Author : Veethee Dixit
The COVID-19 virus pandemic we are facing at the moment has immensely transformed the way in which we perceive the world. We finally have much cleaner air, yet we have a mask on our faces, roads are empty due to lockdowns in cities that have forgotten what it is like to even have empty spaces, economies are crumbling, and many more such transformations.
While this pandemic might make it easier for us to see all the negative aspects that it has brought along with it, there have been many positive changes as well. For instance, the environment finally has time to breathe and rejuvenate. There are just as many positives as negatives. One thing that is undeniable amidst all of this, is the fact that things are changing, and if we do not adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances, we risk getting left behind. This pandemic could be a gift in disguise to those who make use of it to rethink and remodel their business strategies and ways of functioning.
The same can be applicable to the travel and tourism industry as well. It is common knowledge that due to the pandemic many countries have imposed strict bans and restrictions on travel for all the right reasons. One of the things that the travel and tourism industry can capitalize upon during this testing time is the magic of email marketing.
This time can be used to build a highly effective email marketing model that can prove to be a very important contribution to success acquired in the long run. It will provide your business with an edge in this already competitive sector.
In this guide, we will go over the basics of email marketing specifically for the travel and tourism industry and also cover some of the most basic scenarios.
The Nature of Travel and Tourism in a Digital World
One cannot deny the enormous impact the internet has had over our lives. It has been a medium through which humankind has been able to make countless advances to make our lives better. It has been useful even in terms of travel and tourism. During the process of planning a trip, people often go through all the deals they can find on travel and accommodation in order to make sure that the trip is just as they plan it to be. In this process, they leave a lot of data in terms of their spending patterns, transportation, and accommodation choices, interests, and more that can be studied to provide them with a more appropriate travel experience.
It is up to us now to figure out how this information can be used in order to win over more customers by providing them with exactly what they are looking for. In order to do this, there are two important things one must keep in mind.
Selecting the right email platform. A good platform will enable you to not only send emails with ease but also automate campaigns.
A good email marketing strategy that will involve different email campaigns seamlessly. This is best achieved when you target customers in a more effective manner
On putting these two aspects together, you will have an effective email marketing strategy in place.
How to select the right email marketing software for the travel and tourism industry?
There are certain basic criteria that any email marketing software should fulfill especially for the travel and tourism industry. Email marketing can be a really powerful tool for your business. We are listing below a checklist that you must absolutely keep in mind while trying to pick the right email marketing software.
Email creation/design – Time is of the essence when it comes to the travel and tourism industry. It is important that your software supports drag and drop editor that enables you to create emails easily. Moreover, it should also have adequate templates and customization options
Personalization – This is important in order to create content that is specific to the individual
Segmentation – It is important to target audiences according to their own travel preferences and profile. Segmentation can also be on the basis of technical aspects which sometimes help to run a campaign successfully. For example there are tools which help you segment all openers on gmail.com or yahoo.com.
Featues that allows you to manage your subscriber list easily
A/B testing that allows you to split test and optimize your campaigns
Ability to handle both transactional as well as marketing emails
Detailed statistical reports in order to assess and optimize newsletter efficiency
Strong automation tools that allow you to manage planned subscriber journeys
CRM Integration in order for quick usage of data at points of key interaction
Good deliverability in order to ensure that your emails reach your subscribers’ inbox
Customer support from your software is extremely important as well
Picking the right kind of email
There are three kinds of emails that you should be looking into; Marketing Email, Lifecycle email, and Transactional email. Ideally, as a business in the travel and tourism sector, your goal should be to come up with a solution that allows you to send all of them.
Marketing emails – These are mass emails that are either sent out to all your subscribers or certain targeted sections. For instance, Seasonal events, flash sales and newsletters
Lifecycle emails – These are predefined and automated emails that are sent on certain events such as a welcome email when your customer joins you for the first time or regarding feedback and loyalty programs
Transactional emails – These are usually sent out when an action was taken by the user, in order to guide them through the process better. These include actions such as Cart abandonment, password reset and booking confirmations.
