This year is the 45th anniversary of email. And to mark the occasion, we’ve decided to take a look back through the history of the medium, looking at how it has changed and evolved over the years into a communications tool trusted by countless businesses across the globe. To prepare your travel business for what’s to come, our team of marketing experts have also predicted some of the latest trends to watch out for in 2017.


With more than 2.6 billion active users and over 4.6 billion email accounts currently in operation, email has become one of the most widely used communication platforms online. Used by businesses worldwide in almost all aspects of commerce, email’s accessibility and practicality has resulted in successful travel providers using the medium to effectively market to their customers online.

A brief history

The concept of email predates the internet itself. The very first example can be traced back to a program called ‘MAILBOX’ at MIT, back in the year 1965. The system allowed users to create messages which could be seen and accessed by other users of the same computer.

In 1969, a network for connecting multiple computers throughout MIT was created, this network was named ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) and was designed for the purpose of communication inside the organisation.

In 1971, a man named Ray Tomlinson revolutionised the world of online communication as we know it, by inventing the first electronic mail by creating ARPANET’s networked email system. The idea of having instant communication across machines within an organisation began to spread like wild fire. However, the emergence of internal networks made things difficult, as many did not know how to determine where a message would go within a network.

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Ray had an answer, the “@” symbol. This indicated a specific destination for a message through simply addressing it as: username@name of computer, and has been the method of addressing email ever since.

By 1993 the term “mail” had been entirely replaced by the word “email”. To this day, email use continues to grow worldwide, with research calculating that by 2017 there will be over 2.7 billion email users worldwide and over 3.0 billion by the end of 2020.

What’s next?

Email is one of the biggest communication tools for travel brands across the globe, particularly for engaging consumers seeking to contact or follow these brands online. Our expert team have put together a list of some of the top email trends they believe will dominate the industry in the coming months, with some advice on how your business can take advantage of them.

Newsletters are trending

Many companies have already built an entire revenue model out of email newsletters. Due to the rise in people using ad block, and the lack of ROI for social media platforms, more brands will begin turning to newsletter emails in 2017 to build a more rigid relationship with their customers. Engagement is key, and we advise writing newsletters with relevant and intriguing stories, content, tips and industry insights which will leave your customers wanting more.

Always nurture new subscribers

Throughout the festive season, it is likely your site acquired many new subscribers. These individuals are highly valuable and could be potential customers, making them crucial to your business’s success. You must nurture them through balancing out the frequency of your emails as new subscribers won’t appreciate a high volume of content in their inbox. We also recommend sending out relevant offers and to never let them forget they are valued through the use of occasional “thank you” emails.

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Target your email marketing

Amazon and Facebook are already using targeted material with full effect, and it’s time you did too. Online shoppers expect to receive relevant and personalised marketing messages, and if they don’t, they will be less likely to engage with your brand online. Use more targeted techniques in your email marketing, such as dynamic content and workflows that eliminate the need for buyer journeys via email. Also, ensure you segment your lists, you wouldn’t want someone interested in cruise holidays to receive emails about Skiing.

Mobile will be key to engagement

2017 is the year for optimising for mobile in your email marketing, ensuring your customers have a seamless email experience on their hand-held devices. One third of all purchases online are now made via a smartphone or tablet, if you have not yet optimised marketing emails for mobile, you can expect to miss out on some major selling opportunities. To increase click rates on mobile, we suggest using responsive design to ensure your emails render across all web browsers and to always preview email creatives before sending them.

How can Digital Trip help?

Creating the perfect email strategy is difficult, but with the right help you can stay ahead of your competition and engage your travel customers. At Digital Trip, our design and marketing experts can help you create targeted, cost effective email campaigns that deliver maximum ROI.

Contact us today to find out more.