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The ultimate guide to push notifications for airlines

In a world where we are ‘always on’ it can be difficult for airlines to cut through the clutter and find meaningful ways to connect with their customers. With 80% of internet users owning a smartphone, mobile is the obvious choice. But how can airlines deliver a frictionless experience while engaging with their customers throughout the entire travel journey? 

Smart, real-time messaging has become the holy grail of customer engagement. At Travelport Digital we’ve seen the immense value of push messaging for airlines since we launched our Travelport Engage platform back in 2013. Increased revenue, enhanced engagement, customer satisfaction, cost savings – there’s no denying the power of push.

Push notifications have click through rates up to 8 times higher than email

With the insights we’ve gained over the past five years, we have created the ultimate guide to push notifications that every airline needs. It brings you through everything you need to know about push messaging – why should your airline have a push strategy? What kind of content should you include? When is the best time to send a push and how can you personalize it by location or user journey? 

Pre, during and post-trip push notifications

As well as answering these questions, the guide also offers best practice tips and insights on creating an effective push notification campaign for your airline. Here, we look at some of the high-level considerations when starting your push messaging strategy; download our eBook for more in-depth guidance.

Why push?

First, let’s look at why every airline should be using push messaging. For airlines, using push notifications as part of your communications strategy leads to many benefits. These include: 

  • Increased revenue: Push opens up new avenues to sell ancillary services or promote special offers to travelers.
  • Engagement: Notifications are a great way of ensuring users remain engaged with your app – and your brand – after the initial download.
  • Customer satisfaction: Reduce stress and friction for your travelers by keeping them informed of any updates or disruptions throughout their journey.
  • Cost savings: Notifying travelers about any journey disruption can greatly decrease reliance on call centers and as such, reduce operational overheads.

How easyJet is using push

Creating content for your push notification

Now, let’s look at how you can go about creating great, engaging push notifications. With push messaging, you have little space to get your message across so every word you write counts.

It’s not only about what you say; it’s also about how you say it. Choose your tone of voice carefully depending on the context the traveler is in – imagine how they might be feeling. For example, a push notification announcing a new summer sale is going to be lot more light-hearted than a message about a delayed flight.

Some other considerations are the devices your travelers will receive your notification on – for example iOS allows more characters than Android. Your notifications need to be optimized to appear correctly on virtually all devices.

Download our eBook for more advice on creating the perfect push message, including character limits for Android and iOS devices.

Download the free guide

Timing is everything

So you’ve crafted the notification you want to send, but the question is when to send it? One of the most common questions we receive in terms of push notification strategies is around the frequency of push messaging. Sending notifications too seldom or too often will result in app uninstalls, so it’s important to strike the right balance.

The first 90 days after a user downloads your app are key as 95% of opt-in users who don’t receive a push message within this time will uninstall. Sending welcome messages, highlighting key features available in your app are proven to increase engagement. It’s also important to regularly send notifications about any app updates, sales promos or trip-related news.

Study your analytics to find when is the best time of day to send a push notification, bearing in mind traveler time zones.

Who are you talking to?

When it comes to the ‘who’ of push notifications it’s all about personalization; each message should be tailored to the individual user. Personalization goes beyond just addressing a user by name or using the correct language based on where they are located.

Storing a profile for each user will help you build up a picture of them over time to create segments and personas and target users based on attributes such as: 

  • Traveler profile
  • Booking details
  • User behavior
  • Purchase history
  • In-app actions

Location, location, location

Where a user is when they receive your push notification significantly contributes to their level of engagement. Given that location-based messaging is one of the most unique features of mobile marketing and sets it apart from other channels, it’s important to use it correctly to communicate with travelers at the optimum location.

Location-based messaging can be exceptionally powerful when combined with a user’s profile, behaviors and trip details. There are a few different ways in which you can target users based on their location including:

  • Geotargeting
  • Geofencing
  • Beacons

Download our eBook Push notifications: an ultimate guide for airlines to find out more about these location targeting tactics.

Getting started with push messaging

If you're ready to enhance your airline's communication strategy with push messaging, Travelport Digital can deliver a robust messaging engine built specifically for travel. Travelport Engage enables airlines to automate smarter customer messaging to grow revenue and supercharge end-to-end traveller communications. Get a free demo to find out more.

We have covered some of the basics in this blog post, but there’s a lot more to push messaging than writing a message and clicking send. Push should become a core part of your traveler communication strategy and you should consistently measure and analyze results to inform and strengthen your strategy into the future.

To delve further into the world of push messaging, download our full eBook for tips and tactics that can be adopted by any airline. By integrating great push messages into your communications strategy, you can help your airline increase revenue, make cost savings and really enhance your customer experience.

download free guide


Aisling White - Head of Marketing

Aisling has over 16 years’ experience in marketing, brand, and PR. Prior to joining Travelport Digital, Aisling worked at Hostelworld.com and Sage Software. At Travelport Digital Aisling manages the marketing strategy, content, communications, and digital platforms, to drive customer engagement.

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