Travel brands failing to engage travellers on email

Travel brands are struggling to get their emails read by travellers, new research suggests.

An IBM Marketing Cloud study puts the industry down in 12th out of 18 in terms of email marketing open rates, leading Skift to conclude that "travel companies [are] among the most ineffective when considering higher-performing industries".

The study, which assessed email messages sent by 3,000 brands in 40 countries, found that emails sent by lodging companies, travel agencies and cruise lines – a fair representation of the travel industry – had an average unique open rate, or the percentage of emails actually opened, of 22.7%.

Skift's assessments sounds pretty fair, then, with the industry's average click-through-rate, or the percentage of emails that drew at least one click, found to be the second lowest (2.4%) of all 18 industries studied.

Lodging, travel agents, and cruise lines also have some of the average lowest click-to-open rates, or the percentage of emails that got clicks (9.2%, with the lowest ranking of 18 industries for average click-to-open rates).

It's clear that travel brands need to up their game. Especially when you consider that people who buy products marketed to them via email – marketed well, we assume – spend a whopping 138% more than people outside the email marketing campaign, according to Convince & Convert.

Here are some simple tips to try and turn your email marketing fortunes around:

1. Go in with a strong subject line

If you want to boost that open rate, write a short (6-10 word), punchy subject line that steers clear of being salesy and tells the recipient what they stand to gain from opening the email.

Your subject line, then, needs to be quietly persuasive – definitely no excessive Caps usage – and, ideally, personalised in some way (personalised subject lines get up to 41.8% more opens, according to Experian).

2. End on a clever call-to-action

As one contributor on the Search Engine Journal website puts it: "A marketing email without a call-to-action is just an email." Prospects often need a fair bit of coercing to click-through, and a clever call-to-action can get them over the line.

Just make sure you don't overdo it; keep it short to create a sense of urgency ('Book now). It's all about encouraging readers to click for fear of missing out – unless they click-through now, they won't be able to make the most of the offer.

3. Use timely transactional emails

Transactional emails – the ones you get after making a purchase, registering, etc. – have a four to eight times higher open rate than other emails, as per Experian. It's not hard to see understand why as they engage customers when they're at their most engaged.

If they've registered their interest, for example, how about sending the prospect a transactional email which includes a time-sensitive offer? Just an idea.

See how those three tips serve you initially. As you go about reimagining your email marketing strategy, however, please bear in mind that there's a strong likelihood that your recipients will be receiving your email content on their mobile devices. What can you do to stop travellers swiping 'clear' on their phone's home screen? Contact us today and discover a solution.