It is important that you have a clear objective before starting to send out emails. Before formulating email campaigns, have clear overall short term and long-term goals.
Matching transactional and marketing styles
It is extremely important that your transactional and marketing styles are similar. Trust is one of the most important components in business, and having similar transactional and marketing styles will make sure that your customer trusts your business. Using this, the company can establish a solid brand identity that their customers can be familiar with. Transactional and lifecycle emails are triggered by certain events that the customer is a part of. These two kinds of emails have the highest rate of engagement in the travel and tourism industry.
As mentioned earlier, it is a safe assumption that every customer will want a smooth travel experience just as they plan it out. This means that they will be more likely to open emails that are related to their purchase. Hence, such emails related to the product or service being offered will always have the highest rate of engagement. One of the main reasons why customers open and read automated emails is because they provide crucial information regarding things such as airline details, accommodation, booking completion, and so on.
Before we get started with examples of email marketing strategies and campaigns, it is important that we first select an appropriate email marketing software that can be effective in the travel and tourism industry specifically.
Important travel and tourism emails
Marketing emails are one of the most important aspects of the travel and tourism industry and can have a huge effect on its readers. A good marketing strategy can be the key to a customer either choosing to go ahead with a travel booking with you or not.
- Newsletters and Scheduled Emails
In the travel industry, any good marketing strategy must have newsletters. There are many trips that are unchecked on people’s bucket lists, and you never know when they might choose to act on one of them. This is why you must constantly keep your subscribers posted with destination promotions so that they remember you when they finally need to execute that trip they always wanted to go on.
What should you include in your newsletters?
Visually appealing material is more likely to catch your reader’s attention. Hence, you must try to include beautiful images of some of your holiday destination packages. This could either be professional or even user-generated. Visuals are extremely vital for the travel industry as they show your subscribers a glimpse of what they can expect.
There is substantial research available online that shows that the conversion rates have been higher for destinations that were marketed with high-quality pictures
You can even use visual content in the form of GIFs and videos
Sometimes all your subscribers need is a little push. So, make sure to include a text that invites them to take action and make that booking
Provide special offers in order to encourage them to book that destination
Provide inspirational content that targets a specific location
As you start sending out newsletters more often, it is important that you learn how to save time while doing them. A good email marketing software will provide you with reusable email templates and some content blocks that you will be able to make use of to save time.
In order to create a brand that your customers will fully resonate with, different teams and departments will have to work together to create an effective newsletter on time. First, the goals and objectives will have to be set clearly and only after this the process of content creation can begin. The email will then have to be approved and sent. Your email marketing software should be dynamic enough in order to allow features such as live collaboration for seamless changes to take place.
The amount of attention that the subscribers pay to your message all depends on how well you personalize it. For example, if you find a way to fit in your customer’s name in the message or the subject name, they will acknowledge the amount of effort that goes into the messages that you send them and feel more valued as a customer.
- Flash Sales and Offers
The first thing that anyone would do before making a booking is to scout for better deals online. Offering a discount deal throughout the year might not seem like the best way to go about this as it might discourage customers who are using your product or services at full rates. Hence, in this case, timed offers are a good idea.
- Segmented Campaigns
This allows you to send different timed offers and discounts to different groups according to their preferences and profile options. This might also be done in order to exclude customers who have already made bookings. Through all the contact data and behavioral data that you have collected in the past, you will be able to send more contextually relevant emails to your customers.
- Seasonal Event Mails
Travel and tourism sectors see high spikes during festivals and during the holiday season. These are really good opportunities for your companies to push your own deals and packages. If you do your promotions well during this time period, you might just convince a few of your customers to go ahead and make that booking. All you need to do is customize and personalize your promotion deals according to the context of the festival. Moreover, the kind of places you promote, if they go hand in hand with the nature of the festival, it would be even more effective. Hence, it is always about marketing in a way that is relevant to the circumstances.
