Time and time again, email marketing is proven to be one of the best performing channels for digital marketers. Hotel and travel brands are particularly well placed to capitalise on this tool thanks to the abundance of data naturally collected during the reservation process – destination preferences, budget parameters, dates and name, age and location for example. To help you turn this advantage into reservations and revenue, read on for our top tips including the best ways to use email automation for travel marketing, design trends, subject lines and payment predictions.
1. Use email automation to recover abandoned carts
Consumers very rarely complete purchases in a single fluid process and everyday distractions can result in reservations being abandoned before the booking process is completed. If your email automation game is strong, you can recoup this lost opportunity and build a stronger customer relationship at the same time.
Email automation for travel marketing doesn’t have to be boring. Use the aspirational and adventurous aspects of travel to create fun, memorable and engaging automated emails. Such emails serve to nudge users who haven’t completed their booking to return to site and confirm their reservation, meaning the more creative and engaging they are, the higher the likelihood of recouping the abandoned cart. Test different styles and tones of content, try adding enticing images, fun GIFS and experiment with the window between cart abandonment and the email prompt.
2. Keep an eye out for mobile email payments
Around 68% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This is a huge positive for travel brands as more and more consumers become comfortable with browsing and booking from their smart device. With tools such as Apple Pay now commonplace and widely accepted on the high street, it’s only a matter of time until mobile bookings can be completed with similar ease from an email. Make sure your hotel is one of the first to capitalise by creating an email marketing strategy that recognises this impending technology. Keep an eye on industry developments and have offers, content and designs in mind so that you can integrate one click mobile booking as soon as possible.
3. Use email automation to build pre-trip engagement
As your guests count down to their stay, why not use email marketing to build a rapport and provide useful content to enhance their booking experience? You can repurpose your blog content and marketing materials such as maps, destination guides and ticket booking for attractions to create automated emails programmed to send to the guest from four or five weeks out.
Helping guests to count down to their stay turns your emails from transactional to useful, helps you establish a stronger relationship with clients and lay the ground work for a great post-stay review. Try adding top attractions, suggested dining, ‘our guests loved….’ blog post reading suggestions and even weather forecasts.
4. Incorporate eye-catching GIFs
A GIF is a mixture of video and image and can make an attention-grabbing addition to any email marketing send when used sparingly. Because the GIF includes a small element of movement, it’s advisable to stick to one per message so it becomes the focus of the email.
Fun and eye-catching, they’ve been successfully used by a host of big brands and can add a light-hearted edge to your own email messages. Use them to send special offers, share cool content, countdown to a guest stay or mark an occasion (such as an automated happy birthday message for previous guests).
5. Trial creative new email templates
Email design is moving forward at a quick pace and it’s pulling in social and cultural references from a range of sources. As this example from Chubbies shows, there’s no need to stick to tried-and-tested layouts in 2017.
While this example uses a mock-up of an iPhone message, your email design can replicate anything of significance to your target demographic.
If you’re ready to revamp your approach to email automation for travel marketing, throw out the rule book, get creative and go the extra mile to ensure your email message lands with a bang rather than a whimper.