EyeforTravel North America 2017

October 2017, Las Vegas (USA)

How email still has an edge

Email is not on its last legs but it needs to be done right, says a recent survey

Travel brands pour gazillions into tools and technology, but are they getting their message across in the right way? Remember a few years ago when digital experts from Facebook et al were predicting email was on its last legs? We haven’t heard that lately. Email is thriving primarily because companies are endorsing the channel. 

Still, there is a good chance it will come as a shock to find that consumers are most likely to respond to emails! For choice, emails come consistently ahead of direct mail, mobile apps, social media, push notifications or mobile wallets. 

A survey carried out by email marketing group Campaign Monitor found that well over half its respondents checked their emails more than ten times a day. (Campaign Monitor commissioned Market Cube, a research panel company, to conduct an online survey of over a thousand US consumers.)

“It is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands,” the survey says. No surprise, however, is the finding that millennials are far more likely to take action on an email than any other age group.

Amazon agrees. A survey it carried for smartphones found that when it came to mobile wallets “most (73%) users would prefer to receive items by email sent directly to them…”

Though, as US marketing technology group Acxiom found, “if a message doesn’t look good on their small screens, 70% say they’ll just delete it, while 23% will look at it again on a computer and 16% will unsubscribe.” Only 9% will make the effort to try to read the message on their smartphone.

70% of travellers will delete a message if it doesn’t work for a small screen

For travel and hospitality brands, the preference for emails is particularly marked - at 66% the number is more than twice that for Direct Mail (26%) and Mobile Apps (25%), according to Campaign Monitor. Social Media comes in slightly lower again, at 23%, and mobile wallets bring up the rear at 14%. The preference no doubt reflects the amount of data being conveyed.

Across verticals, the top reasons consumers will open an email from a brand are personalisation and discounts. Consumers are just slightly more inclined to open an email offering a discount (72%) than one with a personalised subject line (62%).

62% of consumers will open an email with a personalised subject (72% for a discount)

Satisfaction with delivery of travel and hospitality brands on the promise of personalised mail was pretty high, at 59%. Yet this lagged retail brands, which scored 76%. When it came to preferences on personalisation, there was not a lot of difference between age groups.

It was another matter with content. Millennials are far more likely to take action on the content of an email. For example, 58% of millennials ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ donated to a non-profit organisation, while just 18% of those aged over 55 did the same.

On travel, the likelihood of action was highest by far with under 35s (50%), compared to 35-54-year olds (27 percent) or those 55-plus (15 percent).

Response to the offer of a discount was again much higher for retail brands (72%) than travel and hospitality (58%).

Yet, says Acxiom, don’t forget ‘relevance’ - it goes hand in hand with discounts for influencing purchase decisions. This is a message well understood - hence the omni-present quest by brands to collect data!

Join us at one of our upcoming events in North America or Europe to hear more about how to apply marketing techniques for a competitive online travel industry

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