How to Market Your Travel Apps


Hello and welcome to another Localytics Whiteboard Wednesday. I'm Doug Carlson, Account Manager here at Localytics, and today we're continuing our series on mobile marketing tools geared toward specific app categories. Today we will cover apps in the Travel category, and I'm celebrating a fantastic trip that I just planned to Hawaii by wearing these sunglasses.


Travel App Characteristics

Let's dive into some of the app attributes we will be discussing today. There are three really unique things about the travel category. One is lifetime value, which is relatively straightforward to calculate. LTV is created if an in-app purchase happening, such as booking a hotel or a flight, or if a user is consuming more content within the app. These events can help gauge the success of your app marketing activities.

The second attribute is where your users are located. This becomes incredibly valuable for travel apps especially. Think of a hotel or an airline app. Knowing where a user is located can help the marketer target messages towards users based on their location.

Finally, we have the concept of loyalty programs and the idea of being able to make all of these tools work together. Instead of having an anonymous user accessing your mobile app, having them sign up for a loyalty program helps you find out who they are and what they want from your app. They can connect with your other databases (like your website), and you are able to market across a whole breadth and depth of users instead of being focused on a single category of users.


The Marketing Components

What we can do as marketers, specifically mobile marketers, is use these three tools to engage our users: in-app messaging, push notifications, and acquisition campaigns. In-app messages allow marketers to reach out to the user when they're physically in the app, and push notifications allow marketers to reach out to the user while they're not in the app but actively using their smartphone to pull them back in. The other tool we have is an acquisition campaign. This allows marketers to reach out and find users that are most likely to be successful with the app, meaning they will download and use the app often.

Let's bring this whole category together and see how we can more successfully drive user experience here. If we're looking at a hotel app, let's also look at where acquisition comes from. Instead of taking the standard view of marketing, "Well, this is just an add-on to my room, or to my guest," let's use this as a vehicle to drive more specific users to your hotel.

We can also look at a major social platform like Facebook to find users. If you look at all Facebook users, which users do you already know that use your app? You can look at your own back-end database, pull out those users, and then come out with a segment of users to market to through, say, Facebook advertising. You can then drive those users to your mobile app and potentially get them to sign up for your loyalty program, for example, and then eventually book a room.Thinking as a mobile marketer, this is a way to drive revenue for your company as opposed to just an add-on to your general user experience.

Another example is airlines. The first thing I do when I show up at the airport is fumble through my bags for everything I might need. The most convenient thing that can happen is pulling out your mobile device and seeing a push notification saying "Touch here to go directly to your ticket." Wonderful. Now I can walk up right to the ticket counter. I have all the information I need. That’s a wonderful user experience. Many travel apps can benefit from this by knowing when their users have been in the app, and sending them push notifications accordingly.


Optimizing Marketing Tools

Let's go over some examples of using these marketing tools in Travel Apps. When flights get delayed or cancelled, you may have grumpy customers. But the best way to keep those customers from complaining and save the experience, is to give them as much information as possible. With push notifications, an app can let users know that their flight is, in fact, delayed, and when it is rescheduled for. That information really empowers the user, as opposed to users just waiting or wandering around the airport looking for the flight schedule board.

Finally we will look at how in-app messaging can be utilized by Travel Apps. Our example will be hotel resorts. Once you actually have a user on a resort, you may have put a lot of effort into a mobile app in order to help them actually purchase something else that’s on site. Maybe they're cruising through the app and they're spending a lot of time looking at activities like kayaking. You can send them an in-app message that allows them to get 20% off on that kayak excursion, or provides them with more information, or potentially gives them a family deal. These messages reward the user and give you the ability to bring those users in and help drive some of app success and user experience. Another thing you can do here is if you see them perusing some content, you can recommend other content as well to ensure they're having the most success at your resort and seeing all that they want to see.

You can bring this all together with loyalty programs as well. For instance, you have a user in your app but not signed in as a specific user, and therefore you don’t know what they’re seeking. For that user that isn't signed in through your loyalty program, simply send them a message and say, "You should sign up to receive X amount of points in our resort." Giving them some sort of incentive helps you go from having an anonymous user to a well-known user, which improves your entire marketing ecosystem.



These are just some of the mobile marketing tools that Localytics has built to date that will help travel apps succeed. Thanks for joining us for another Whiteboard Wednesday. We look forward to seeing you next time.