Create a successful travel industry email Published April 1, 2015 Travel companies should know that all they need to persuade someone into taking a well-deserved holiday is an attractive offer. Print, television and even cinema advertising all provide viable ways of getting the word out there, but the best way to deliver a consistent stream of messages is through email marketing. Advertising through this channel gives the company the chance to build customer relationships and promote not one but dozens of holidays for the pleasure of their customers. After all, not everyone wants an all-inclusive break to Tenerife. Some might fancy venturing further afield, or those with a smaller budget may wish to trip closer to home. Delivering deals through email allows the brand to break their customers up into different groups and give each section exactly what they want to hear. There’s no such luxury when advertising via print or television, as every potential customer hears the same thing. The message might reach a few more people but it’s not targeted, and will therefore struggle to reap the same returns as a simple email. How to create a successful email for the travel industry So what kind of things help email marketers attract interest and generate sales in this area? Imagery Companies will struggle to sell their holidays unless they can mentally put the customer in that paradise. A picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to travel advertisements, which is why customers will always see a blown-up images of beaches, mountains or famous landmarks in the background of a headline. Some companies find it’s actually easier to construct their messages once they’ve chosen their picture, as the rest of the content can tie in with what the image is trying to offer. Bright, high-resolution pictures of desirable locations are a must for capturing the customer’s attention. Bold headlines Run an image of Weston-Super-Mare through Photoshop a few times and it will start to look like the West Indies. The imagery is nothing unless it’s complimented by a striking headline, as this is where customers get drawn in. Through the use of concise, prompting language and an attractive font, the company should attempt to sum up what’s on offer before moving onto the smaller details. Whatever they’re trying to advertise, whether it’s a low price, the availability of a new route or a package deal, this should be placed in the first line. Dropping the location in the subject line is also a great way to spark interest in the offer, because certain users may have already pondered visiting there without even seeing the deal. Aside from just listing the country or city, travel firms can use their wealth of cultural and geographical knowledge to really strike a chord with the recipients. They’re advised to get creative! Content That’s not to say all travel emails have to focus on an advertisement. Sure, all should contain a few notable offers in order to boost sales, but some are used to build customer relationships and keep the audience up-to-date with everything the industry’s seen in the last month. For travel newsletters, the inclusion of content is an absolute must. Engaging and highly specific articles can be used to keep the audience looking through the message for longer. The article might only be available through an external link, in which case the reader can click on the story and find themselves on the company website – right next to a fresh wave of offers. Some ideas for content could include a blog from a resident travel expert at the firm, or maybe a piece from a customer who’s recently enjoyed a trip to a place that’s being advertised. These articles give the customer something to look forward to with every mail out and might even save them from clicking ‘unsubscribe’. Timing An email advertising a family trip to Paris just days after the half-term holidays is unlikely to prompt a great amount of response. The same message would have had far more success in the weeks leading up to the school break, which is why timing is so imperative when it comes to travel advertising. Companies should shape their message deployment schedules around events like school breaks and bank holidays in order to capitalise on the improved selling conditions. People will be looking at possible destinations for their holiday around these dates and companies should strive to be in the right place when they come to make their decision. a few of the necessary boxes. Key events Providing a small calendar of key events is a must for both special offer emails and newsletters. Telling the customer to ‘Visit Thailand’ is a good way to start the conversation, but they need to be given a reason why. They may not be too attracted by the prospect of travelling to the country after reading this headline, but their interest could spike after hearing that the Songkran festival is just around the corner. Sporting events, music festivals, cultural happenings – anything that’s likely to capture the minds of the locals is worth mentioning. These can even act as a replacement for a rock-bottom offer, when a low price cannot be offered due to the demand. Segmentation Finally, with everything in place, the company must apply segmentation to their campaign in order to give each user group a highly-tailored response. Holidaymakers have lots of different expectations for their breaks, making it hard for companies to try and speak to them all through one advertisement. Companies must use email marketing software which allows them to split their audience up according to their preferences – garnered through their response to previous messages. As well as ensuring that the right messages reach the right people, this will help keep the campaign stats clean because everyone should be receiving something linked to their buying habits. Customers should have few reasons to opt-out of the service if they’re getting what they want, which is why targeting is so vital.