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Member Article

Power of email marketing has helped travel companies during lockdown

New Validity research has revealed just how integral email marketing has been in supporting many travel companies’ survival during lockdown.

Gabriel Gastaud, Director of Professional Services at Validity, found in his research that during the strictest period of lockdown to date (April, May and June 2020) that email marketing correspondence drove 12% of all visits to UK travel websites, which is an increase of 36% compared to the same period in 2019.

Visitors through email were not only more engaged but were far more likely to return compared to other marketing channels, such as social media, paid search, organic search, direct, and display and referral.

Across Europe, 50% of other marketing channels click throughs resulted in single page sessions (i.e. those who click through to the site but leave without viewing other pages), compared to only 33% of clicks through emails. Almost three quarters (70%) of site visitors from email return to the site, compared to only half (52%) from any other channel.

Gastaud contends that, given email’s outperformance over other marketing channels, an extra 1% of digital marketing budget in email would drive a 1.8% uplift in online visits, compared to 0.6% for social, 0.2% for paid search, and 0.1% for display ads.

Travel comparison site icelolly, recently conducted research into its users’ attitudes towards holidays and found that 64% plan to go on holiday once lockdown is lifted, with 22% intending to do so even as soon as summer 2020. With a customer base ready to be engaged with around holidays in the near future, icelolly needed to keep engaging with its users, even if not around holiday packages specifically.

At a time when primary marketing channels were put on hold, Jon Kirk, icelolly’s email manager, expands on how a new approach to email has kept customers engaged.

“It’s been quite a challenging time for icelolly,” says Kirk. “The inbox impact has been massive. There has been a fall in consumer demand, and it was really quite frightening to see. We could see that correlation between engagement dropping in the inbox and the pandemic going through its peak period.

“As we’ve moved through May and June, we’re beginning to see a return to pre-COVID levels of engagement. Thankfully, given the visibility we have in Validity we’ve managed to maintain a 99.6% average inbox placement. Having that visibility has reassured us, and through constant monitoring we were able to move forward.”

Kirk notes that lockdown has not been the time where icelolly could push product, such as package holidays, over email.

“Now really has been the time where content has been king,” adds Kirk. “We’ve had to inspire our users with different kinds of engaging content.

“We launched a holidaying at home campaign. We recognised that we needed to capitalise on creating an activity pack for our users, so they have something to do with their children. So, we had to flip from a traditional holiday product to providing activities that people could do indoors.”

Kirk concludes: “The whole point was to show that icelolly really cares about its customers and we understood the challenges we were all facing together. By creating quizzes in the emails, we were able to encourage customers to repeat engage.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by S White .

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