3 Amazing Ideas for Email Marketing for Travel Agencies

Melanie Balke
September 13, 2023

It’s no secret that email marketing is a lucrative practice.

Every industry uses it.

So, naturally, shouldn’t the hospitality folks be joining the fun?

The obvious answer is, “Yes! Absolutely!”

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as agreeing to hop on the email marketing bus. You need the tools and — more importantly — ideas to get started. You’ll need an email list, content calendar, and access to data on your customer’s interests. Advanced advertising emails also use additional promotional outlets, such as social media channels and a loyalty or referral program.

And don’t forget to build an appropriate landing page. That’s of the utmost importance!

All that is to say that email marketing is hard. It requires skill and vision, and travel businesses are busy doing other things. How can you worry about sending relevant emails when so many clients are complaining about something? Why should you care more about an email-based loyalty program than an upcoming convention or partnership?

I’m here to help you answer those questions — and more!

So, keep scrolling to learn how your travel agency can maximize its profits with some remarkable email marketing campaigns.

How Can Email Marketing Campaigns Help the Travel Industry?

An old photo of a hotel. A man with a bag stands at the end of a long path. “The Perks: How Email Marketing Helps the Travel Industry.”

I’ll start with the basics.

We need a reason to cheer for our hero, the humble promotional email.

Fortunately, there are many reasons to love this digital marketing strategy. I could write an entire blog post about the benefits of email marketing for travel agencies and more. As I mentioned before, it’s a multifunctional channel. It’s a magical world where a CBD vendor can have as much success as a clothing store!

Every marketing campaign — from that first welcome email to the post-purchase flow — is a two-way exchange of valuable information. You learn from your customers, and their engagement helps you create refined, personalized messages.

Streamline Your Customer Journey

Those personalized emails then go on to become fodder for future conversions.

Forget about specific email templates for a moment. Look at the bigger picture.

58% of consumers check their emails every morning, and it’s the first thing they do. That power — the ability to be at the forefront of your target audience’s mind — has led to a massive boom in email marketing. As of 2020, 66% of all businesses have an email marketing strategy, and 79% of those companies ranked the channel as an important part of their success.

A single email campaign can reach countless customers, and personalized emails make it easier than ever to customize content to match your target audience. In fact, with clever use of email templates, a business can send dozens of variations of a single email campaign. Aside from enhancing your business’ ability to maintain constant contact with your subscribers, this cost-saving perk is the perfect starting point for:

  • Conversational marketing.
  • Customer support.
  • Drip-fed promotional campaigns.
  • Holiday-centric email designs.
  • Rewarding website visitors.

Increase Customer Satisfaction

That’s a lot of customers engaged, right?

And here’s even better news: People expect personalized emails. It is, after all, 2023. We’ve had marketing emails for over 40 years. The novelty of plain promotional content marketing has worn off; now, your marketing strategy needs some pizzazz. Potential customers want to feel seen. They want to be more than a number.

And email marketing delivers that with…

Ultimate Control and Automation Tools

Whether you’re sending out travel ideas or promoting the latest CBD news, email campaigns are the right fit for you.

A 1910s postcard from the YMCA. Overlaid text describes how travel email marketing is used to meet customer expectations. “72% of consumers preferred email marketing over other channels — including direct mail and social media.”

If you don’t believe me, just think of how many types of emails you get. There are basic confirmation emails and promotional email campaigns. Then, you have newsletters and interactive content. Don’t forget personalized reminders and informational emails, either! To put it shortly: Email marketing is super flexible.

