Travel-Related Emails Succeed More Than Others

  • by February 17, 2009
travel emailConsumers who opt to receive emails from travel-related companies are more likely to make purchases than those who are getting permission-based emails in other brand categories, according to research from marketing services firm Epsilon.

Going beyond easily measured click-through and open rates, Epsilon studied the feelings, reactions and activities provoked in consumers who receive permission-based travel emails. The typical recipient has opted to receive emails from about three different travel companies, Epsilon said, and 63% of them express a greater likelihood to make purchases from the sending companies.

This compared to 56% of respondents who receive opt-in emails from retail companies, 55% from CPG companies, 44% from pharmaceuticals/ health care, and 40% from financial services. (The study of 1517 consumers was conducted in mid-October by ROI Research.)



"The travel industry was one of the first industries to enter the e-commerce arena," the study explains, "and therefore travel consumers have a high comfort level in regards to multi-channel email and Web marketing activities."

Breaking down the travel category itself, Epsilon found that airfare sales were most influenced by opt-in emails, with 80% of respondents reporting a direct influence on purchases. This was followed by hotels (71%), rental cars (60%), vacation packages (35%), and cruises (20%). Consumers made the vast majority of all these purchases online, but 48% of respondents did say that opt-in travel emails had a direct impact on offline purchases, and 14% reported contacting travel agents as a direct result of such emails.

In addition to such quantifiable actions as clicking email links (73%), booking travel online (79%) and printing or downloading coupons (66%), Epsilon found that other specific, direct actions taken by consumers as a result of receiving opt-in travel industry emails included:

  • Visiting aggregator sites (71%)
  • Searching online for reviews (66%)
  • Typing or copying a URL into their browser (33%)

More than two-thirds (69%) of those who opted in for travel emails said they want to get personalized content based on their Web site activity and past purchases, rather than just generic content. Epsilon singled out Priceline and Hilton as brands that track users' activity in order to customize suggestions on destinations, itineraries and vacation packages.

Epsilon also examined the reasons that consumers opt to receive travel emails in the first place. They include:

  • Learning about sales, discounts and special offers (86%)
  • Learning about existing packages and destinations (51%)
  • Receiving coupons (48%)
  • Learning about new packages, routes and destinations (46%)

"Our research demonstrates the many online and offline, measurable and immeasurable benefits of email marketing campaigns," Kevin Mabley, senior vice president, Epsilon Strategic Services, said in a statement. "Those benefits start with direct online airline ticket and hotel reservation transactions and extend to brand loyalty in multiple channels."

The Epsilon study, "Flying High: Measuring the Value of Email Marketing for the Travel Industry," can be downloaded at

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