In our earlier posts, we have talked about how travel businesses can market themselves through the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media and blogging. In this post, which is the first of our 2 post series about email marketing, we’ll share some insights on the value of email as a marketing tool for a travel company. Though the ideas espoused in this article are targeted at the tourism industry, they can just as well be applied to any other domain.
Despite the rising popularity of social media and content marketing, email remains one of the most effective marketing tools for a travel business. Whether it’s for nurturing leads, updating existing customers on new products or deals or simply keeping in touch, an intelligent use of email can have a significant impact on your business.
Let’s see why email should be a strong component of the marketing mix of any tourism business:
- Low Cost, High ROI: Studies have shown that email has the highest Return on Investment of all marketing channels. According to research by Experian, $1 invested in an email campaign yields a return of around $44.25. While large, well-funded travel companies can easily afford to spend millions of dollars on marketing, for a small/mid-sized travel agency, every penny counts. A bulk email marketing campaign will cost a small travel business significantly less than other forms of marketing.
- Large scope for personalization: email is one of the most personal forms of communication. Unlike a social media campaign targeting a wide audience, an email can be personalized to a great degree depending on the recipient and the purpose of communication. This is particularly useful in maintaining healthy relationships with your customers – with email you can address them by their name and offer your existing clients deals on destinations that match their individual tastes and behavioral characteristics.
- Easy to track: Unlike other marketing channels, including social media, email allows you to accurately measure the success of your campaigns right down to an individual level. Most email marketing software today allow you to track opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes etc, helping you understand what works and what doesn’t. You can even find out which parts of your email readers interact more than others, allowing you to optimize your email copy to achieve the desired result. Through such detailed reporting, you can easily track a client’s journey, from opening your email to becoming a paying customer. No other medium allows such a high level of transparency.
- Segmentation: Emails allow you a high degree of segmentation, so you can run a campaign targeting only those subscribers that meet a certain criteria, eg. age, location, income, hobbies etc. This helps you optimize your resources as you don’t end up wasting money on people who have no interest in what you have to offer. For instance, if you introduce some special deals on adventure tours, you can run an email campaign targeting subscribers who have an interest in adventure sports.
- Calls-to-action: One of the major benefits of using email for marketing is that you can drive instant action on the part of the reader. Want them to purchase a package deal for the Bahamas? Just create an attractive email with an enticing buy now button deep linked to the deal page and see an instant rise in your bookings! Want them to download a short travel guide to traveling with kids? Just mention the highlights of the ebook and include a download link with the email.
- Credibility: Educational emails such as newsletters and helpful articles can help you gain credibility and thought-leadership in the market. Travelers love to read content that would benefit them in some way and sending a newsletter or links to useful articles on your own blog/third-party sites talking about latest trends in the tourism industry or destination guides. This will not only build trust but also help you nurture leads or ‘soft-sell’.
There are several benefits of email as a form of marketing, but we’ve pointed out some of the major ones here in this article. If you have any feedback or interesting insights, please don’t hesitate to comment.
In the second part we will delve deeper into the ways in which a travel business can use email to market to potential clients as well as strengthen relationships with existing clients, so stay tuned.
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