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Innovation to offer passengers a digital trip

April 11, 2024

Written by Marisol Morelos

In an interview, Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA, shares with us the importance of implementing a mobile-first strategy in a bus company. 

Nowadays it is unthinkable that a company that offers services or products does not consider the digital channel as a way to reach more customers. Especially when considering that consumer habits have changed, i.e., people are increasingly using mobile devices to perform various activities in their purchasing processes; from analyzing prices, benefits and disadvantages of a product, reviewing opinions, location of points of sale, consuming news, communicating with a brand, making reservations, entering social networks, and even buying a bus ticket to travel, avoiding lines at terminals. 

According to Statista data, eCommerce is one of the uses of mobile devices that is experiencing a boom in recent years in Mexico.

In this regard, Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA, comments on the importance of bus companies thinking about a mobile-first strategy. Grupo IAMSA is the holding company of well-known passenger transportation companies such as ETN-Turistar Lujo and Costa Line, and has established administrative synergies with major groups like GHO, which owns brands such as Autovías and La Línea. 

Any company that today sells on the Internet, if you check your Google analytics, you will notice how desktop starts to have a tendency to decrease and everything related to web mobile starts to grow. -Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA 

Pablo shares that nowadays people don’t want to fill out a form every time they buy a bus ticket. He believes that they have become accustomed to what other pioneering eCommerce brands have developed; for example, Amazon, a company that developed one-click online shopping. 

What people are looking for is to select a product and click on checkout without having to enter so much data. This is something that the app allows you to do because we already know who you are, it is already predefined so that the autofilling can be done. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

Importance of having mobile apps in a bus company

According to Pablo, Grupo IAMSA had two applications that had been developed by a third party and represented 2% of total sales. However, they decided to simplify and unify all their applications with Reservamos SaaS technology and design.

We were able to obtain an immediate benefit, where we reached between 4% and 5% of the total share of sales. This implies that we were migrating people who normally consumed through a web page. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

After the implementation of Reservamos SaaS technology, according to Pablo, they carried out an aggressive campaign to encourage the downloading of applications with a significant investment in app stores. All these efforts resulted in the fact that today apps, depending on the month, represent between 10% and 12% of total sales. 

I estimate that in percentage points of total sales we have gained 5% through apps alone. Although it is important to understand that these apps behave differently in each company. In ETN the impact is 5% in total numbers of higher traffic. But we noticed that in companies like Costa Line and Autovías, which have their own apps and are a different market segment than ETN, the adoption of the app is much higher, but not the sales, because they are companies with the cheapest ticket and have different routes. – Pablo Bianchi, corporate marketing director for Grupo IAMSA.

Although they speak to different segments, Pablo says they have learned that people are starting to use their cell phones more for shopping, selling or communicating. They have realized that the mobile device, especially in segments C, C- and sometimes D, is their window of communication. 

What we learn is to be very close to what the customer is using as a tool to communicate. –Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

The main benefits of the implementation of apps, according to Pablo, is that it allows them to have greater knowledge of the traveler, direct communication through push notifications and greater segmentation with consumer habits.

We have a strategy to migrate as much as we can from travelers to a digital shopping culture. We have learned that the more possibilities you give a person to buy in digital media, which are easy to use, you will gain a customer who will be more loyal to you. To this we always add a pricing scheme, a loyalty program and a continuous communication theme. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

By 2022, more than 79% of the Mexican population over six years of age are users of a smart phone or smartphone. Compared to 2015, the penetration rate of cell phones has increased 7.7 percentage points in the Mexican population, according to Statista data.

Marketing automation strategies with the help of ReservamosONE

Pablo says that knowing the traveler and having a better segmentation are key elements for the development of marketing automation strategies. That is why they have decided to add another Reservamos SaaS solution to facilitate this process. This is ReservamosONE, a data source that contains complete information on travelers and all their activity in the different sales channels.

The benefits of having this integrated intelligent database can be summarized as follows:

  • Knowing the traveler.
  • Offering a consistent experience.
  • Optimize customer service.
  • Improve growth strategies.

ReservamosONE allows us to have a single source of information that is transparent, without me having to do too many interfaces to get the fields I need in terms of customer behavior. For example, where in the funnel they stayed, how many times they have bought from me, data on when their birthday is, or travel references. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

Grupo IAMSA opted for ReservamosONE because they have faced integration complications between marketing automation tools with existing platforms. That is why they decided to work with this Reservamos SaaS solution. 

We are exploring migrating the CRM platform to a CDP that Google has that allows us to use ReservamosONE. We will put a filter with Google Analytics to start working with AI and my database combined with the universe of data that Google has. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA

Knowing your customer and their consumption habits to generate strategies

Based on Pablo’s experience, he explains that it is essential to know who your customer is, how often he travels, where he usually travels, how often he buys and whether he travels alone or accompanied. He believes that the best tool to identify them has been the loyalty program, because that way they know who is really buying and who are the passengers who travel. 

The important thing is always to have an identifier number to communicate, whether it is a cell phone or email that allows us to have that communication, to segment them in whether they are frequent or not, if they travel because they are students, if they are looking for a discount, if they travel with a pet, etc. These types of behaviors are what we are measuring. These types of behaviors are what we are measuring, and we are looking for this to end up in an AI that learns the behaviors and we reach a hyper-personalization of the traveler. –Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

What is expected in terms of innovation in the bus transportation sector?

For Pablo, innovation in the bus transportation sector should be focused on the experience provided to the traveler. Above all, making the process of buying a ticket, boarding and traveling fast, easy and frictionless. Passengers should not have to waste time waiting in line. 

The innovation has to be in making the passenger’s trip digital and automated. That is to say, that the sales areas instead of selling them a ticket become service areas so that they are attentive so that passengers have a pleasant trip. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Marketing Director for Grupo IAMSA.

Pablo is working together with his operational team and the guidance of Reservamos SaaS to realize a vision he has of the experience a bus traveler should receive, where the traveler enters a terminal with a QR code, goes to a waiting room where they receive individual entertainment to enjoy on a device, while waiting to board, and finally board a bus with the QR code. In addition to being in control of your device, knowing how long the trip will take, and even sharing the ride with family or friends. 

To have the experience that some platforms taught us, where what we want is to know when, how and where. – Pablo Bianchi, Corporate Director of Marketing for Grupo IAMSA.

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