Travel is becoming a more important aspect of life in today’s global economy. In fact, consumers are becoming more likely to spend their money on trips rather than physical items.

Plus, families are also increasingly using vacations as a way to bond and share experiences. According to search by Expedia Group, families with children less than 9-years old now take at least three trips per year.

Marketers need to have an email newsletter strategy in place to engage with travelers, whether your audience has just booked their trips or they’re still considering where they’ll take their next vacation.

To help you make the most of your email marketing, here are eight things marketers should include in their travel newsletter to keep their audience engaged and convince their subscribers to convert.

How a travel newsletter can help you engage with your customers

A travel newsletter is an effective way to nurture your leads while providing useful and relevant information. Not all leads are ready to make a purchase, so newsletters allow you to remain in touch with your customers without constantly pressuring them to buy.

There’s definitely room for marketers in the travel, hospitality, and leisure space to improve their newsletters. Our data shows that emails in this industry are opened about 16.6% of the time on average, which is less than the average for all industries. Click-through rates are also comparatively lower.

Some of the biggest challenges marketers say they face when nurturing leads are creating relevant content and delivering it in a way that their customers want.

Here are eight things you need to include in the design, content, and execution of your travel newsletter to be successful.

1. Mobile-optimized design

A faulty design can ruin the best travel newsletter. It’s no secret that travelers are on their mobile devices more than ever before. People use their cell phones for anything from checking in for a flight to researching activities.

In fact, by 2021, it’s estimated that more than 77% of travel will be booked on cell phones.

You need to format your newsletter where your audience will be reading it. Consider a responsive or even mobile-first layout to ensure it looks good when opened on a cell phone.

Mobile email from Southwest Airlines

Source: Southwest

This email from Southwest looks great on a cell phone. Southwest employs a mobile-first design so travelers who open the email on their phones are treated to the best viewing experience possible.

2. Personalized and dynamic content

Email marketers are already familiar with personalized content and how well it performs.

However, they might not know just how important customized emails are in the travel industry specifically. According to Smart Insights, 85% of people receiving travel emails want an experience that’s custom for their needs.

Airbnb excels at this type of message:

 Airbnb email with an itinerary for a trip to Berkeley, California

Source: Really Good Emails

Once a traveler books a place to stay, the company sends them newsletters with information that’s relevant to their specific trip and travel dates.

3. Videos

Breathtaking images are almost mandatory in a travel newsletter to grab attention and draw in viewers. You can do even better if you include videos in your email.

66% of travelers already watch videos online when researching their next vacations. It only seems natural to incorporate that behavior into your travel newsletter.

Take a look at how airline KLM does it:

Email from KLM in French with videos showcasing travel destinations

Source: Really Good Emails

The newsletter is in French, but despite the language barrier, you can clearly see how the email highlights videos destinations where travelers might be interested in visiting.

4. User-generated content

These days, travelers rely less on a brand’s photos than they did in the past. That’s because we’ve all been to a hotel where the images online look nothing like the real thing.

Instead, vacationers turn to user-generated content for a more accurate representation of what the experience will really be like at a specific location. Nearly 75% of millennials admit that user-generated content inspired a travel decision when booking over professional photos.

Include user-generated photos in a gallery to showcase where some of your customers have visited. You can also request submissions from your contacts, like this example from Hotel Tonight.

Email from Hotel Tonight asking travelers to share photos of recent vacation stays

Source: Really Good Emails

You can also cross-promote with your social channels with user-generated content. Use a custom hashtag and encourage your customers to post with that hashtag and you can showcase the best in an upcoming travel newsletter. This strategy is a great way to encourage engagement with your followers and build up your photo library with new, free images.

It’s also an effective way to encourage your customers to follow your social channels where they might be more inspired to make a purchase. For example, Pinterest claims that 3 out of 4 pinners act brand travel posts, often booking unplanned trips.

5. Blog articles and educational content

Educational content is a staple of all successful newsletters. If you don’t provide how-to information or blog articles, your newsletters will appear more like promotional messages and won’t be as successful at nurturing leads.

Adding blog articles to your newsletters can help improve your email metrics, and it may also help your blogs as well. More than 60% of content marketers drive traffic to their pages using emails, and nearly a third of those marketers report strong engagement as a result. Those marketers also say emails are more effective for article engagement than social media and have roughly the same result as SEO.

Take a look at how National Geographic incorporates educational information into this email about photography:

Email from National Geographic that includes links to educational content about photography

Source: Really Good Emails

The focus of this message is the travel photography winners, but the brand also includes content about how to take the best pictures, stories behind the images, and information about photography workshops.

This content is relevant to the user and answers questions readers might have about how they can improve their own photography skills after seeing the contest winners.

6. Special deals and discounts

Most of your travel newsletter should focus on insights and helpful tips instead of being promotional, but you should still try to highlight some of your big deals or discounts.

If you position the deals in the right way, your customers likely won’t mind. Socialnomics discovered that more than half of customers actually look forward to discounts and offers if they are specially tailored for them.

Email from Fiji Airways with flight deals from Nadi to Australia

Source: Campaign Monitor

This email from Fiji Airways promotes specials from all across Australia to Nadi. While this example is more of a promotional email, you can use the same philosophy in your newsletter.

7. Testimonials

Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most powerful tools to convince a lead to make a purchase. More than 90% of travelers say their decision to book a specific vacation was influenced by online reviews. You can subtly incorporate this tactic into your newsletter by adding customer testimonials.

Fairmont Hotels uses reviews from its satisfied customers in emails when writing about a specific hotel location:

Email from Fairmont Hotels with traveler testimonial

Source: Campaign Monitor

The testimonials provide a link to read more about the review or the property. You can add something like this in a newsletter when highlighting a special deal or simply providing information about a featured vacation destination.

8. Clear and compelling calls to action

Your calls to action (CTA) are what really encourages your readers to click. This small, yet important feature needs to be clear, actionable, and concise so customers understand the benefit of clicking and will want to learn more.

In promotional or other lead nurturing emails, you would only want to include a single CTA so the focus is on the main action you want your customers to take. However, in newsletters, you are trying to provide a variety of different options for your reader, so it’s alright to include multiple CTAs to a number of different pages on your website.

Booking.com makes its CTAs clear and stand out in this newsletter example:

Email from Booking.com with clear call to action buttons

Source: Really Good Emails

In addition to the clear text and easy-to-spot locations, this brand does a great job utilizing buttons for their CTAs rather than in-line text. Our research found that using buttons for CTAs can help increase clicks by up to 28%.

Wrap up

Marketers should consider travel newsletters when developing digital strategies to engage with their customers. All brands and their customers are unique and will respond to different things, but you should consider some of these features to improve your chances for success:

  • Personalized and dynamic content based on your customers’ interests or bookings
  • Videos and user-generated content to improve engagement and interactivity
  • Special deals and discounts to encourage customers to make a gut travel decision
  • Educational content that provides helpful insights and information relevant to travelers
  • Mobile optimized design for everyone opening your newsletter on their cell phones

If you follow some of these suggestions, you should notice an increase in your email metrics. Just be sure to A/B test as you go to determine what resonates the best for your audience.

Add a little excitement to your travel newsletter! Talk to an expert today to learn how you can optimize your email marketing for success.



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