One of the biggest marketing challenges for travel agencies is that people are only in-market for booking a holiday at certain times of the year. It doesn’t matter how compelling your ads are — if they’re not looking to plan their next trip, they’re not going to engage with them.
This is why email marketing for travel agents is so essential. It maintains constant contact with prospects and former customers, delivering valuable content and offers tailored to their interests.
Benefits of email marketing for travel agents
Your prospective customers are only in-market for a holiday for a short period. At that point, you’re competing with the biggest names in the travel industry for their attention.
However, having their email address is a real advantage over the competition.
Before we dive into our top email marketing tips, let’s take a look at the benefits of email marketing for travel agents:
- Email marketing offers the highest ROI of any other form of marketing, delivering £31 for every 85p spent.
- You can build brand loyalty with your previous customers by sending them regular content and special offers. It also makes sure your travel business remains top of mind for the next time they want to book a holiday.
- It levels the playing field with the large travel agents that have massive advertising footprints.
- By tracking engagement with your email campaigns, you can identify the warmest leads, with your sales team prioritising those most likely to buy.
Now that we’ve highlighted the benefits let’s explore five key email marketing tips that travel agents can use to improve conversion rates and customer retention.
1. Build and segment your email marketing list
For travel agents starting out with email marketing, the challenge is building a database of contacts.
Of course, you also need somewhere to store your leads. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) system comes in.
Solutions like CRM by Inspiretec provide a dynamic, single view of your customers and leads. By storing all of the information you have on your leads in one place, it’s easy to segment the database for specific email marketing campaigns. This segmentation can be based on previous bookings, engagement with website content or booking enquiries.
You’ll be capturing a lot of information about your customers anyway, but you also need to build a database of leads. Use newsletter sign-up forms around your website, gated high-value content or travel surveys. The key is to offer an incentive that is worth exchanging contact information for.
2. Create a branded newsletter
Sending out regular newsletter content to your subscriber list is one of the most effective ways travel agencies can maintain brand engagement.
Your newsletter could include travel and tourism industry news, details on special offers, educational content on certain destinations and customer testimonials.
By using segmentation, you’ll be able to tailor your newsletters to specific audiences. For example, sending special offers for cruise trips to people you know have booked, or expressed an interest in, cruises before.
3. Share useful and valuable content
Alongside your newsletter, you can use email marketing to send out targeted content to your database.
Leverage what you know about your subscribers to deliver practical and valuable content that will engage them while using relevant call-to-actions that push them further down the sales funnel. The sort of content you should be sharing includes:
- Destination guides for locations you think they’d be interested in.
- List posts including tips related to specific types of travel, or general travel advice.
- Targeted special offers and discounts. Make them time-limited to create a sense of urgency.
There’s another benefit for a travel agency creating fresh content, too — increasing organic search traffic.
Publishing new content regularly helps you to rank for relevant travel industry search terms and increases the amount of traffic to your website that you don’t have to pay for!
4. Don’t forget about mobile devices
An increasing number of travellers are booking their trips on mobile devices, while almost two-thirds (59%) use them to check personal emails.
This means your email templates need to be mobile-friendly. So how do you make sure your travel agency email marketing is going to work on a mobile device?
- Avoid writing too much text. Short, concise sentences are best for mobile.
- Email subject lines also need to be short. They’re much more likely to be cut off on mobile devices, which could make the context of the email hard to understand, reducing open rates.
- Avoid using too much rich media or images, as these can slow down the user experience on mobile. Where images are used, make sure they’re compressed to avoid long load times.
5. Indoctrinate new leads
The point at which you gain a new subscriber is when they’re most likely to engage with your email marketing. Don’t waste this opportunity to cement them as a highly engaged lead.
Treat new subscribers how you’d expect to be treated when you check-in to a hotel: with a warm welcome that sets the tone for the entire customer experience.
Welcome emails boast an open rate four times higher than standard email marketing campaigns, while the click-through rate is five times higher. With this in mind, pull out the big guns for that initial email, with a discount or other sales-focused offer.
Don’t just send one welcome email. Create an indoctrination sequence over that first couple of weeks that include high-value content and deals. The aim here is to quickly turn them into brand evangelists.
Effective email marketing for travel agents is hard to do without a dedicated travel industry CRM system. To find out how CRM by Inspiretc can help you to run successful travel email marketing campaigns that help to convert new leads and retain existing customers, get in touch with our experts.