Having just returned from holiday made me think about the way travel companies, be it agencies or airlines, don’t take full advantage of the power of email. So, here are some email marketing tips travel companies can use to enhance revenues using the data they have at hand about their subscribers.

Travel companies’ major advantage

Travel companies are particularly fortunate in terms of gathering data, because it’s part of the nature of their business. Of course, being transparent with the customer is very important, so make sure you let them know what data you store and why. Generally, the types of data would be:

  • Locations – both place of origin and destination
  • Dates – of previous holidays and sometimes birthdays
  • Budgets – based on previous purchase(s)

What goes around, comes around

Many people take their holidays around the same time every year, so make sure that you are part of that life-cycle. And next year when your customer wants to book again, they’ll book with you. How can you do that? Use that invaluable data with the marketing channel that gives the best ROI: email.

Tips that can make a difference in your email marketing

  1. Timing doesn’t mean time of the year: even though there are some definite times of the year when people travel, don’t ignore other opportunities. There’s never a bad time to email your subscribers, because people book holidays at different times of the year. Some even avoid peak months to avoid the crowds.
  2. Make me dream, before you want me to buy: I used to get lots of emails with discounts for different destinations, but I wasn’t in the mood to buy so I unsubscribed. Make your subscribers dream about the destination first. Get content from the web (or your own blog) on top attractions and culinary experiences, include pictures, videos, animated GIFs, whatever works for you. And then send them the email with the deal.

Advanced tip: use automation to send deals about the destination contacts clicked on, for added personalization.

  1. Entice subscribers to treat themselves: you know when they’ve last travelled, when holiday fever kicks in and you might even know their birthday. So use this data to remind them that they need a treat.

Advanced tip: include that data in the email for advanced personalization – ‘Dear Sarah, it’s been 8 months since you went to Spain. Do you remember the scrumptious tapas? Go on, treat yourself!’

  1. Recover the abandoned booking: cart/basket abandonment technology is not just for retailers! Travel companies can benefit greatly from it, as consumers sometimes get distracted during booking processes, particularly longer ones. Why not send them an email to nudge them into completing the purchase? The first 30 minutes can show the highest conversion.
  2. Come find us: some people prefer to come into the branch for help and advice. So make sure to always include the location of the nearest branch to them. As a fallback option if location data is not available for all contacts, insert a link to the website where they can find out themselves
  3. Celebrate their excitement by making yourself helpful:about a month before they travel, most people start researching for things to do during their holiday. Why not create an email to suggest the top ten attractions?  This email might not bring you revenue right away, but it will make your brand stand out. So next time they want to book a holiday, they know they can count on your tips and advice, not just your great service and value.

Advanced tip: If you don’t have the resources to write that content, insert links from websites like TripAdvisor, or pull hashtags of popular activities from Twitter. You can use the same email to cross-sell other services, like car hire, for extra revenue.

7. Continue building that relationship – once they’ve gone on holiday, send customers an email with a discount on their birthday, newsletters with holidays in similar budgets, and nudge them after six months and a year after the holiday. That’s when they’ll be most likely to book again.