of the pandemic. The resulting delays, cancellations and poor service have caused consumer complaints to skyrocket 200% over pre-pandemic levels. Typically, these complaints trace back to a lack of clear, transparent communication of issues such as flight delays and rebooking options that could easily be averted.

Our recent survey found that for the 64% of respondents who had experienced a flight delay this summer, status updates were most often communicated in person (41%), likely after waiting in a long line to see an agent. Roughly the same percentage of respondents (40%) said they would prefer receiving these updates as a text message, which was seen as more immediate and actionable than any other method. However, just 15% of respondents reported receiving travel updates that way.

Technology might not be able to solve a shortage of pilots or divert severe weather, but it can help the travel and hospitality industry communicate these issues more effectively and efficiently to consumers. Here are three ways airlines and the hospitality industry could employ technology to ease travelers’ inconvenience during a disrupted itinerary – and maybe even get some goodwill in return.

Delayed? Here’s an offer

Picture this. You and the family are waiting for a 12:05 flight to Orlando. At 11:30 there is an announcement that your plane is delayed, and is now expected to take flight at 4 p.m. As you rush to the counter agent to see whether there is an earlier flight you could take, you receive a text from the airline that there is indeed a flight at 1:30 with space for the four of you. The message includes a link to rebook. You click the link and receive a confirmation that your family is now rescheduled for the 1:30 flight.

With a simple one-click exchange, the airline will not only get your family to Orlando in time for your character dinner but also has satisfied a valued customer. This type of secure, automated communication also can alleviate inconvenience in situations where rebooking might not be possible, such as communicating the delay with a voucher for meals at the airport or access to a premium lounge.

Virtual front desk

Like the airlines, the hospitality industry faces its own staffing and service challenges. With nearly half of all survey respondents (46%) prioritizing contactless experiences at hotels, technology again can help. Many hotels and accommodations today use messaging to confirm reservations or alert guests to health and safety protocols prior to check-in. Increasingly, these communications have gone from one-way broadcasts to two-way exchanges in which the guest can initiate an exchange.

This two-way communication doesn’t replace the concierge or front desk staff, but it can alleviate time constraints for routine requests. Need more towels? Text housekeeping. Out of in-room coffee? Send a text. The ability to meet guest needs without physical interaction addresses the 77% of people who said they would prefer more self-service options while staying at a hotel.

There are any number of ways that two-way communications between guests and their accommodation can increase the enjoyment of a stay. For example, when traveling for business, some people prefer to decompress after a long day at a conference with room service in their room. Rather than calling room service upon arriving back at the hotel and waiting for up to an hour for food to arrive, a simple text message sent while leaving the conference center can inform the hotel’s kitchen of your order and the requested delivery time. Voila! Dinner is served.

Impulse upgrades

As pandemic restrictions eased, travel increased. And so did the prices of airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals and everything else related to getting away. That middle seat in basic economy that seemed like a good idea when booking a trip from SFO to LHR three months earlier seems less of one when faced with the reality of tomorrow’s 10-hour flight.

Check-in, whether for a flight or hotel stay, provides another opportunity to improve a guest’s experience through an upgraded seat or accommodation, a suggested activity at their destination or an extended stay. Two-way communications make it easy to reach travelers anywhere they might be and engage them in a discussion of available options.

When engaging with customers, it’s important to remember that we’re all human. Today’s messaging platforms enable natural two-way conversations. Two-way communication is more impactful than standard automated “Thank you for flying with us” messages and gives the travel and hospitality industry the ability to help travelers reach their destination satisfied, enjoy their accommodations and return home with fond memories.

Ramon Kania
As CTO of Mitto, Ramon Kania is responsible for the technology that makes the Mitto SMS Messaging platform both reliable and cost effective. Ramon has been coding since the age of 11 and has decades of experience designing and developing disruptive systems.


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