Virgin Holidays Powers Up Its Email, Using Two Vendors

Virgin Holidays has improved its email performance by using the services of Movable Ink and Phrasee.   

The travel marketer, which sends 22 million emails a year,  has generated a 65% lift in awareness through email, a 31% hike in website traffic and a 24% increase in total margin since engaging the two vendors, according to a case study provided by Movable Ink.

Prior to this, Virgin was looking for a way to supercharge its email.

It started by trying to improve its subject lines. Phrasee helped by generating language unique to each campaign, the company says.

“Your email subject line is your headline -- it’s the first thing that attracts the customer, so I decided to look at that first,” states Saul Lopes, customer lifecycle lead at Virgin Holidays. “I had heard of a new U.K. startup in industry circles that was using artificial intelligence to improve email subject lines, and decided to go in for a meeting.”

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Lopes adds, “Within 30 seconds, Phrasee can generate 10 brand-compliant subject lines. For example, if we’re doing a weather-based campaign, we funnel that request into Phrasee, and it changes the language so it is.”

At the same time, Virgin Holidays deployed Movable Ink’s intelligent content platform to drive all forms of communication, including transactional emails and booking confirmations.

“Our most successful emails with intelligent content platform perform 50%-100% better in terms of engagement,” Lopes states.

The company worked with Movable Ink last year to drive high sales and in-store engagement during a peak campaign period. The emails were personalized at the moment of open, thanks to CRM data and API feeds.

The holiday deals created a sense of urgency, Lopes adds. They included such messages as, “We’ve saved you a spot,” and “How’s this for an Autumn Winter collection.”

Lopes notes, “if we have 50 destinations to address, Movable Ink automatically personalizes changes to the email. We don’t have to readjust the campaign or the record, but set it up just once.”

Another benefit of the dual services is faster lead time.

“Previously, it was taking us a whole week to build emails,” said Lopes. “We’ve managed to reduce this to one hour." And "each time we have a last-minute need, we’re now quick to react. This has positively benefited our bottom line.”

Moving forward, Virgin is employing Phrasee’s AI capability on call-to-action button text and hero images. It is also using Movable Ink’s optimizer capabilities to automatically select combinations of intelligent content. There are also plans to extend usage outside of email.

In summation, Lopes notes the company's “investment has returned year-on-year gains.”  

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