Flight Centre is a global retailer of travel services and products including flights, vacation packages, hotels, tours, cruises, insurance and in-person travel consultation. With the mission to make travel accessible to everyone, Flight Centre provides vacation packages at a variety of price points to destinations all over the world.
The company is intent on staying in touch with subscribers and uses email marketing to provide relevant updates, personalized deals, and trips to loyal travelers. Flight Centre Canada has been using Campaign Monitor with Tagga (which was recently acquired by Campaign Monitor) and has made impressive leaps forward with open rates, click-throughs, and website traffic from email soaring to new heights.
We chatted with Andrew Walker, Email Marketing Manager, and Sheila Recuenco, CRM and Data Manager, to learn how the team uses Tagga and Campaign Monitor to fuel Flight Centre Canada’s email marketing engine.
Tell us a bit about Flight Centre Canada.
AW: Flight Centre is a global company that started in Australia. It launched in Canada in 1995, and we’re also in New Zealand, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, The United States, and a handful of other countries.
We’re the largest bricks-and-mortar travel retailer with over 150 stores and over 1000 consultants across seven provinces here in Canada. Each of our stores is staffed with our travel consultants and airfare experts– they’re available in store, in person, on the phone, and via online chat and email.
SR: The unique experience with Flight Centre is that you work with a travel consultant. You get the experience of a one-on-one conversation, and you work with someone who is a specialist in trips to certain areas of the world.
AW: We’re a retailer that welcomes not just travel enthusiasts, but anyone who wants to travel. We welcome all ages and all different kinds of people. When people contact us, they’ve seen our advertising or marketing, and they intend to travel and are excited about it.
How do you use email marketing at Flight Centre?
AW: Club Red is our email membership program, and we send out exclusive vacation packages, contests and giveaways, and general travel promotions. We segment our lists and send subscribers no more than two emails per week.
Our flagship email is sent once per week, and it includes general promotions and travel products. We segment those emails across Canada based on eight departure gateways, and major cities in Canada where people would travel from. We call out very specific promotions, such as Toronto to New York, or Toronto to Cuba, in these emails.
SR: We also diversify our newsletters which include more focused emails, such as our Club Red Cruise. Our subscribers who are cruise enthusiasts receive a newsletter specific to cruising.
We also offer a Club Red Luxury newsletter which goes out to subscribers that have expressed an interest in luxury travel. In addition, we layer in subscribers who have very high average spend to this program. To gain the interest of the younger generation, we offer monthly email to our millennial subscribers engaging them with travel tips and ideas pointing to our social channels.
Why is email marketing important to Flight Center?
AW: We’ve been using email marketing for at least ten years, and email has always been incredibly important to our marketing strategy. It’s not only the most cost efficient way we generate business, but it’s also the most personalized way to reach our customers.
Subscribers have invited us into their personal inboxes, and we take that very seriously. We want to make sure we’re sending the most relevant information possible to our subscribers.
SR: In terms of quantifying sales from email, we rely on email metrics as well as a business intelligence tool that analyzes how much revenue we get from email. This tool measures email engagement rates but also gives insight into how well each email performs from a sales perspective. For example, we know that our ClubRed subscribers contribute approximately 20% of our total sales, which is powerful.
How are you using Tagga with Campaign Monitor and how has it helped your business?
SR: Tagga allows us to tie our email marketing directly to revenue. It houses our transactional data, customer profiles, social media, online booking data, and it weaves it all into a CRM tool.
We can then get insights about our customers in one view, and see how well each of our channels is doing with our customers. Thanks to Tagga, we’re able to see just how big of an impact our email program has on our bottom line.
Right now, we have several different data streams flowing through Tagga to help us understand who our real community is. We wanted to plug in our point-of-sale data to find out how often customers buy from us and how much they spend.
We decided to stream a ton of other channels into the platform– we also have phone and website leads going through Tagga, as well as our social channels. We’ve then used this information to learn about our email subscribers, and we can use Tagga to export data instantly into the Campaign Monitor platform.
What list segments do you use to power your automation and personalization?
