The travel industry has seen plenty of ups and downs since 2020. Even though it has been challenging to encourage more than a “staycation” due to varying regulations in many locations, one fact persists.
People love to travel.
Even though there haven’t been as many opportunities in recent months, times are also changing. By the end of April 2022, most jurisdictions plan to have most (if not all) of their pandemic-related rules lifted.
That means life is getting back to normal. That also means people are getting ready to travel once again. Running an email marketing campaign in that environment can lead to some huge opportunities!
Best Ideas for Travel Email Marketing to Try
The email types you send in the travel industry are like what other businesses offer to customers. When designing your campaign, you can include welcome notes, exclusive offers, newsletters, thank you messages, notifications, and confirmations.
Authenticity is crucial in all industries, but it must be an emphasis for those working in travel. Hospitality is a priority for many clients. If your approach doesn’t feel warm and welcoming, someone might work with one of your competitors.
That’s why these ideas are worth reviewing to see if they’re implementable with your email marketing efforts.
1. Start with a Cohesive Campaign
It’s not easy to convince people to travel. They have specific desires about their destinations, experiences, and itineraries. When you begin the contact process with a cohesive campaign idea, it’ll be easier to generate the results you want to see.
Although travel is an individualistic experience, people also love guaranteed results. If others have tried something similar and had fun, it is more likely for others to have the same outcome.
Here are some ways to implement this idea for your next travel email marketing campaign.
- Add Testimonials. About 90% of consumers in the travel industry and others say that online reviews influence buying decisions. Adding this information to an email marketing campaign through pictures, written information, or videos can increase confidence in your services.
- Suggest Destinations. These ideas should vary according to each time of year. Have items to consider for the shoulder, high, and low seasons to give people extra options to review.
- Offer Incentives. It’s easier to turn down a full-price travel package than it is when free or discounted offers are included in the offer. Everyone wants to stretch their travel budget as far as possible.
- Ask Questions. If it seems like your email marketing efforts aren’t generating results, it could be that your approach isn’t connecting with the audience as expected. Sending questionnaires can help you get on the same page.
Once you know that you’re speaking the language your customers want to hear, it is much easier to generate results with your travel email marketing efforts.
2. Create Subscriber Shortlists
When you create an email marketing list within the travel industry, it’s important to treat them as you would the process of making friends. You might have a significant group of people you enjoy being around, but you’ll shortlist the most reliable people who have earned your trust.
Creating subscriber lists is a process that starts by offering a prominent signup option on your site. You can also collect contact information from people when they visit your office, speak with you on the phone, or send correspondence.
One of today’s best practices in email marketing is to use a double opt-in form. This extra screening ensures that the people you’re speaking with through this investment want to hear your messages.
3. Use Visuals Early and Often
About 90% of the information the brain receives is visual. If you want people to get to know your brand and business, the fastest way is to include graphics and videos with your travel email marketing efforts.
It might be tempting to throw in a picture here and there, but the authenticity rule is still active. If the imagery doesn’t match the message, there’s a higher risk of losing a hot lead to a competitor.
These tips can help you increase your email marketing efforts’ chances of getting noticed.
- Images Should Pop. The image should be the first thing that someone notices about your email. If it intrigues the reader, they’ll take a closer look at your text.
- Keep the Scheme. Your email colors and branding should match. Adding contrast can attract a person’s attention with strategic placement, but don’t overdo it. When someone sees the same thing consistently, it becomes white noise to the brain and gets ignored.
- Use Responsive Templates. Over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices today. If your design doesn’t adapt to that activity, you can still lose people.
- Add Scarcity. People act quickly when they think they’ll miss out on something. If you add timers or countdowns to specific offers, your email marketing efforts can generate a better result.
When you have a short email to send, about two or three pictures that relate to the content are enough to generate attention.
4. Convince the Reader
Your email text becomes your brand’s voice. Although images create attention, it is the power of the written word that often closes the deal for readers.
The best email marketing for travel agencies takes a conversational approach with each contact. You want to keep the messages personable, as if you’re speaking directly to that person. When readers feel like what they’ve seen was meant for them, it allows more interest to build for the outreach effort.
“I’ve tried this approach and it doesn’t work.” It does work, but simple mistakes can cause readers to go elsewhere.
- Industry jargon that someone doesn’t understand can be confusing and frustrating.
- Spelling or grammatical errors lessen the positivity that readers feel about your brand and business.
- When the email marketing message is more about you than the reader, it stops people from participating.
Travel is about what that person needs right now. That information can change daily, which is why having flexibility and empathy in your email marketing efforts is vital for a successful outcome.
