How Expedia UK Uses Email to Help Its Social & Mobile Efforts

While some marketers like to talk about the death of email due to channels like social and mobile, Oliver Beckett, CRM customer experience manager, at Expedia UK & Ireland, sees email as the workhorse that is helping the other channels.

"Social media wouldn't be anywhere if it weren't for us email marketers," said Oliver Beckett, CRM customer experience manager, at Expedia, during a keynote talk at the Email Insider Summit Europe in Switzerland today. Beckett illustrated how the social marketing department came to him to help reach customers and get them to sign up for the brand's social pages. He argued that customers trust email. "They are receiving emails because it is part of their booking," he said. "These people are a trusting audience who see email as a useful tool."

In fact, the company's email list is much larger than its social following. And on average there are more email addresses in circulation than there are in social. "Social is growing and it is pretty important, but it is nowhere near the size of email," he said. "People don't need social media. They rely on email, so that's why it is so important."

Mobile marketing is another priority for Expedia UK these days. Beckett said that mobile is different than social, pointing out that it is more similar to email in that everyone has a mobile phone and it is key to their booking and journey. However like social, mobile adoption needs to grow for Expedia UK. The company needs to convince consumers to download and use their apps and not choose the competition. The company has turned to its email list to help push out its mobile offerings and also uses responsive design to optimize emails for mobile. In addition, Beckett sees mobile as an opportunity to acquire new email addresses from those people that download the app that didn't come in through email.

Expedia is also turning their email experience into a learning tool for mobile. For example, the company taps their expertise in subject line writing when developing push notifications.

In the end, Beckett admits that tapping all of these new channels gives the company the power to help create a good customer experience. "Email has its part in the marketing mix," he said. 



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