RCS business messaging comes to the US
The impact on conversational commerce
SnapTravel is excited to be one of the first global brands to rollout RCS experiences with Google’s Early Access Program. Android Messages users in the US on Sprint will now be able to interact with SnapTravel via a rich messaging experience that has proven to enhance the customers experience and increase sales conversion compared to regular SMS .
Don’t want to read? Watch our presentation at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:
What is RCS?
RCS (Rich Communications Services) is an initiative to upgrade SMS. While modern messaging apps provide read receipts, high-res photos, group chat, and interactive elements — SMS has been stuck in the dark ages with boring plain text messages. RCS brings rich messaging features to default messaging apps, including Android Messages.
Who is SnapTravel?
SnapTravel is the leader in conversational commerce. By creating a delightful conversational experience, we drive millions of dollars in hotel bookings every month for hundreds of thousands of customers around the world. Advanced NLP allows customers to interact with an intelligent bot the same way they would chat with a friend,enabling them to find and book the perfect hotel for their stay. The service is also backed by human agents who are available 24/7 over messaging.
SnapTravel on SMS vs RCS
As you can see below, RCS provides several advantages over the SMS experience such as a verified brand identity, rich imagery, an interactive carousel of hotel deals and quick actions buttons that allow the user to easily navigate through the experience.
These screenshots were taken from the exact same app (Android Messages). One is interacting with the pure SMS version of SnapTravel while the second one is interacting with the RCS version of SnapTravel.
Beginning today, supported users in the US on Sprint will by default be able to interact with the SnapTravel RCS experience when using an up to date version of Android Messages. Try it out here.
The impact on commerce
In order to assess the impact RCS will have on commerce, we did a deep dive into the data and looked at over half a million SnapTravel conversations comparing plain-text SMS interactions with rich messaging app interactions.
There were many interesting data points that stood out. For example, customers using a rich messaging experience to interact with SnapTravel were 21% more likely to make a repeat booking (11.7% vs 14.2%).
We dug deeper and tried to find data points that could be directly isolated and attributed to offering a richer messaging experience. One of the most common interactions is for SnapTravel to send a customer a ‘single hotel deal’. This could have been initiated by a landing page, the intelligent bot or a human agent. Here is what a single hotel deal looks like on SMS vs. a rich messaging experience:
The most important step after we send a single hotel deal is to have the user click on that deal to see more details. Of course, the end goal is to have the user complete a booking, which means that not clicking on the deal stops the booking funnel in its tracks.
When sending a SnapTravel single hotel deal — there is a 14.8% lift in open rates when using a rich messaging experience vs. a plain text SMS experience. This has a significant impact on the conversion funnel. The above is just one example to illustrate the effect of a rich messaging experience. Across the entire funnel, we see improvements that directly impact our hotel booking revenue, and hence our bottom line.
Our future with RCS
Delivering a delightful conversational experience is one of the core principles at SnapTravel. The rollout of RCS experiences enables us to deliver rich and meaningful interactions over native Android Messages without requiring the customer to have any 3rd party app installed. This gives us the opportunity to provide a superior experience to all of our SMS users on Android, which will greatly improve the customer journey and directly impact revenue.
We are excited that as of today, Sprint users will benefit from an upgraded messaging experience. What is even more exciting is that carriers, device manufacturers, and the industry as a whole are coming together to make RCS a reality! As more carriers join the party, and more businesses build on this standard, the true winner is the end consumer.
Come visit us at Mobile World Congress to learn more.
Feb 26th — Mar 1st 2018. Google Booth. Hall 4, GSMA Innovation City