5. Implement Segmentation
Think for a moment about the last customer service experience you had. If it was a positive one, what made it that way?
If it felt negative, what triggered your frustration?
Those same triggers that create joy or anger in customer service exist when reaching out to people proactively. The benefits of email marketing are challenging to find when people see your messages in negative frames.
The two ways to correct a negative mindset about your travel emails are to segment and personalize the message.
When you start segmenting your email marketing lists, think about the essential demographics and criteria that influence your brand and business. These categories might include the reader’s age, interests, or even their travel history with you.
Additional demographics to consider can include household income, geographic location, social media interactions, family size, and destination preference.
It is easier to personalize each message after you group recipients into your preferred categories. Although you won’t be writing individual letters, you can still create merge tags for your subject lines and messages to individualize your approach.
6. Send Purposeful Triggers
The travel industry has unique challenges to consider. People often plan trips several weeks (or months!) in advance, but you can also find families that make last-minute decisions. A generic email won’t satisfy either group.
You won’t find as many benefits in segmentation either. Spontaneous or meticulous travel happens because of choices and behaviors.
That’s why the benefits of email marketing include trigger messages.
A trigger message occurs when a subscriber acts or behaves in a particular way. When someone signs up to join your email marketing list, a welcome note is a trigger to that action. You might include a specific discount or travel deal to encourage brand interactions.
When someone buys something from your agency, a confirmation or transactional email provides a natural follow-up opportunity.
You can even send an email after a completed trip to thank your customer for their business, request feedback about the process, or invite them to explore a future traveling opportunity.
7. Ensure Legal Compliance
Your email marketing lists can do more harm than good when they don’t include the current set of CAN-SPAM regulations.
According to that legislation, all commercial emails must follow these specific rules when contacting individuals.
- Not send messages that identify as advertising.
- Avoid subject lines that could be considered misleading.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
- Provide a valid physical or postal address.
- Offer recipients the option to opt-out of the email marketing list at any time.
Most businesses get those items right. The one place where issues typically occur involves the use of headers. They cannot be “fake” or “wrong” when contacting people.
Travel agencies that fail to abide by these rules can face various penalties. Since people want authentic experiences, the foundation of your relationship with each customer should take a similar approach. A false identity won’t do that.
You’re asked to honor opt-out requests promptly. That means within ten business days. Once the recipient is removed from the list, you are generally not allowed to transfer or sell information to anyone else.
What is a commercial email? It is anything that qualifies as an electronic mail message for the primary purpose of promoting products or services – or serving as a commercial advertisement. Sending transaction confirmations, warranty data, or membership changes follows a different path.
If you add any advertising to any email, it can fall under the CAN-SPAM regulations.
8. Focus on the Holidays
Email marketing makes sense at any time of year, but there are a few moments when a majority of people think about traveling. When you’re proactive with messaging around each holiday season, you’ll be more likely to secure some business.
The benefits of email marketing allow you to put out the right message at a suitable time. When people are already thinking about visiting family or friends, a note that makes it easier to accomplish those plans can dramatically improve your lead generation capabilities.
Emails that focus on the holidays work best when they include limited-time offers or themes that represent the occasion.
You can talk about the ideal destinations at that time of year, different promotions, or even alternatives to visiting family for those who want a getaway during the holidays. You won’t want to miss out on this chance to establish closer relationships!
9. Give People a Reason to Choose You
Business travel alone in the United States represents over 1.3 million trips and $110 billion in tourism spending annually.
According to IBIS World, over 70,000 travel agencies are currently operating in the United States. When you consider the global community, that figure more than doubles.
That means you’ve got a lot of competition out there, especially since tickets and travel experiences can be booked online. How can your investment in email marketing for travel agencies pay off in the coming months and years?
The first step is to build excitement about a trip. That emotion comes from individualization, so don’t be afraid to ask people what they’d like to experience.
You can highlight special offers that appeal to each group’s demographics to utilize your segmentation work.
It also helps to build brand loyalty by establishing relationships through email correspondence. Even when it is one-way communication, your images and text let people know that you get where they are right now – and where they want to be.
Loyal clients keep coming back for more travel experiences.
Now Is the Time to Embrace the Benefits of Email Marketing
Email marketing works because travel agencies make it work. Unless you take the time to build lists and send messages, the information that clients want won’t come from you.
It’ll come from a competitor who is putting in the effort to reach out proactively.
When you’re ready to build your first or next email campaign, the tips and ideas offered here can help you have a successful experience.
Some emails might have more of an impact than others. That’s okay. When you stay persistent with this investment, it’ll bring dividends your way.