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The trillion-dollar industry of travel and hospitality has been steadily migrating to the internet. The amount of modern travel booked online is more than 50%. That’s a lot of travel agency emails.

Prospective travelers with a smartphone or a computer can now research ideal destinations, discounted tourism packages, and ticket and accommodation price comparisons by themselves.

Travel agency email marketing has become highly competitive, making it all the more difficult to stand out.

Still, email marketing for travel agencies is affordable and effective when done right. Compared to social media marketing and other similar efforts, email marketing provides a high return on investment in general—as much as $38 for every single dollar spent.

What are the best practices for travel agency email marketing?

Many travel agencies and similar establishments maintain a website and run a year-round email marketing calendar.

Learn how to build your own marketing calendar by downloading our guide.

Unlike other industries, a customer journey can be much longer for travel and hospitality. It can take an average traveler about 45 days to book a trip.

They’ll most likely look at a multitude of options before making a final decision, often signing up for several travel email lists. An email marketer’s job is to cut through the noise and make it easier for subscribers to choose their brand over others.

Here are five best practices that can significantly impact email marketing for travel agencies:

  • Build an organic and authentic email list: You can take a multi-platform approach here and use a subscription form on your brand website, social media initiatives, and genuine email opt-ins motivated by lead magnets.
  • Boost engagement through segmentation: The more you segment, the less likely it is for subscribers to receive emails they’re not interested in. Take the time to get to know your audience through surveys and signup information so you can segment your email list properly. Consider allowing subscribers to self-segment using a preference center.
  • Match messages to every customer journey: Think of this as another layer of segmentation. It’s essential to get your messaging right. Sending a newsletter detailing budget vacation packages may be useful for a subscriber still in the early stages of planning. However, it can be downright annoying for a subscriber in the middle of a trip booked using your service—especially if they didn’t pay budget prices.
  • Set up a collection of behavior-based trigger emails: Automated messages based on customer interactions are useful for both you and your subscribers. The content in these emails is often relevant and timely for them, which leads to higher open rates for you.
  • Send mobile-responsive messages: Mobile-friendly websites and emails are a must now. But did you know that, by 2021, more than 75% of all travel bookings will be from a smartphone?

What are the key aspects of a successful travel agency email?

Following best practices when it comes to email marketing for travel agencies is fine at best without the main component: engaging travel agency emails.

Below are some ingredients you should include in every travel agency email you craft:

  • Personalization: as a game-changing tactic for email campaigns in competitive spaces, more than 50% of travel marketing professionals see personalization as crucial. A personalized email makes recipients feel special and builds a connection between them and your brand. Segmentation works hand in hand with personalization to provide more helpful and customized content, as well.
  • Top-shelf subject lines: all email marketing campaigns benefit from this advice. Writing great email subject lines should be standard for all email marketers because mastery of this skill cuts down on incorrect spam-tagging instances and raises open rates.
  • Videos: emails with embedded videos may benefit from a significant bump in overall engagement. In particular, you may see a 19% increase in open rates and up to a 65% increase in click-through rates. It’s ideal for the travel and hospitality industry too. Videos are a great way to show potential travelers possible accommodations, adventures, and destinations.
  • A sense of urgency: like personalization and a focus on subject lines, encouraging engagement through manufactured urgency is beneficial for email marketing in general. However, it’s worth noting that they’re particularly effective with travel agencies. Nothing decides the details of an upcoming vacation like flash travel sales and limited-time offers.
  • A quick way for subscribers to share it: solo trips are rarer than group vacations. Make it effortless for your subscribers to suggest and extend your travel packages and services to their friends and family. They can always forward your emails, but social-sharing icons are a nice touch too.
  • Here are 8 travel agency email examples to inspire you.
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Flash sales aren’t the only travel agency emails, as any travel email marketer knows. However, they’re often the most memorable to subscribers.

Below are eight travel agency emails that can inspire you to craft comprehensive travel email marketing campaigns.

