Every year, we get thousands of emails from travel companies urging us to get out, explore, soak in new cultures, be a wandering nomad. It’s always easy to spot the bad emails. They may be irrelevant to your surroundings, intrusive, or just badly planned. So how do you take your travel email marketing strategy to the next level? What does a really killer travel marketing strategy look like?
Travel Email Marketing 101
The key to building campaigns that truly stay in the top of the customer’s mind is all about using data to create context. An email marketing strategy that inspires customers to engage and take action need to cover all bases. From the time you begin to plan your travel, to those last minute (or super early) bookings, prepping you for your flight, for your destination, understanding how your experience was, and a whole lot more. We took a look at examples of travel emails that we enjoyed receiving to dissect the ingredients of a truly killer travel email marketing strategy.
Inviting Dialogue On An Alternate Channel
Travel planning can be stressful. Not only do we need to figure out the logistics and economics of the situation, we also have to make sure we’re getting good deals, keep in the loop that one friend who always bails, figure out if we have all the travel accessories we need, the list goes on. Anyone who makes this process easier is a gift to the itinerary. Which is why we love Kayak’s email inviting us to start a dialogue with them over text.
The email is great for a few reasons:
- The crisp, brief subject line: Travel questions? Text us. (Seriously.)
- Introducing another channel of communication into the customer journey.
- Of course, offering another source of information and support.
Educate and Inform
This is the kind of email that would make folks who send travel email marketing think: Why didn’t I think of that? Providing information to your customers that helps them map out their whole year in potential travel destinations is clever, and obviously extremely useful. If I got this email, I’d be looking at my list of long weekends for the year and plotting escape from work to these destinations in an instant.
Reasons this email works:
- The subject line: Travel Hacker Update: 12 Months. 12 Vacations. Your choice.
- The research that has gone into finding out the best time to visit so many different cities and what exactly you can experience there.
- The coolly positioned ad offering advertisers real estate on a high reach email list.
This is email from Virgin Airlines perfectly covers all requirements for an intelligently put together, contextual triggered email. The email, but for one tiny design flaw that bothers OCD folk like myself, looks is quite well designed as well.
Reasons this works:
- Triggered contextually to a customer based on them browsing tickets, but not buying.
- Building a sense of urgency (phrases like ‘while these rates last’ and ‘before they’re gone!’) about how the prices may fluctuate
- Well written call-to-action and email content.
- Urgency in the subject line too: Seats are filling up fast.
Local Destinations and Staycations
Travel doesn’t always have to be about going to exotic, faraway locations. Sometimes the best experiences are with your friends or a loved one taking the time out of your schedule to explore your own city better. Unwinding and relaxing without needing to go to an airport or deal with too much traffic can be the perfect way to destress. This is why Travel Zoo’s local deals are so relevant to build a great travel email marketing strategy.
Reasons this works:
- The subject line entices and offers a discount: Pick Your Spa Day at Fairmont Sonoma, 30% Off.
- The most popular pick has a 96% user generated rating. Cool.
- Personalized recommendations (You might also like…) for other destinations in the email.
Home Location Based Offers
If there’s one thing that’s probably easiest for a travel company to figure out, it is where a customer lives (or travels from most often.) Unfortunately, not all companies use this well in their travel email marketing strategies. This is why Southwest’s campaign stands out, offering great deals from San Francisco Bay Area. United Airlines could take out a page from Southwest’s strategy here, and stop sending offers for flights out of Houston to someone who lives in the bay area.
The Flight Preparation
Image: United Airlines
While we’re busy wrapping up things at work, packing and planning what we’re going to do when we get to our destinations, we can often forget the tiny details for our travel or flights. A good travel email marketing strategy will ensure that you are ready and remind you of essentials you might need for your travel.
Reasons these emails work:
- Useful tips to prepare for your trip – nice.
- Confirm your entertainment and connectivity options before you board and help you plan your flight better.
- Virgin’s example even contains a mobile boarding pass that you can add to you phone’s wallet
The Birthday Greeting
Pretty self explanatory stuff. Who doesn’t like a little birthday love coming their way? In the middle of feeling happy it’s your birthday or depressed that you’re getting older, little perks from brands can go a long way to make you feel like a more valued customer and improve your relationship with a brand.
PS – The image actually looks even better in your inbox because it’s a GIF!
Upselling & Gamifying The Travel Experience
Virgin Airlines knocks it out of the park with this personalized email, using a ticket you have already booked to try and build a deeper bond with you and get you more involved in your trip. This is an awesome example of how to make a customer feel special, upsell your business class tickets and gamify the entire travel experience. The visuals are tempting and the appeal is immediate, with a prompt call to action – a great addition to their awesome travel email marketing strategy.
Reasons this works:
- Upselling and gamifying my travel experience
- Clearly laid out perks: Dine in, Be First in lines, get more legroom (this one is especially awesome for tall folk)
- Triggered and personalized for my journey.
Building Brand Identity and Loyalty
Jet Blue’s special Valentine’s Day email is a great way to keep them at the top of a customer’s mind. The email isn’t personalized, but it still gives a feeling of making a personal connection with the airline and the brand.
Reasons this works
- The subject line. Short, sweet and uses an emoji: This is PERSONAL
- Witty, clever content, plus they stayed true to their brand colours and didn’t go crazy with the red hearts.
- Clever hashtag to circulate the image with on twitter, taking the campaign beyond email to social media.
Promoting an Event Done Right
It isn’t often when a travel company sends you an event-based email as part of their travel email marketing strategy. Yet, events are an essential area where travel companies can provide value and information to their customers, all the while keeping their brand at the top of their customers’ minds.
Reasons this works
- Using web events, a fairly untapped area in travel email marketing to promote a brand.
- Details about the date, time, what you’ll get out of it and how to be a part of the even are all very clear.
- An influencer brings authority to the subject and the email.
Do you have examples of great travel email marketing that you’d like to share and add to this post? Give us a shout and let us know, or send them to me at email@example.com and we’ll feature them on our blog and social channels!