Case Study: Using Text Messaging for Beach Updates

Summer is upon us and vacation season is nigh. Here is something to consider when you head out to the beach…

The Problem: When you are on vacation, it becomes hard at times to stay in tune with local events. Vacationers may be unfamiliar with local news sites and outlets. Even if beach goers are returning to a familiar spot, staying in touch via television or web feeds can be inconvenient. And let’s face it: who wants to lug a laptop to the beach? In truth, some vacationers choose to turn off the computer and leave it at home in order to enjoy their trip, their family, and the ambiance without distractions.

But for beach goers, tuning out completely can be dangerous. Weather and beach conditions can change as swiftly as the tides (no pun intended). A vacationer needs to stay abreast of dangerous conditions such as hurricane watches, Rip tide warnings, and Red Tide alerts. So how can a vacationer stay informed and safe without giving up his or her free time and technological freedom?

The answer is simple. Where a laptop can be cumbersome, a cell phone is portable and easy to access. Vacationers can easily sign up for a text alert system prior to their stay and set up messaging for only the duration of their stay. In this way, they can stay in touch and safe without missing a moment in the sun. JA.TXT recently put a similar ocean update system in place for a beachfront community in the US.

How does it work?

  • Vacationers are informed about the available beach condition text alerts through TV spots and restaurant table-top signs.
  • The instructions direct users to text a keyword to a 5 digit shortcode to signup for daily alerts.
  • After signing up users immediately receive an auto-response text message asking for the number of days they’ll be at the beach.
  • After the user’s response is stored they will receive a morning beach condition update, and once again in the afternoon if conditions change, for the number of days they’re on vacation.
  • Everything is done completely through text message without the need for a laptop or smartphone.

Similar SMS solutions can help other vacation communities too. Skiers need to be updated about blizzard and avalanche conditions. Campers need to be informed about flood watches, animal sightings and trail closings. The applications are endless. So this Summer, stay safe and still have fun.

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