How Email Marketing Can Make a Splash for Travel Brands

Effectively executing a travel marketing campaign is no easy feat. From navigating a saturated marketplace to dealing with seasonality fluctuations, this particular type of marketing presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.

While technology has driven change across multiple markets during the course of the past few years, nowhere is this more prominent than the travel industry. An industry once composed of brick-and-mortar travel agencies has been transformed into one defined by digital disruption and the ability to streamline experiential offers. Email has remained an invaluable method of communication for travel marketers to communicate with their audiences amid the growth of social platforms simply because it’s fast, cost-effective and, when leveraged effectively, one of the most successful ways to reach a targeted audience.

Capitalize on the Seasonal Cycle

In every industry there is a peak season when the demand for products and goods increases. Marketers can capitalize on these spikes if they are able to precisely forecast when they will occur and how consumers will act on it. For the travel industry, there are a number of peaks ranging from spring breaks to holidays that email marketers must have on their radar in order to effectively engage their audiences.

A great way to tackle this cycle is by analyzing past booking data. For example, if a subscriber booked the same vacation for the same week for the past two years, it’s safe to assume they are likely to follow suit this year. Therefore, when planning email marketing campaigns, be sure to map out both holidays and past booking trends, adjusting the frequency and content of emails accordingly. Subscribers like to be recognized and not just sold to. Rather than blasting out mass holiday travel deals, send along a relevant offer acknowledging past trips they have taken and extending a deal to take it again.

Allow For Frequency Control

One of the greatest aspects of email marketing is the fact that it is permission-based; therefore, as people opt in, the messages they receive are likely to be of interest to them. However, traditional product marketing differs from travel marketing in that, while consumers are actively shopping for various items frequently, they are likely only booking vacations a few times throughout the course of a year. This is why frequency and opt-in is critical for travel marketing campaigns; timing is everything.

Many travel marketers have fallen victim to over-sending emails about trip deals or flight offers. While the information being received may be interesting, the fact is that deals on vacations are not what subscribers want in their inbox every day. Rather than sending out daily blasts just hoping to catch consumers on a lucky day, let your subscribers specify frequency preferences when they initially opt in. Work to curate timed emails, which are sent out based on previous buyer activities, behaviors and interactions. The purpose of these emails is to engage buyers at times when they are most comfortable receiving a message. This will not only drive booking rates, but show subscribers your brand is committed to relevant messaging rather than one-size-fits-all blasts.

Create Award-Winning Content

While the success of any email campaign is largely dependent on the quality of content, this rings especially true for travel marketing. Travel itself is an experience rather than a product, a concept that naturally lends itself to vivid and engaging storytelling. Travel brands are at the forefront of creative content marketing, with the ability to craft stories around culture, history and exploration, while engaging the consumer each step of the way.

The key to effective content for travel marketing means going beyond simple banner ads and truly engaging consumers with a story. The best way to achieve this is through imagery, personalization and emotion. For instance, if a subscriber recently booked a trip or traveled to Ireland, be sure to target them with pertinent images to either drum up excitement or engender a sense of nostalgia that will have them booking again.

As technology continues to propel the tourism and hospitality industry forward, delivering personalized and contextual experiences will continue to be essential for marketers. By keeping these best practices in mind, marketers can evolve with the industry and craft email travel campaigns that are out of this world.

Originally appeared on Campaigner.

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