For many marketers, summer is a time when marketing emails may go unread — subscribers may be working in their yards, entertaining their out-of-school children, or already on vacay. There’s no holiday frenzy or back-to-school rush in the early summer months. No harsh winters driving people to booking websites in the hopes of a tropical escape. What’s a travel company to do?
As it turns out — a lot! While reaching subscribers in the summer may require more creativity, people are still hungry for summer vacation, looking for exciting diversions from the lull of a slower season. 80% of Americans had summer getaway plans in 2016, with most traveling within the United States and the vast majority planning a series of long weekends to visit a variety of destinations. That means every new weekend presents a perfect opportunity to turn subscribers into customers, if you’re willing to put the work into your email marketing campaigns.
Don’t let your profits go on vacation just yet — follow this email marketing advice to turn casual lookers into bookers.
Summer Travel Marketing Tip #1: Incentivize
If you think it’s too late to connect customers to their dream summer vacations, think again. 46 percent of 2016 consumers said they’d be ready to book a trip when the right opportunity presented itself to them online, and that they were holding out until they saw the perfect deal. That tells us two important things: when it comes to hooking your audience, you need the right carrot, and the stick you dangle it from should be digital.
That makes an email marketing campaign with the right travel incentive a winning combination — and if you’re looking to net more bookings, you need to offer a great package at an attractive price. That could include discounted airfare, BOGO theme park tickets, spa credits, or anything that would appeal to the specific persona you’re targeting. Competitive analysis is a great way to inform your summer travel incentives. See what’s working (and not working) for other travel companies, and tailor your perks accordingly, carving out a unique niche only you can fill.
Summer Travel Marketing Tip #2: Start Now!
Again, nearly half of all potential travelers are waiting for the right moment to jetset, but you don’t want to lose that moment to your competition. With so many folks yearning for a summer getaway, early in the season is the time to beat other travel companies to the punch, while giving your customers enough time to plan their travel arrangements, map out their itineraries, and put in for time off. Use that urgency in your email, encouraging your subscribers to book now — why wait?
Reduce as much friction as possible in the booking and planning process, making it easier than ever for your readers to plan the perfect vacay. Provide ample information about the specials you’re running, touting why your subscribers should book with you vs. your competitors. Better pricing? Better service and reviews? More credit toward future vacations? Back it up with a testimonial to help build trust — after all, traveling can be stressful, and your job is to show that the reward is well worth it.
Summer Travel Marketing Tip #3: Stand Out With Irresistible Creative
The ideal subject line is about eight to ten words long, giving you a short timeframe to capture your subscriber’s attention. Take advantage of that narrow window by showing off your unpredictable side — anything outside the status quo will make subscribers spend more time on your email. For the right demographic, that might mean testing a subject line with an emoji (maybe a sun with a smiling face). It might mean leveraging a surprising statistic (did you know vacation can add an hour to your sleep at night?). Find a creative, attention-grabbing angle, and make sure to frontload what makes your deal so great in the subject line.
Of course, when it comes to travel, photography is everything. Who can resist the draw of shimmering turquoise waters along white sand beaches, or a pink sunrise over a vast canyon — or adorable children having the time of their life at an amusement park, cotton candy in hand? Use warm weather imagery that highlights the joys of summer, featuring real people enjoying the warmer weather in the beauty of nature. Take it up a notch by including a video showcasing the location, and the activities your subscribers can enjoy once they make the leap and book a trip.
This imagery should do plenty of talking, but use your copy to drive urgency and highlight your incentive — promotions that feature a percentage off tend to be very successful. Leverage the power of FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” by urging your subscribers to take advantage of the sunny weather before it’s too late to make the most of summer. Drive it home with a strong call to action: book now!
Summer’s Looking Bright With WhatCounts Travel Email Marketing Services
One final piece of summer marketing wisdom: leverage a email solution that gives you powerful analytics, a platform for A/B testing, and plenty of travel-friendly features. WhatCounts drives travel industry success with campaigns that support geolocation-based offers, personalized travel content, vacancy alerts, and more. Learn all about WhatCounts travel email marketing services, then schedule a demo to see our technology in action.
And let us know: what has worked for your summer travel email campaigns? Tweet us @WhatCounts to share your tips and tricks — or just to tell us your favorite summer vacation destination!