Email Marketing Campaigns – a key tool for the tourism industry

It is definitely that time of year when most of us wish to take some down time and head for warmer climes, often to avoid the British weather!  This is also the time of year when we may see renewed energy and focus from the travel industry and an increase in their email marketing campaigns, encouraging us to take a holiday.  Read on to discover why this is such an important tool for them and to some learning we could apply to a small business.

How the tourism industry uses email to target and retain customers
Summer is on the horizon and about the time we’re all starting to crave a bit of a getaway. As such, it’s also a peak time for travel and tourism companies to target their customer databases. So, how do big names in travel, tourism and flights keep themselves front-of-mind with potential holiday-goers? The answer – in part – is via clever email marketing campaigns.

Here we look at how brands in this industry target and retain their customers.

Price is a huge consideration for majority of people when it comes to paying for luxuries like holidays. So, naturally, leading with affordable price-points is a huge part of travel companies’ email marketing campaigns. Another tactic that’s used is leading with the cheapest possible deal. If there’s one flight in late September that’s 50% cheaper than others throughout July and August – that’s the price that’s heroed in  emails, as it will get people searching through the site to find those gold-dust prices. In short – travel companies do take the ‘hard sell’ route, but when people are so keen to save money on what can be expensive travel plans – it’s not distressing to the brands at all.

Fear of loss
Following on from my point about offers and discounts, another thing that travel companies do really well is appealing to people’s fear of loss. Limited-time, 24-hour only (or similar) sales are frequently promoted. If people think they only have a short window of time to take advantage of low prices, it will motivate them to act now, rather than drag their decision-making process out.

Aside from the obvious -including people’s names in subject lines to hook them in – travel companies can go one better. Their websites generate a huge amount of data on a daily basis, and it’s easy for them to track and collate things like search terms and pages visited. So if someone’s been searching destinations in Thailand, leaving from Luton airport, it’s possible for companies to incorporate these elements into their digital strategy and email marketing campaigns  to play to an individual’s interests.

Timing and frequency
For emails promoting last-minute trips away, some companies like to send out emails during the second half of the working week. As for frequency, some brands like Secret Escapes and Groupon Getaways also rely on sending out a LOT of emails – sometimes daily. This tactic means they’ll definitely be a name you remember – but on the downside, it may have more people clicking ‘unsubscribe’, especially if they’ve just taken their annual break and won’t be thinking about making another booking for a while. Not great for retention….

Email marketing campaigns design
Unlike other big purchases like home appliances and electronics, people tend to purchase holidays with their hearts rather than their heads. As emotions are strongly in play when making decisions, it makes sense for tourism companies to include emotive photography, inspiring language and ideas, plus bright colours that hint at a sense of escapism and ‘wanderlust’.

Subject lines
Holidays are fun. Emojis are fun. Travelocity appealed to their fun-loving audience by including an aeroplane symbol in a subject line, and saw a 10.7% uplift in unique opens.

Case study example:
I wanted to share some great examples of email marketing, here are a couple that I found below, the imagery for me really speaks volumes, if they know their target audience these destinations and activities will resonate with them and inspire them to act:

Great email marketing example          Expedia Email

We have already covered a lot of the key points above as to why these email marketing campaigns work such as great imagery, personalised subject lines, etc.  If you are a small business selling a product or service that appeals to the heart rather than the head as with travel why not take the lead from the tourism industry, think of it as injecting a little bit of escapism into your customers’ in boxes.

We are big advocates of email marketing please CLICK HERE to discover more about how email working could work for your business.

I leave you with a question, who do you think does email marketing well?  and why?


Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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