The travel industry is one of the sectors worst hit by the COVID-19 crisis, and this reflected in its email programs. With no inventory to promote, many travel senders either had to suspend activity entirely or come up with creative approaches to help fill the content vacuum.
Fortunately, the easing of lockdown restrictions means travel is now exploding back to life, and our “Destination Inbox: Green Light to Travel” webinar was exceptionally timely.
Having knowledgeable customer speakers from Icelolly made it a must-see event: Richard Singer is a recognised industry commentator, and has his finger firmly on travel’s pulse, while Jon Kirk is a self-confessed geek when it comes to adapting his email program to keep his customers happy! Here’s what we learned from them:
- The crisis posed huge challenges. Following the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Tenerife back in March, Icelolly’s traffic fell off a cliff. Richard called it “the worst 24 hours of my career, seeing the business you’ve built falling away before your eyes in terms of traffic volumes from customers and the advertisers.”
- However, it’s also presented a once-off opportunity to re-think how travel companies do business. For Icelolly this meant using the downtime to make their product better by enhancing their technology, platforms, and communications. This crystallised into “Project Hawaii.” In Richard’s words, “We could do the things we’ve always wanted to do – and be ready for the rebound!”
- In the meantime, Icelolly needed to keep their email program ticking over, and we saw some serious innovation by:
- Harnessing email to position Icelolly as the guiding voice in travel
- Introducing “The Holiday Club” to engage with families
- Use of gamification with the unveiling of the “Big Holiday Quiz”
- Injection of blog content directly into emails with up-to-date info on COVID-19 and travel
These approaches were highly successful and Icelolly subscribers responded with CTR uplifts of up to 32%.
- UK consumers are definitely ready for a holiday, with ± 60% of Icelolly’s searches being for the next three months. Although bookings are trending sharply upwards, there is also clear risk aversion. Consumers are prioritising the resumption of normal domestic life over heading overseas, and there is a strong bias for UK-based holidays in the meantime (with one “staycation” booking every 11 seconds, according to Sky news!).
- Icelolly responded quickly to this change in holidaymaker behavior by jumping into the domestic market and launching a brand new UK metasearch product. In Jon’s words, “We’ve been listening to consumer demand, working hard on our product diversification, and empowering our customers with greater choice.”
Icelolly was also generous in their praise for Validity. Their email program was Certified in 2017, and Priyanka Roy presented a great case study showcasing the exceptional 99.6% inbox placement rates Icelolly currently enjoys. That’s a class-leading 11.6% higher than the UK benchmark!
Jon also made the important point that enhanced sender reputation means they also see Certification benefit from opt-out and bounce rates substantially lower than UK benchmarks. This means reduced list churn and increased customer lifetime value (£35 per address, according to the DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker report).
This rock-solid deliverability foundation means Icelolly is set up for conversion success. Gabriel Gastaud presented more of his amazing Google Analytics research, showing email generates 19% of the total travel website traffic from digital channels, but consumes only 3% of digital budget. That makes email 6X more effective than its competitor channels. Jon also shared email generates an incredible 40% of Icelolly’s web traffic, highlighting the value of Validity’s contribution to their program success.
They love their service, too, and it was fantastic for our very own Coralie Levi to hear, “Thanks for your help. You are excellent at your job!” It didn’t stop there either – Jon’s closing comment was, “If you’re unsure about all things deliverability, speak to Validity. They are truly the gold standard!” – high praise indeed!
All in all, it was an extremely thought-provoking webinar, and we’ve hardly even scratched the surface in this post. If you missed it, and you would like to catch up with all the other great content we presented, you can access the recording here. We’ve also got a load more webinars coming up in the next few months – check them out on Validity’s website, and put them in your calendars today.
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