SR: We use dynamic content to target our emails to four specific demographics. We created these four demographics through focus groups, and we target these groups with specific imagery and offers that will be most relevant to them. Our four groups are:
- Single independent traveler
- Family traveler
- Double income, no kids type traveler
- Retired traveler
To gain information about our subscribers, we use personality quizzes to find out how people travel and offer a potential prize of an inclusive trip. In exchange for signing up for the contest, we learn more about them so we can put them in an appropriate segment.
For example, we’re currently running a Mother’s Day contest with a quiz:
We can then use the responses from this quiz to put subscribers into particular segments so that they will receive messaging that is relevant to them.
We also personalize our email campaigns to make sure that the subscriber feels the deal is for them in particular. We even personalize our terms and conditions to include the subscriber’s name, so they feel the deal is perfect for them.
For example, here is an email that showcases dynamic imagery for a particular persona with a personalized offering. This email features:
- Personalized imagery and lead in content
- Deadline driven to create urgency
- Personalization: first name, consultant worked with in the past
- Terms and conditions at the bottom include the subscriber’s name to showcase this offer is just for them
Tell us more about some of the advanced email tactics you use.
AW: When we first started using Campaign Monitor, we began A/B testing right away. We’re always doing that, and we always want to be changing and playing with our email templates. As we grow, our subscribers will likely change and evolve.
SR: We use marketing automation as well, and we’re currently running a number of customer journeys. One is a welcome email. If a subscriber fills out a form on our website, they receive an automated email welcoming them to ClubRed.
We also have an automated re-engagement program. We’ve been able to bucket our subscribers into five different engagement segments based on how often they open our emails.
- Active – last engagement 30 days ago
- Engaged – last engagement 90 days ago
- Unengaged – last engagement 3 to 6 months
- Ghosts – last engagement over one year ago
We’ve devised specific automated programs to re-engage the unengaged and ghost segments or encourage them to unsubscribe if they’re no longer interested.
Once subscribers become “ghosts,” we stop contacting them as often. We don’t offer promotions. Instead, we offer lifestyle content, and we encourage them to participate in our contests so we can gain more information about them.
If they still don’t engage with us, we believe it’s okay if subscribers leave, and we ask these subscribers to update their preferences or to unsubscribe. We’re not trying to contact subscribers who aren’t interested in our content or offerings.
How long have you been using Campaign Monitor? How did you select it?
AW: We’ve been using Campaign Monitor for about two years now. Our previous email service provider was not able to grow our program any further. We wanted to enter a new era of email marketing and take our program to the next level. We were able to migrate, retain the features we had before, and gain a ton of new ones.
The templates built into Campaign Monitor made it easy to create new templates and send out emails much quicker than we were before– that’s been a huge benefit. Using the drag-and-drop email builder allowed us to create a more mobile-friendly template that directly influenced our web traffic from email.
Improving our email templates has resulted in a 57% increase in click-through rates.
The templates have allowed us to save time so we can send out even more relevant emails. Our emails became much more visually appealing, as well. It’s become easier for people to click on our emails, and
We’ve seen a 30% increase in web traffic since implementing Campaign Monitor.
How do you measure email marketing success at Flight Centre?
SR: Before we used Tagga and Campaign Monitor, our measurement of success was standard email metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, web clicks, as well as eCommerce conversions.
Now, using Tagga, we’re able to understand sales generated from ClubRed over a longer time frame. For example, we’re able to see that subscribers who open certain emails go on to make a purchase within 30 days.
We’re still finessing that 30-day time frame– we’re finding this is a great place to start. These days, people see travel they like, and they want to book it. Just because you receive several emails doesn’t mean you’ll open each one– you’ll open the ones most relevant to you.
Our emails generate high open and click-throughs– we see a high ROI on our CRM campaigns. Email is such a cost efficient channel to use. We’re not spending too much to communicate, and we see a significant return.
For every dollar spent, we see a return anywhere from $25 to $40 per purchase.
Using Campaign Monitor and behavioral data, the team at Flight Centre can learn more about our subscribers, the content they engage with, and the offers that interest them. Based on this data, we can put them into segments and further personalize their experience. It’s incredibly powerful.
The team at Flight Centre Canada is excited about Campaign Monitor and Tagga’s new partnership, and can’t wait to see how the two continue to work together to seamlessly pass data.