How Booking.com could increase their email conversion rates

A quick detour into email marketing

Johann Sigmund
Nov 19, 2018 · 4 min read

I hope you like traveling. Because I’ve taken a look at your favorite travel agency’s marketing.

Join me in my quest… This is one of the emails I’ve gotten from them:

The email’s headline: “Open the door to your perfect holiday stay

Headline

Since the headline is the most important part of your email, let’s go with that first and analyze “Open the door to your perfect holiday stay”, then move on to the rest of the email.

Let’s rate the headline using the 4 U’s formula for writing effective headlines:

  1. Urgency: The headline doesn’t create urgency or a sense of timeliness. On a scale from 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest rating, this is a 1.
  2. Unique: It’s not very inspired or unique. If someone would show you that headline and the email of any other traveling agency afterward, could you keep them apart? The only thing that makes it unique is it being a holiday advertisement, so it gets a 2.
  3. Ultra-specific: The headline isn’t very specific, is it? All we know now is that the topic is places to stay for your holiday. That’s at best a 2 in being specific. And since we’re being specific right now… I rate this a 1.428.
  4. Useful: The reader is not gaining anything from this headline. He doesn’t know what the email will contain, nor what benefit he will get from it. The only use he will get out of this headline is saving time by not clicking the email… that’s a 1 in usefulness.

Body Copy

After reading that headline, at least they save it with some good content inside, right? … right?

Ah. No, they don’t.

The complete copy inside this email is:

“Get up to 50% off your next trip”

“Member only deals”

And then they list some popular cities in Europe, each having three buttons under it, “Secret deals”, “-genius”, and “See all deals in <Country>”.

And that’s it.

Okay, what have they done?

“Get up to 50% off your next trip” — that’s a feature, where is my benefit?

“Member only deals” — I’m not a member, I don’t care. If I were a member, would I feel special enough to get invested further?

“Secret deals” — Not super bad, since humans are curious by nature. But this doesn’t really motivate me.

“-genius” — Is this a way to save money? Do I have to be a member or is my IQ enough to qualify?

“See all deals in <Country>” — I’d say this Call-To-Action works, but it can definitely be improved.

Can we do that better? Let’s have a look.

New Headline

You want your headline to perform well in its four main functions: Get attention, select the audience, deliver a complete message, and then draw the reader into the body copy. What can we do to improve the headline “Open the door to your perfect holiday stay”?

  1. Urgency: We need to include a time element and create a need to act. Take the deal, now or never. => “Open the door to your perfect holiday stay today/in the next 24 hours!”
  2. Unique: Let’s try to stand out a bit here => “Escape to your perfect holiday refuge today!”
  3. Ultra-specific: Now would be the time to get into detail… => “Escape to your perfect holiday refuge on the beaches of the Tuscany today” But since we want to market multiple locations at once, this may be better: “Escape to your perfect holiday refuge in southern Europe today!”
  4. Useful: Now is the time to add the number one reason why your prospect should click your ad. In this case, that’s the 50% they have to pay less.

=> “Escape to your perfect holiday refuge in southern Europe today — for half free!

Time for a comparison… Which one would you rather click?

“Open the door to your perfect holiday stay” or

“Escape to your perfect holiday refuge in southern Europe today — for half free!”

I get one of these emails every few days. I like traveling, but I never open them (except now of course). If you have ever used Booking.com you are most likely in a similar situation.

Let’s wrap this up with a short bit of body copy and we’re done.

New Body Copy

Hey <Name>,

Ready to dip your toes in the Mediterranean Sea, right in front of your beach bunkhouse? Or maybe you want to discover the town of love, Paris?

The ancient ruins of Rome are waiting for you… What are you waiting for?

Who says traveling has to be expensive? This is your chance to travel smart and see Europe for 50% off on your next trip, and save what you don’t spend for your next vacation!

You can regret many things in life, but traveling will never be one of them — that’s just one of the things that our team is convinced of. Which is why we want to give you the opportunity to enjoy life in full, with a comfortable place to stay and having unforgettable moments with your family that you can tell your friends about.

The whole of Europe is at your fingertips, your next adventure is merely a click away.

[Button] Discover our top-secret member only deals

[Button] Save money like a genius

[Button] Browse <Country>’s deals now!

I hope you enjoyed this quick detour into the marketing world and have learned a thing or two. If you have please give this article 50 claps! Don’t hesitate to give feedback, but please be as specific as possible.

See you in the next one!

Johann Sigmund

Written by

Helping businesses make more out of their marketing budget without appearing sales-y | Copywriter & Online Marketing

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