Email marketing has been dubbed the 'workhorse' of any strong travel agency's sales lead generation.
It's easy to see why: travel industry emails average a 20.5% open rate and a 2.3% click-through rate, according to Mailchimp - an organisation that each month reviews email campaigns to 1,000 subscribers or more.
This would suggest that open rates have remained relatively flat the past few years, despite more companies sending out more emails than ever.
However, to get those rates to stay flat, travel brands are going to have to work a little harder. Customers are getting floods of emails in their inbox every week and only the best are being read and remembered.
The Travel Market Report website explains the steps travel marketers can take to ensure your email strategy remains a workhorse as opposed to flogging a dead horse...
Properly personalise emails
Every brand is personalising their email marketing messages to some extent – usually it just involves using the recipients first name, which doesn't have a great impact on click-through rates; like we said, everybody is doing it.
Recipients really need to feel like the information contained was written for them if they are to click-through to your website – simply addressing them with their name won't pass muster.
Travel brands need to look at which links email subscribers are clicking and bring that back to lead conversion.
Consider dividing up distribution lists by customer interests, separating those who like cruises, walking trips, adventure holidays, etc. This way you give the subscriber the impression you are curating content and offers just for them, giving them the incentive to click on your email and not just let it rot as one of the thousands of unread.
Stuff emails with your most current content
Travel inventories and pricing are updating in real time – if your emails aren't a reflection of your website and subscribers find themselves reading content and offers that are no longer relevant, they'll see it as a waste of their time.
It's crucial that the customer is always seeing the most relevant information and up-to-date pricing and inventory – there's nothing like the false hope of an expired deal to bring about some customer dissatisfaction.
Make a good first impression
From the off, you need to start training your audience that 'these emails are very interesting to me'. If you get a reputation for sending dull or irrelevant emails to subscribers, it's very hard to turn that around.
So, ensure your headline does its job of catching the reader's eye, rather than just highlight yet another 'huge sale'. Keep it short and sweet - no more than seven words, ideally – and make use of pre-header text if needs be.
The best time to send an email is between 11am and 2pm, though leisure customers also tend to open their emails in the early evening.
Finally, make sure your emails are optimised for mobile, for that's where the majority of your subscribers will be viewing them, we'd suggest.
Make sure the promises you make on email lives up to reality. Our market-leading travel technology platform automatically gives your customers the optimum experience. It comes with a versatile booking engine that delivers lightning fast results and a mobile platform for those customers searching and booking on-the-go.