How To Use Email Marketing To Reach More Tourists

How To Use Email Marketing To Reach More Tourists

When trying to reach international travelers, email marketing for tourism may be one of the most targeted, cost-effective methods for marketing.

With 4 billion email users regularly checking for emails – including 81% of Americans who check every day – email marketing continues to be an ideal way to get in front of your audience. 

And unlike social media, where your posts are not always delivered to your followers, you’ll have a much better idea of knowing who is receiving your emails, how often they’re reading them, and what actions they take after reading them (like coming to your website to book your tours!).

However, many tourism businesses like hotels, tour operators, and even destinations make the mistake of thinking that email marketing is only about sending out newsletters and special offers. 

While these are important elements of email marketing, they are not the only things that you should be doing. In order to make the most of email marketing, you need to understand how to build a relationship with your audience.

Today, we’re breaking down the most important steps to put together a successful tourism email marketing plan.

Which Tourism Businesses Benefit From Email Marketing?

Before we get into the mechanics of tourism email marketing, let’s make sure you should be sending emails. 

Here are five hospitality or tourism businesses that can benefit from using email marketing: 

1. Hotels

Hotels can use email marketing to reach out to potential guests and promote special rates or packages. The frequency and content may change depending on the type of hotel and the location (an exclusive safari lodge will have a different strategy than an urban hotel designed for business travelers, for example), but it’s certain that an effective email marketing strategy can be developed.

2. Restaurants

Restaurants can use email marketing to promote special deals or menus. While restaurants may not always be catering to far-flung tourists with their email marketing, they have a higher chance of cultivating a relationship with foodies in their neighborhood or in their city. This presents unique opportunities for email campaigns around holidays, events, and repeat visits.

3. Tour operators

Tour operators can use email marketing to tell their story, the story of their destination, and to sell special deals or itineraries. Depending on the style of tour, whether it’s a half-day city tour or a 21-day safari, the tour operator may have a much longer lead time. This makes email marketing the perfect medium to develop a relationship with their prospective travelers, share details about the business, and reveal stories about the place.

4. Travel agencies

Travel agencies can use email marketing to regularly promote new offers to their clientele. Because they have offers that can be updated as well as new partners to promote, travel agencies often have some of the most interesting email marketing campaigns.

5. Attractions

Attractions can use email marketing to both promote their upcoming events (holidays, new expositions, discounts) as well as partnerships in the community. Because attractions often have relationships with other tourism businesses – tour operators who bring their clients, packages with hotels – this style of email marketing is a helpful way to strengthen relationships.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing (To Make Tourists Happy) 

Pop quiz: The goal of email marketing for tourism is: _____

  1. To make you more money
  2. To craft the most beautiful emails of all time
  3. To make tourists happy

Correct. The answer is C: we write emails to make tourists happy. Though growing your business’s revenues could be a nice by-product, the aim of your emails is to bring value to your audience.

It may also be that you bring value by sharing beautiful photos and videos and lovingly crafted stories. All the better!

Email marketing is a great way to connect with potential customers (and yes, to promote your business), but it only works so long as those customers are willing to receive your messages.

To that end, we are sharing a few do’s and don’ts of tourism email marketing to keep your tourists happy.

Do’s of Email Marketing

  1. Keep your emails short and to the point. No one wants to read a long email, so keep your message clear and concise. 
  2. Add something visual to your emails. Even a nicely spaced email reads better than a wall of text with no breaks. 
  3. Use eye-catching subject lines to encourage people to open your emails.

Don’ts of Email Marketing

  1. Don’t send too many emails. A few well-timed emails are better than a constant barrage of messages. 
  2. Don’t use spammy words or phrases in your subject line. This will only make people less likely to open your email. 
  3. Don’t forget to proofread your emails before you send them. Typos and grammatical errors will make you look unprofessional. 

3 Tips To Improve Your Email’s Deliverability

The next step in your email marketing strategy is to make sure your emails are actually arriving to the people who’ve signed up. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Make sure your email list is up to date. 

One of the most important things you can do is make sure that your email list is up to date. This means that you should regularly check to see if there are any new addresses that you need to add, and you should also remove any addresses that are no longer active. 

And yes, that does mean the number of subscribers on your list will drop. An important rule of email marketing: size doesn’t (always) matter. Would you rather have 10,000 people on your list but only 10 people opening your emails, or a list of 1,000 people and 500 engaged people?

An up-to-date email list ensures you keep the most engaged people on your list and in your community.

2. Segment your list. 

Another important tip is to segment your email list. This means that you should send different types of emails to different groups of people on your list. For example, you might send one type of email to people who have booked with you before, and another type of email to people who have never booked with you before. 

By segmenting your list, you can make sure that your emails are more targeted and more likely to be successful. 

3. Personalize your emails. 

Another great way to make sure your emails are successful is to personalize them. This means that you should include the recipient’s name in the subject line and in the body of the email. You can also include other personal information, such as their city of residence or their favorite travel destination. 

By personalizing your emails, you’ll make them more likely to be opened and read. 

How to Measure the Success of Your Email Marketing Campaign for Tourism

How do you know if your email marketing campaign is successful? 

You’ve got to measure! Here are 4 ways to measure the success of your email marketing campaign for tourism: 

1. Check your open rates. 

This is the number of people who open your email. A good open rate is between 20-30%. If your open rates are low, it could be because your subject line is not effective or your email is going to spam. 

2. Check your click-through rates. 

This is the number of people who click on a link in your email. A good click-through rate is between 2-3%. If your click-through rates are low, it could be because your email is not interesting or your call to action is not effective. 

3. Check your unsubscribe rates. 

This is the number of people who unsubscribe from your email list after receiving your email. A good unsubscribe rate is between 0.5-1%. If your unsubscribe rates are high, it could be because your email is too long, too sales-y, or you are emailing too often. 

4. Check your conversion rates. 

This is the number of people who take the action you want them to take after receiving your email. This could be subscribing to your email list, downloading a guide to the city, or even booking a tour. 

The best way to start is … well, to start. Go for a month and see where your numbers are, then begin to take steps to improve. Conversion rates are going to vary based on industry and the type of activity you’re selling. 

Click here for more information on benchmarking your email marketing performance and our other tourism marketing services.

Getting Started With Email Marketing For Your Tourism Business

If you’re in the tourism industry and you haven’t started using email marketing to promote your business, now is the time to get started. 

Email marketing is an incredibly effective way to reach out to potential customers and convert them into paying customers. 

Want help creating a campaign that targets your ideal customer and gets them to take action? Get in touch with Passport Creative to craft your next winning email campaign

About the author

Alex Jeffries is the founder of Passport Creative. An award-winning producer and writer, he is now dedicated to tourism communication and development. He is based in Paris, France.