The travel industry has always been changeable, but currently, change is on overdrive with the emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and web-based software that makes it easy for customers to book, cancel, and review businesses.
And while new technologies that allow consumers to forego human interaction—for example, allowing consumers to book their own hotels as opposed to speaking with hotel staff—can seem cold and impersonal, technology also allows businesses to get up close and personal with their prospects, particularly when using marketing strategies like email marketing.
We’ve curated tips and examples of winning email marketing campaigns to show you how you can make your travel-related business trustworthy and relatable, and also position your brand as your customers’ go-to choice.
5 tips to ensure your travel email marketing campaigns stand out
Dynamic changes to the travel and hospitality industry are redesigning the face of travel, including how technologies are impacting consumers in positive ways.
With global tourism on the rise and contributing trillions of dollars to the economy, it’s important for travel and hospitality-related industries to stay on the cutting edge of new developments.
In fact, email is overwhelmingly the channel of choice for most consumers, making email marketing campaigns a lucrative strategy for communicating with customers and developing leads when you’re in the travel industry.
Let’s take a look at how your travel or hospitality-related business can create and send stellar travel email marketing campaigns to see some of your best results from a campaign yet.
1. Optimize your emails for mobile.
More and more people turn to mobile devices like smartphones to make reservations, book travel, and research holidays. In the US, 48% of users to be exact feel comfortable planning almost every aspect of their trip via their mobile device.
In fact, around 70% of U.S. travelers say they always use their mobile device while traveling, up from 2015 when just 41% reported using a smartphone or mobile. For email marketers, heavy mobile usage means making sure all your messages are mobile-optimized for the best customer experience possible.
Hotel.com does this well, letting their customers know they can easily book any stay via a mobile device:
Easy transactions are important, as most consumers want and expect a simple transaction from their mobile travel experience. To take this tip a step further, be sure that the journey from your email to converting on your website or on your app is as seamless as possible on a mobile device.
A transportation business like Lyft knows that travelers often book rides while they’re on-the-go, so their email marketing strategy includes a simple-to-follow visual example of what riders can expect when they open the Lyft app:
Even if your business doesn’t have a mobile app, ensuring that your email marketing messages are all mobile-optimized will keep recipients riveted to your message rather than frustrated with slow or hard-to-read graphics.
Interestingly, mobile conversions lag behind desktop for travel-based businesses, pointing to a disconnect between businesses and consumers, where consumers want to use mobile devices for bookings, reservations, and research, but they are confounded by non-optimized sites.
As an email marketer, you can push your brand to the front of your field by optimizing your emails and your website to facilitate mobile conversions, giving your customers what they want.
2. Don’t forget to get social.
Aside from flocking to mobile devices to book hotels, restaurants, and tours, travelers are also relying on social media to make travel plans as well as share their adventures while en route. That’s why giving customers a way to connect with you on social media is a critical element of email marketing for travel-related businesses.
Here’s how one company does this:
The social media icons are small, but the high contrast between the background and icon draws the eye—and the finger—in order to entice your subscribers to connect and share their experiences.
3. Bring a personal touch to your marketing.
Personalization is a buzzword in email marketing circles, but it’s also crucial to the travel and hospitality industry, with 55% of travel marketing pros eyeing personalization as a critical tool.
Referring to your customer by name is a great way to develop a relationship, but so is giving them hand-picked suggestions based on prior search activities.
This Air Canada email recipient has been searching for flights to London, so the company offers a great deal on a London air package:
Image: Campaign Monitor
In case their customer has changed her mind since her last search, Air Canada also provided flights to popular destinations from her home airport, Montreal.
Alternatively, you can get personal by providing up-to-date travel information and tips to your customers or local favorites for the city your customer is visiting. Not only will your subscribers get all of their travel details organized together in one place, but you can offer helpful weather information and station maps to ensure they have the best experience possible.
Making recommendations informed by local weather or your customer’s interests is a sure-fire way to build trust in their eyes and set your company apart from your competitors. Showing customers you care about their experiences will earn you loyal, recurring customers for the long term.
4. Resolve abandoned carts.
Abandoned carts are a big issue in the travel and hospitality industry since consumers often visit upwards of 38 websites before committing to a booking. A good way to increase your business’ conversion rate is to trigger an email when a customer does a bit of research on your site but doesn’t follow through.
Thomas Cook sends to customers who search but don’t purchase this way:
Reminding visitors of their search, collating and organizing results for them, and making it easy to complete their transaction will nudge your prospects toward conversion. Consider adding a promotional offer to encourage them to purchase or warning them that they’re running out of availability for a popular booking.
5. Boost sales with special offers.
Email marketing campaigns provide you with the perfect opportunity to entice your customers with special offers, discounts, and limited-time-only deals to encourage them to purchase on your site. Offering customer loyalty programs is another great way to convince prospects to purchase on your site instead of your competitors.
Consider adding humor to your subject lines and emails to encourage your subscribers to notice your email in their crowded inbox. Emphasizing scarcity will also tap into your subscriber’s FOMO and the fear of missing out will make them more likely to purchase.
Another tactic is to offer customers the chance to be a part of sweepstakes or other giveaways, encouraging them to take the plunge and convert while you’re running the contest, like Travelodge:
If you’ve segmented your customers, you’ll be able to offer discounts by specific locations, times of the year, or any number of targeted factors that can help increase conversion.
Travelers are increasingly dependent on mobile devices like smartphones for up-to-the-minute information on hotels, restaurants, and transportation.
If you’re in the travel and hospitality industry, effective email marketing campaigns get sent straight to the inbox on any device, providing the kind of personal interaction, technological savvy, and high ROI you need to stay ahead of fierce competition.
Using simple, yet effective, email marketing tactics like personalization, mobile optimization, social media integration, and abandoned cart re-engagement in conjunction with sales and discounts can give your marketing strategy a boost.
Finally, connecting with customers using these tips and tricks can help your email marketing go the distance with stellar response and the high ROI that makes email marketing a must-have part of your marketing strategy.