- Emails Based on Purchase History
Your email software must allow you to track which set of customers have already shown interest in a particular product or service. This information can be later used to provide them reminders to go ahead with the booking. Moreover, you must also be able to see which set of customers have booked a seasonal trip in the past. You can provide them with reminders regarding the same. For all of this, the advanced email segmentation feature can prove to be extremely useful.
- Welcome Programs
Welcoming a customer in a good way you can leave a long-lasting first impression on the customer. Why this particular event is important is because you can make use of it only once. You can use this opportunity to greet your customers with a tailored message when they join your community.
Give them a small introduction of what it is that your company stands for and what is the kind of community you are trying to create. Provide them help with setting up their profile and preferences. This will allow you to send them customized emails according to their own preferences. You can also include a referral code system that will encourage them to spread the word about your company to their colleagues. The Welcome program can also be used to include a showcase of some of the offers that are currently live and running.
Do make sure that your email marketing software provides you with the necessary statistics and reports in order to assess how your automated emails are performing in different scenarios.
- Birthdays and Anniversary Emails
Don’t you wish to add some value to your customer’s life during important events in their lives? Wishing your customer, a happy birthday along with a special discount can really make their day and show them how much you care for your customers. It can really reflect on the amount of thought that is put in the emails that you send to your customers.
- Feedback Emails
In order to know how you are doing in terms of delivering a good travel experience to your customers, it is important to know their feedback in the form of user reviews and ratings. It is important to stay in tune with what the recent reviews are as they mostly reflect the way in which your newer offers are received by your customers. Hence it is very crucial to remind your users to drop a review for your services either in the form of ratings or written feedback.
It is also your duty to let your customers know that their reviews are extremely valuable and they are taken into consideration while making changes to the user experience. Avoid putting long strings of questions and let them know that the review will take not more than a moment. In order to take care of feedback emails, make sure that your email marketing software provides you with a platform that allows you to build responsive emails. This will enable your customers to take surveys on the go from their phones as well. Considering this, a survey builder would prove to be extremely useful as well.
- VIP / Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs for businesses are extremely common for businesses, especially in the Travel and Tourism industry. It is an effective method to make sure that your customers return for future purchases. Email your customers in order to let them know about the points system and how they can increase their points in order to eventually claim rewards at specific milestones. This is a good way to keep your customers engaged with your brand in some form.
You can categorize your loyalty programs into specific tiers. The higher your customers accumulate points, the higher the tier will be. A higher tier will allow them to make use of bigger rewards for future purchases. This achieves two goals simultaneously. Firstly, you are ensuring that your customer returns to make another purchase and also engages with your brand consistently at the same time.
In order to make the most out of the emails you send regarding your loyalty programs, it is important that all your emails are delivered in the first place. For this, you will have to make sure that your email marketing software has a good reputation when it comes to deliverability. Moreover, in case there is an issue, it should have a system in place that will help you with troubleshooting.
To Sum It Up
While the travel and tourism industry is one of the most competitive industries out there, there are certainly some things you implement in order to get an edge over your competitors. The time spent working from home on your business during this testing time can be extremely fruitful if you can implement a good email marketing system in place. Email marketing helps you kill two birds with one stone. It is effective at both getting new customers as well as retaining older ones. Furthermore, the automation it enables will allow you to save a lot of time that can be invested in other aspects of your brand. Hence, finding the right email marketing software and having a good email marketing system in place could change the functioning of your business greatly.
Author : Veethee is a Computer Science Engineer by degree and a passionate writer by choice. The credit for her profession as a web content writer goes to the knack for writing combined with a technical background. She believes in utilising her skills to spread awareness and simplify people’s lives with her writing! When she is not busy playing the game of words, she likes to indulge herself in hobbies like reading and hitting the gym.
Postbox Consultancy Services is offering a free email marketing consultation call to companies from Travel and Tourism industry.
We can help you to resolve issues with email deliverability, can build a more cost reasonable email automation and can manage your complete email marketing efforts.