Most of this marketing channel’s strengths are irrevocably tied to its inherent adaptability. Allow me to break it down further. A high-quality email marketing platform gives travel agencies complete control over…

  • Data: For marketing teams, one of the best parts of the channel is its incomparable level of detail. You get so much information from your email campaigns, and all information fuels the successful campaigns of the future!
  • Design and Content: Unlike social media channels, email inboxes offer unprecedented freedom. If — for some unknown reason — you want an email with neon pink sparkles falling over a robot unicorn in the background, you can do exactly that. No compromises, no algorithms, and no content moderation approval required. More importantly, you can create content that fully conforms to your image, increasing brand loyalty and recognition.
  • Interactions: Go even further than design. Email marketing pros can fully customize how users interact with email content. I’m not just talking about interactive emails, either. A skilled implementation team can embed entire experiences in a user’s inbox — from linked online reviews and high-quality images to complete booking flows!
  • Personalization: Individual email marketing efforts can be customized to match their recipients. That doesn’t stop with names, either. An implementation specialist can easily create online marketing that targets customers’ preferences and purchase history.
  • Responses: Remember what I said about conversational marketing? This is where it comes into play. Beyond the cookie-cutter promo code, email marketing doubles as a valuable customer service outlet.
  • Target Audience: Segmentation goes even deeper than personalization. This tool lets travel brands target potential customers for various reasons, including funnel status and engagement rates.

Be Available Anytime and Anywhere

Finally, everyone in the travel business knows how frustrating it is to lose connection with a customer. Even after that closing sale, you want to be part of the journey. For some, this desire is just that: an earnest hope to follow customers through their purchase. However, it’s an absolute necessity for travel agents.

You need to be “in” on your customer’s plans. Your influence can’t stop at the purchase confirmation emails. (Well… it can, but you won’t make as much of a profit!) A travel company thrives on data, and email marketing provides it.

That inbox is the gateway to constant contact. Every opened email is a chance to increase sales.

And — even better — you’re always available. The widespread prevalence of mobile devices makes it easier than ever to send subscribers updates and guides. You’re literally in your customer’s pocket at all times!

Let’s Get Creative!

A crowd aboard a steamship, the Henry Ford II. “Examples: Email Marketing to Inspire You.”

Now, those are some impressive numbers.

You can’t really deny the utility of a solid email marketing strategy. Once you collect email addresses, you’re ready to start, and it doesn’t cost much to plant the seeds of an effective email marketing strategy.

But that doesn’t address the elephant in the room.

So, let’s talk about Dumbo.

Aside from welcome emails and post-purchase flows, I’m constantly running into people who tell me, “Melanie, I just don’t know what I’d email people about!” A travel business is no different. Between behind-the-scenes administrative work and keeping clients happy, many travel agents just can’t find the time to dream up a constant stream of witty, clever email marketing.

It’s time to change that!

It’s time to explore some ideas to jumpstart your marketing campaign.

1. The Classic Email Newsletter

The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Paris, France. “Example 1: The Classic Email Newsletter.”

One of the easiest ways to give your travel business an email marketing boost is by using an email newsletter.

These informational emails are the bread and butter of the travel industry, and anyone subscribed to travel industry marketers will undoubtedly have an example of this online marketing tactic in their inbox. They’re the perfect way to spark interest in a destination without coming across as an overbearing salesperson. When paired with clever subject lines and eye-catching imagery, they also boast a consistently high click-through rate.

But what does it look like?

Boost Your Engagement and Foster Trust

These campaigns tend to follow a three-part format:

  1. The Hook: Something to catch your eye. This is usually a high-quality image with a snazzy headline.
  2. The Details: Informational emails require information, right? Well, here it is.
  3. The Plug: The final bit is a call-to-action link. While this may be as simple as a landing page for that particular location, it may lead to a booking process.
An email campaign from Atlas Obscura. A large photo of a mountain is above the headline: “The Rise and Fall of the World’s Most Unlikely Pub.”

While it may not be the most recent example, this 2016 email from Atlas Obscura is a perfect example of this style of drip marketing. It has a lovely image, an attention-grabbing header, and interesting details about the location. It’s the quintessential travel agency newsletter, but you can do more.

Take the Newsletter to the Next Level

This 7-year-old email marketing campaign is lovely but barely scratches the surface.

Take the subject line even further. Build up!

