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10 November 2020 | Blog

Under pressure to reduce your SMS costs?

SMS is a powerful communication channel that best-in-class airlines use to keep their passengers informed and empowered. Some experts have suggested that SMS would lose its efficacy over time, but this has proven not to be the case as disrupted travellers continue to depend on the most reliable channel to receive important, timely information when they need it most.

Why use SMS?

  1. No other medium approaches SMS in its reach. It is native to virtually every mobile phone in the world and users don’t need to own a smartphone, download an app, or have access to the internet to send or receive messages. So, airlines can be more confident that their message will be received than with any other channel.
  2. SMS gives you real-time access to a large proportion of your passengers, even in low signal areas or where Wi-Fi is unavailable. Being able to reach passengers no matter where they are means fewer calls to your contact centre and queues of people needing to be managed by airport staff.
  3. Email continues to be a vital channel for travel companies because of the low outlay, but it’s important to consider other costs aside from delivery. With 269 billion emails being sent per day, and nearly 50% registering as spam*, the likelihood of important, last-minute information being seen on time is low. This should be a greater concern for airlines than the initial cost as the reputational damage incurred from relying solely on email will result in long-term loss of revenue and loyalty. Take a look at our infographic on the true cost of disruption for more detail.


When it comes to the cost of using different channels, it’s important to consider more than just the price of sending the message.

While email may always appear to be the cheapest channel – or even free in some instances – the cost of having to manage passengers that didn’t get the information they needed at the airport or via a contact centre will always be higher than the cost of sending an SMS.

A typical workflow would involve using email to get important information over to a passenger before resorting to SMS and finally human interaction, but if you remove SMS from the workflow and rely solely on interactions with employees in your contact centre and at the airport, you can expect your costs to be a staggering 97% higher per interaction!


SMS costs too high? Get industry-leading rates with the 15below SMS Gateway


Some key stats to consider

What does that mean for email?

Email is still a vital channel for travel companies to keep their passengers informed whilst keeping costs down. However, the context in which each channel should be used is important to consider.

This quote from SAP Digital Interconnect sums it up succinctly:

“If it’s a general update or information about an upcoming promotion that is not immediately relevant, then email is the best way to reach out, or social media. If it is something critical that needs to be acted on, such as a change of travel plans, an unexpected disruption or threat, then SMS is clearly the way to go.”

Rohit Tripathi, General Manager and Head of Products, SAP Digital Interconnect.

You can find out more on the topic of omnichannel communications in our webinar - An omnichannel approach: The key to delivering great passenger communications

Are you under pressure to cut costs in your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Get in touch with our passenger experience experts today if you’d like to know more on the power of SMS.