The big-name brands in the travel industry are making it harder and harder for smaller businesses to get their voice heard by consumers. With travel giants such as TripAdvisor making such an impact in the industry and all-round global giants such as Google making their own foray into the world of travel and tourism, where does that leave smaller travel agencies and sites? And what can they do to fight back?

One answer to these questions is email marketing – something that can divide opinion. As is always the case in the world of digital there tends to be someone declaring the imminent death of email any moment now. However, it is not dead, it is still with us and the figures speak for themselves. The return on investment that businesses can receive on email marketing has increased proportionately by 28% in the past 12 months. Add to that the fact that 63% of consumers who register to receive emails from a travel site are more likely to return to that site for repeat business again, and you realise email marketing is very much alive.

Here are three strategies to help email marketing work for your travel site:

1. Maximise your content

No marketer should ever underestimate the power of content. It's easy enough to grab the attention of a customer, but to engage with them is a different matter. We all know that emails need to be relevant and targeted but there's more to it than that.

By speaking their language your message will immediately resonate with your audience. Personalisation is a good place to start, but that goes beyond simply using a customers' first name as a greeting. You need to let them know they are important to you and suggest ideas and offers that are relevant to them as individuals.

2. Add to the journey

For most people, the idea of going on holiday is almost as exciting as the getaway itself. You want to engage your customers at every stage in the travel cycle so this means planning and building anticipation before the trip and then giving them something to look forward to once their trip is over.

Clever email marketing can include thanking customers for their booking, weather forecasts for their destination, packing checklists, feedback requests, special offers and more.

3. Revisit your database

Retargeting your database is a great way to keep your costs minimal, reconnect with previous customers and up-sell or cross-sell to existing customers. There are a number of ways to segment your audience including by email activity or purchase history. One size never fits all, so make your email marketing as targeted, effective and creative as possible.