A skilled email marketing team can refine this idea even further. Need even more ideas? Well, how about…

  • Personalize It: Design a multi-layered campaign with a list of popular spots. Implementation specialists can then set the email to show particular destinations based on the recipient’s preferences.
  • Segment It: Alternatively, you can use segmentation to deliver custom city guides, tips, and ideas to inboxes around the world. For example, if someone is staying in Paris, you might send a newsletter about the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Upgrade It: Or, maybe, you have a mobile app. Use this email as a multi-channel marketing tool! Direct users on mobile devices to read even more about the location by downloading your app!

2. Host a Giveaway

If you’re hoping to draw in new customers, it might be time to consider a giveaway email!

Now, these campaigns should be handled with care. Always double- and triple-check your provider’s rules about giveaways. And be ready to hand out the prize! You’ll probably want a lawyer to help, too.

However, once those safeguards are in place, you’re poised for growth!

Another of Our Travel Agency Email Examples

An exciting prize is enough to drive engagement on these emails. You don’t really need flashy visuals, but they help!

Once again, we’re traveling back in time and snagging an Atlas Obscura email from 2016.

A giveaway email from Atlas Obscura. The CTA reads, “Let’s Go!”

This is your run-of-the-mill giveaway. It’s a great way to supercharge your travel email marketing, and it will (hopefully) bring attention to your travel agency.

However, there’s still room to grow.

Make That Email Campaign Shine

How can you upgrade this fine example of travel email marketing?

Well, there’s always a visual angle. You could polish the design and make it more appealing. But that won’t help our bottom line. For that, turn to strategists and implementation specialists. Together, this dynamic duo can add even more appeal!

  • Cross-Sell It: Everyone knows they’re unlikely to win. That’s just how giveaways work. So, make it worth their while. Offer a promo code to soften the blow.
  • Hype It Up: Market research shows that online reviews influence buyers’ decisions. Adding some user-generated content showcases your brand’s authenticity and encourages engagement. After all, who doesn’t want to be part of those delightful vacation photos?
  • Promote It: Tie the giveaway to your loyalty rewards! And don’t forget to cross-pollinate those marketing channels. Add a social link and make it easier for your subscribers to find you.

3. The Post-Purchase Deal

Finally, we have the essential post-purchase email. These campaigns are expected facets of modern society, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring!

You can do so much with a post-purchase flow. You can craft an entire process — an artful journey — for your beloved customers. Lead them through their journey and get them excited to see the world! Don’t forget: You’re a travel agency; you’re here to help people fall in love with their travel destinations.

Know, too, that these are the least likely emails to land in a spam folder. Take advantage of that exposure!

What Would It Look Like?

Here’s a bare-bones example of a post-purchase email.

A Marriot confirmation email. A CTA reads, “Manage Booking.”

You have all the information your customer needs. You have a clearly identified sender and confirmation of a purchase. There’s also a handy link to manage your details.

Time to Make It Better

Obviously, there’s not much more to say about this. It’s one of many generic confirmation emails, and there’s plenty of room for improvement. Sure, you have a cute photo and some branded designs, but we can go deeper.

Let’s polish this gem to a shine!

  • Cross-Sell It: Here’s another great opportunity to cross-sell your services. A list of nearby travel destinations and tours would go a long way toward improving this humdrum email campaign. You can push the impact even further by pointing out that users can save money by bundling a tour with their booking.
  • Interact With It: Add photos of the room to showcase its beauty! An implementation specialist can embed conditional imagery into an email, ensuring customers see the right room.

Make the Most of Every Subject Line

Of course, all these improvements require a team of pros. You can send simple emails all day, but you want to wow your new customers. You don’t want welcome emails; you want mind-blowing welcome emails!

You need a team of experts to design every email marketing campaign.

Fortunately, you’re in the right place. My team can handle your new customers, old customers, and returning globe-trotters! We’ll tackle your email marketing while you focus on rising through the ranks of the travel industry.

Schedule a free strategy session and prepare to see the difference The Email Marketers can make for your travel agency! And don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog, too. You’ll find many more tips, tricks, and ideas to help your email marketing shine.