Following on from our Infographic – The Perfect Booking Recovery Email launched exclusively on Travolution today, here are a few additional points that must be considered when you’re putting together an email campaign to tempt customers that have abandoned a travel related booking back to your site to part with their hard earned cash…
1. Keep in Personal – Whether we’re checking in at an airport or ferry terminal, arriving at a hotel, sitting down with the travel agent, or rocking up to a car rental desk, nothing gets the experience off to a better start than a warm, personal greeting. The same goes for reengaging with customers who have abandoned a booking on a website. We expect to be treated like royalty when we’re on our olidays. I doubt whether anyone has ever greeted The Queen by saying “Hello Valued Customer!
2. Include Booking Details – As consumers, we all put a lot of time and effort into planning our trips and holidays and also spend plenty of time weighing up different options that are available to us on the different websites we visit (on average 8 hours online, with 35% of people that were asked in a recent survey claiming to spend over 24 hours on their PC, laptop or tablet researching their perfect holiday), so the least we should expect of the companies that we are considering as potential providers of these holidays and travel services, is that they remember our plans when they contact us to remind us about the booking that we nearly made. Even the most organised of us may struggle to remember which deal or holiday we saw on which site, so a generic remarketing email, saying “Thanks for visiting our website, can we help?” and does not mention the dates, details or price of the abandoned booking, is as much use as a lithium ion battery on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In fact, data has shown that a remarketing email which includes the full details of the abandoned basket or booking, can produce 5x more click-throughs, and 5x more revenue than a generic, reminder email.
3. Use Relevant Imagery – Travel is an exceptionally visual industry, where a picture can be worth a thousand words. The travel experience begins with the browsing of images of relaxing sandy beaches, or the roaring fire in a traditional alpine lodge, and this is when consumers start to imagine themselves in these settings. By including in your remarketing email, that very same image of the beach or chalet, where the consumer was picturing them self soaking up the sun, or sipping a Glühwein, you are able to connect with them on an emotional level, which is far more likely to convert browsers into buyers. When talking about holidays, flights, etc., we are talking about purchases of hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. Customers will need more than a gentle reminder to encourage them to part with these sorts of figures.
4. Maintain Brand Identity – Ensure that the remarketing email you send is visually pleasing and is a true reflection of the quality of your website and your business – You’ve spent a lot of time, money and effort designing a quality website that is user friendly and pleasing-on-the-eye. The remarketing emails that you send to customers that abandon bookings on your site should keep up that image. It can be difficult to achieve the dynamic insertion of all the content required to produce a high-quality, effective remarketing email, whilst keeping the creative looking clean and well put together. But there are experts out there who know how to do this (tip: many of them work for SaleCycle). The last thing you want is a remarketing email that looks like it was cobbled together, and resembles some email version of Frankenstein’s monster.
5. Segment your Data – Your website visitors give you an abundance of data which you can use to send them a remarketing email that is exceptionally relevant to them. Use the selections they make when creating their booking to give you insight into what makes them tick… segment on destination and respond with an email that, not only markets your brand, and references the holiday that they selected, but also gives them tips on things to do and places to go whilst they’re in their chosen destination; segment on price and send visitors who abandon higher value bookings a more “premium-tone” email; segment on trip type and send an email that is more relevant to a mini-cruise, city-break, beach holiday…
6. Don’t Stop at One Email – The best practice recommendation is that, even in the travel sector you must respond in a timely fashion to achieve the strongest results (30 minutes being the “sweet-spot”), but some consumers will need a little more time, therefore a multi-cycle remarketing campaign, where a second and, if desired, third email (each different from the previously sent one in terms of its creative, message and tone) is sent (likely at some point 24-48 hours post-abandonment), if the first one hasn’t had the desired effect. We see that multi-touch campaigns typically increase a single-email campaign’s performance by between 25-30%.
7. Ensure your email is as Mobile-Friendly as you are – According to recent research almost a quarter of people use a mobile phone or tablet to book holidays, with nearly half of those aged between 15-24 using this method to book. It is, therefore vital that any remarketing email is designed with these devices in mind, giving special consideration to ensuring that the size of the email enables it to display well on all devices.
All in all, your remarketing campaigns should be a smooth extension of the customer’s visit to your website, and should enhance their experience. Reward your customers for the hard work they put into researching your company and their trip by sending them a timely, relevant, and visually pleasing remarketing email that helps them make their decision rather than one that just reminds them that they visited your website a while ago…
Pete Marshall looks after the Travel & Leisure team at SaleCycle. He loves holidays.