04/04/2018 Back to News
Trial of messaging during Easter Meet
Report on trial of SMS messaging and Whatsapp communications during The Easter Meet at Thornton in Craven, from Derek Grimshaw.
Objective:- to improve communications between all interested parties and those thinking of possibly attending, so that information and changes to the advertised itinerary can be quickly and efficiently disseminated.
Methods:- A SMS group “Easter 18” was set up using all mobile phone numbers available from the booking forms sent in, (and quite a few added subsequently due to demand).
Also any one of these phone numbers which was registered with the Whatsapp messaging service was included in the “Easter 18” Whatsapp Group, created especially for the weekend.
No attempt was made before hand to evaluate the possible costs and /or restrictions, (a mistake in hindsight).
I used the system as set up and in spite of the poor weather almost all attending the event were kept well informed of changes to the advertised itinerary, the only people inconvenienced were those who had not booked in, therefore they were not on the system, (hence the surge in additions).
It is likely that the cost of the trial will bump up my phone bill next month but at this stage I have not been able to confirm how much.
SMS messaging:- Highly successful, but probably quite costly due to restrictions on the number of people you can include in a group (ten) without incurring extra charges and also due to a restriction of 160 characters, (including spaces) which I overran considerably on both counts during the trial and the SMS system suffers from being mainly one way.
Whatsapp messaging:- Even more successful due do its interactive nature, questions were being answered by group members even before I had seen them, resulting in an almost incident free weekend, (sorry about Monday exam time Ed).
Recommendations:- We do a similar thing at Wenbury, this time I suggest we concentrate on Whatsapp as that is likely to include up to 75% of members, then create as many 10 member SMS groups as necessary to meet the needs of Non Whatsapp people but we will have to make the messaging brief to keep within the 160 character limit. This change will also avoid the rather annoying doubling up of messages which happened last weekend but was inevitable with a trial such as this.
I was gratified at its apparent success and hope that the lessons learnt will stand us well in the future.
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