Vegas Operator Brings Local Partners Onboard With Texting Service

Posted on September 9, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Bell Trans partners with hotels, restaurants and golf courses to make it easier for clients to reserve a chauffeured vehicle and find places to go.

LAS VEGAS — Arranging a limo ride in Las Vegas is now much easier for chauffeured clients. No talking needed; they just need to send a text message.

Las Vegas transportation company BELL TRANS contracted in July with Kirkland, Wash.-based HIPCRICKET INC., a mobile marketing and advertising company, to set up campaigns to notify customers of the text messaging service.

A potential customer simply texts a keyword to the company’s short code: a short phone number used as a text address. After customers text for a ride or a Vegas Strip tour, Hipcricket can reach customers with advertising messages once a customer opts in to the text program. The company sends a limousine to the location usually within 10 to 25 minutes. Customers pay standard text rates.

The service was officially launched in the final week of August, said Breck Opeka, general manager of Bell Trans. The operator is putting the program together with different campaigns, which entails building ads and getting partners involved.

Partnerships are being developed with many local businesses. Using hyper-local campaigns to tie in with partners — such as restaurants, shops and hotels — is key to the success of the program, Opeka said. So far they have teamed with area restaurants, golf courses and hotels.

“It [brings] added value for the end user. Not only are they getting a limousine, but if they’re thinking about where they’re going to eat we can [lead] them to a local restaurant that’s offering a discount,” she said. For example, one partner, a local Mexican restaurant, is offering a “Buy a margarita, get one free” deal. “Not only are we advertising ourselves, but our partners as well,” Opeka added.

The operator also has created several campaigns, including a “ride” campaign with local hotels. If a customer at any hotel in town texts the word “ride,” the message goes directly to the dispatch office, which calls the client, confirms the location, and sends a vehicle. The response time ranges from 10-25 minutes, depending on the location.

Additionally, the texting service can benefit local theatres looking to sell out shows. Bell Trans can contact everyone in its database with a text blast letting them know that tickets are discounted to help sell the rest of their seats.

Bell Trans started using the program with golf courses, partnering with several that have their own short code. The participating golf courses hand out business cards to notify customers of the program. “Players on the 17th hole send us a text message, using that golf course’s keyword. That notifies us to send a vehicle to that golf course. By the time they get done playing, they wait 10 minutes or less, versus one hour,” Opeka explained. About 140 customers have used the service so far.

The operator is using the technology to get closer to its clients, primarily out-of-towners. If customers book two or more hours of limousine service, or a Vegas Strip tour with Bell Trans by sending the word ‘tours’ to the short code, they will get a free bottle of champagne.

“We have it set up so they’re only hit with advertising for three days,” Opeka said. “After that it stops, because the majority of people come in for three to four days. We don’t want to bombard them. We want to advertise to them while they’re here. If they stay in our group after they leave, they’ll only receive a message once a month.”

Sources: Nicole Schlosser, LCT Magazine; Las Vegas Sun

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