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Thomas Cook on SMS campaign to establish 'instant consumer connect'

02-March-2004
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Thomas Cook on SMS campaign to establish 'instant consumer connect'

In an attempt to cash in on the fast-growing wireless medium, travel and foreign exchange major Thomas Cook has come up with a mobile campaign to supplement their conventional media advertising.

The group's print advertisements now carry the message: "SMS TCOOK to 8558 for a chance to win FREE holidays!" Consumers who followed the promo, were asked to answer a simple question and send in their details. As part of another initiative, Thomas Cook, in association with Mobile2win, will soon start flashing SMS alerts on the mobile screens of consumers who opt for brand communication. This is targeted to establish a point-of-contact via the Mobile2win short-code 8558.

"The technology has altogether changed the way one looks at business, specifically with relation to marketing," said Ashwini Kakkar, CEO and MD, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. "While the conventional mode of advertising still holds useful, it needs to be made exciting through innovative ideas aiming at higher effectiveness and recall value," she observed. SMS proves to be a direct-yet-impersonal medium to establish contact. Its increasing popularity leaves no pinch of salt in accepting it as the new-age medium for effective marketing promotion. The venture has already fetched over 13,000 responses in just over two weeks.

Thomas Cook (India) has a network comprising 55 branches spread over 16 cities across India, with an exclusive outfit in Sri Lanka and a subsidiary operation system in Mauritius. On an expansion spree, the group has set up two additional sales and marketing channels, an open-all-365-days operational call centre and revamped the company portal. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd is also the only travel company in India to offer its own brand of travel insurance to holidaymakers, foreign-bound students and corporate travellers.

According to Rajiv Hiranandani, VP, Mobile2Win India, the direct marketing solution through SMS was ideal for Thomas Cook, given its emphasis on direct marketing activities as part of its overall marketing initiatives. "Our 8558 short-code is an ideal response-mechanism for Thomas Cook's consumers to interact with and find out about their services," he claimed.

Asked if there were any other initiatives in the pipeline, Hiranandani said: "The next step will be a menu. In the next few weeks, consumers can avail information on hot deals, information on Thomas Cook foreign exchange dealers, agents etc through SMS."

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