1. The warm welcome

These are often a series of messages triggered by email list signups. When they’re not automated, engagement stats actually suffer. Automated welcome emails may enjoy an open rate of over 85% and a click-through rate of 29%.

When sent manually, open rates drop to 52% while click-through rates plummet to 12%.

Part of this series of emails can include a double opt-in, an introduction to your brand, and a reminder to set their email preferences.

Source: Really Good Emails

2. The newsletter

The newsletter is a catchall format that works, whether you’re providing travelers with getaway inspirations, announcing your latest packages and tour options, sharing travel industry news, or launching a new perk or service.

These emails help build your credibility in travel and hospitality matters.

Another common type of content in a travel agency newsletter is a satisfied customer testimonial. They’re as good as online reviews, and can even be in video form for maximum impact. email showing an example of a travel agency newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails

3. The seasonal or milestone offer

The average person can’t go on a trip for every single holiday, birthday, and anniversary celebration. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be receptive to your travel suggestions.

Promotions centering on holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or even an offbeat one like Cinco de Mayo aren’t uncommon. Spring break and summer vacations may also get their own campaigns.

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While conversions are the overt goal, the real winning strategy is to familiarize subscribers with possible options.

Even if they’re not ready now, subscribers will remember and recognize your expertise when they’re ready to make travel arrangements for a long-awaited vacation.

Kayak email showing an example of a travel agency email focusing on the winter holiday season

Source: Really Good Emails

4. The booking confirmation

When retail brands process a purchase, they often send a receipt via email. A booking confirmation is essentially the same. These travel agency emails have almost unnaturally high open rates because travelers will often view them more than once.

With those open rates, it’s worth adding more opportunities for conversions and revenue. Consider cross-selling or upselling.

Tripit email showing an example of a travel agency booking confirmation

Source: Really Good Emails

5. The informational message

More than 75% of travelers admit that informative content plays a part in their decision-making abilities. The key here is to be a caring and supportive brand to your potential and current customers.

You may warn travelers about inclement weather or tourist spot scheduling snafus pre-arrival.

You can craft destination-specific travel guides to send to subscribers when they arrive. The latter can include anything from sightseeing tours to basic foreign language phrases.

Hipmunk email showing an example of a travel agency informational email

Source: Really Good Emails

6. The thank you message

Think of the thank you message as a complement to your informational emails.

After keeping in touch with your subscribers throughout their customer journey—from planning and pre-arrival to going on the trip and then back home again—a follow-up message of thanks is almost expected.

Consider adding a link to a survey to get feedback that you can use to streamline your email marketing and improve the services your brand provides.

Airbnb email showing an example of a travel agency thank you message

Source: Really Good Emails

7. The loyalty or referral program

Frequent flyers will love being part of a well-maintained loyalty program. You can structure the latter program, so it’s points-based or simply offer flat discounts for certain services.

Rewards for reaching milestones and surprises for birthdays are also ideal features.

A referral program powered by your loyalty program may also help you grow your email list and raise your conversion rate.

HotelTonight email showing an example of a travel agency loyalty reward email

Source: Really Good Emails

8. The re-engagement email

Are most of your subscribers first-time or potential travelers rather than returning customers? If so, you can beef up your loyalty program or consider running a re-engagement campaign to remind subscribers why they opted in to your email list in the first place.

Suiteness email showing an example of a re-engagement travel agency email

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

To be a competitive player in the online landscape of the travel and hospitality industry, email marketing for travel agencies should follow best practices.

Travel agency emails need to be finely crafted and complete too, independent of the specific format.

Here are eight different kinds of travel agency emails you can use in your travel agency email campaigns:

  • The warm welcome
  • The newsletter
  • The seasonal or milestone offer
  • The booking confirmation
  • The informational message
  • The thank you message
  • The loyalty or referral program
  • The re-engagement gambit

Looking to create the perfect travel agency email campaign? Start here and check out Campaign Monitor’s travel and hospitality email builder and other tools.

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