This year marks the ten-year anniversary of the Castle Triathlon Series, celebrating over 100,000 competitors and raising over £1 million for charity. It also marks the event series’ ten-year partnership with official communications partner, BulkSMS.com. The event organising team note that ‘the world of communications over the last ten years has changed dramatically, but the consistent and most valued method of SMS text messaging still helps the triathlete community and experience.’
Over the last ten years, the Castle Triathlon Series’ competitors have, and will continue to benefit from a personalised text message pre-race confirming their wave number, time, race number and water temperature. This streamlines the registration process and makes the event day run more smoothly. Furthermore, on event day, spectators can track their friends and family in action through live tracking links; and, post-race, each competitor receives a personal text with their race results and time split.
A release from Castle Triathlon Series expanded on its partnership with Bulk SMS and its role in the series’ communications strategy.
A Bulk SMS spokesperson noted that ‘SMS is one of the most immediate, reliable and convenient platforms for short and important communications. We believe that the aim of SMS communications should be to make life easier for the message recipient, not to occupy attention and bombard customers with irrelevant information.
‘We have seen a noted increase in brand engagement via social channels, not only on social media, but through instant messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. These channels have, for the most part, been platforms for personal engagement, channels where you would primarily connect with family and friends.
‘As businesses increasingly use these channels, the boundaries of privacy are being pushed. If we compare SMS to a postal service delivering a parcel, they deliver it to you at your front door and leave straight away. In other words, the sender knows the message, or in this the parcel, has been delivered to your house, but no more. Whereas with instant messaging, through the ‘delivered’ and “read” indicators, it equates to the postman knowing when you are home, inviting themselves in and making sure you receive, open and perhaps even provide feedback on the parcel. This can be quite invasive as a consumer.
‘We need to remember that most instant messaging apps are voluntarily downloaded and require data to access, whereas SMS functionality is inherently built into all devices and available with or without an internet connection.’
‘We have quite a large number of sports clubs across the globe using SMS to ensure timely communication with members and participants. From gyms, to swimming clubs and even stand up paddle boarding and freeride skiing events. The use cases of SMS are broad, and in every case, useful. For example, RASCALS swimming club (based in Derbyshire) uses SMS to notify members of swimming and lifesaving events, outstanding payments, pool closures and general club information.
‘A feature of SMS that they particularly appreciate is that they can send important information at short notice, ensuring that all members know immediately of impromptu changes that may require them to reschedule their plans for the day.’
‘The Castle Triathlon Series uses SMS quite extensively – this benefits the competitors and event in the following ways:
- Enables the coordination of athletes on race day: by sending personalized SMS messages to the competitors a day or two before each event, the competitors know their race numbers, start time and can go quickly through the registration process on race day. This limits delays and ensures competitors know what to expect.
- Last minute updates on race day: If there is an emergency, or a change in event details, an SMS can be sent to all participants detailing the changes. This is useful at events where internet connectivity is limited and emails are not delivered to mobiles.
- Event promotions and invitations: SMS messages can be sent to previous race participants inviting them to take part in the next sporting event, even offering discounts on the entry fee.
- Notifications to staff and volunteers: SMS messages can be sent to all staff and volunteers prior to the event, detailing the event schedule, location, dress code and any other relevant information. The sending of these messages is possibly the most important as without the staff and volunteers, these events would not be as well organized as they are.’
The Castle Triathlon Series team adds that ‘communications with the triathlon community is at the beating heart of what Castle Triathlon Series aims to offer – along with nurturing triathletes and delivering atmosphere. To help continue the benefit of communications to triathletes, BulkSMS and the Castle Triathlon Series are running a short survey to understand athletes’ key priorities and preferences. This takes around two minutes complete and has a prize draw for a chance to win a free race entry.