Travelocity Uses Intelligent Content To Sell $400 Packages

Most of us think of a vacation as an expensive proposition. But Travelocity, the travel-booking site, gained an edge in response and ROI with a module-driven email campaign offering $400 vacation packages.

There aren’t that many $400 vacations around. The company had to explain the value proposition on a personalized basis while stressing the time element.  

That meant it had to seamlessly present “real-time deal and price information at the time the person opened the email,” said Jim Carlson, senior manager, email marketing for Travelocity, speaking at Movable Ink’s Think Summit. This had to be based on several variables, including prior trips and preferences. 

Planning vacations is usually a long process. Most people book the flight first and the hotel later. To book both at once represents more of a commitment. 

The project was complicated, Carlson said, by the fact that “we don’t have that high of an inventory.” 



Travelocity used Movable Ink’s services to access API data and test a variety of packages, while increasing the ROI. 

The packages included hotel and stand-alone flight prices, and all the associated components. The objective was to present a personalized deal — instantly.

Travelocity added a price flight trend graph that showed what historical prices were for flights over the last five days, and it was specific to each customer’s origin, Carlson said.

Instead of showing a picture of Las Vegas, the email included a graph of the prices.

With those numbers fluctuating, this content depended on when the person opened the email — Friday was different from Monday.

“We also wanted to add some urgency to the email, and we were focused on picking common North American vacation times, like Labor Day,” Carlson continued. “The timer would update and the customer would understand how much time they had to book."

To communicate that urgency, Travelocity put in a real-time countdown, showing the number of days to the upcoming holiday, or whatever the time period was.  

The results? The vacation module pulled a 45% increase in click rate over static offers, a 15% increase in campaign revenue and a 17% increase in marketing contribution. 

For the flight price trend model there was a 5% click-through increase, and a 21% boost in revenue. 

Finally, the countdown in real time, number of days to upcoming holiday….as opposed to showing a static picture  increased click rate by 3% an revenue by 5%

And when it comes to relevance, the following statistic may be the most meaningful of all.

The flight-price module achieved a 24% decrease in unsubscribes.


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