How to Personalize the Travel Experience with Dynamic Email

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema
Marketing Director, Americas
Emarsys
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Learn how travel marketers can leverage dynamic email to send real-time information to customers including live pricing, flight availability, seating options, car rental information, live currency exchange rates, and weather updates – plus how to use countdown timers and personalized incentives to add an extra special flair.


I’m writing this post from somewhere over the Atlantic. I’m currently traveling back to Indianapolis from Berlin following the inaugural Emarsys Revolution event. After spending a few days immersed in marketing, technology, and excitement on delivering more personalized customer interactions, I find myself as part of one of the most captive audiences marketers have today: I’m a traveler.

This trip – with its combination of international travel and insights on how to deliver more personalized, meaningful customer interactions – has me thinking about the many opportunities marketers now have to improve traveler experiences before, during, and after the journey.

Think about it: flight delays, gate changes, baggage claims, seat availability, destination weather, airport transfers – all of these are subject to change at a moment’s notice. They all have the potential to throw off an entire day of travel for hundreds of people.

Thankfully, I’ve been lucky today with a smooth journey (thus far). But my experience could be so much better. So much more effortless. So much more personalized.

But I know my days of micromanaging the many details of my travel are numbered. It’s going to get better. How do I know? Because, as in every other area of life, technology is reshaping the way we experience travel. Marketers can do more now than ever before to ensure their travel customers are well informed and have all their needs met during their journeys. One way they can do that is with ultra-engaging, dynamic emails.

Dynamic #emails help keep travelers up-to-date w/ itineraries, transportation changes, & availability                               CLICK TO TWEET

Dynamic email – HTML content within an email that automatically changes based on the end user – has almost unlimited application for the travel industry.

Dynamic Email For Personalization

Today’s travelers, like me, expect up-to-the-minute information about their trips. The responsibility of meeting this expectation falls on the shoulders of travel marketers.

Fear not, travel marketers.

Advanced marketing technology helps travel marketers create dynamic emails where, for example, messages can be personalized at the moment a recipient opens an email for ultimate real-time messaging.

The most common example of this is using a merge tag within your email service provider to pull in a customer’s name at the beginning of an email.

Unlike traditional automation and personalization solutions, dynamic content “populates” based on when the email is opened – not when it’s sent.

This is done with “content blocks,” similar to website widgets, so recipients always have the most up-to-date information about their travel plans.

So while I’m traveling from Berlin to Indianapolis, why would I need to be delivered weather forecasts for Germany after I’ve landed back home in the US? Dynamic email makes it possible to provide real-time, location-based updates, like weather, based on where the customer is located when they open the email.

But dynamic email can do a lot more than supply travelers with local weather reports.

The advanced automation and AI-powered data systems that make dynamic email possible actually learn from every message sent and received, allowing marketers to send emails with constantly changing content. These small changes drastically influence the traveler’s experience.

#AI-powered systems that send dynamic emails self-learn & can send emails w/ constantly changing content                        CLICK TO TWEET

Dynamic email has proven impact for marketing teams, helping you:

  • Increase CTRs by 10%–20%
  • Drive engagement to push click-to-open ratios more than 15%
  • Deliver high-quality content on a consistent basis without increasing resources

Let’s take a look at what you can do with dynamic email.

How Can Dynamic Email Be Used in the Travel Industry?

All consumers – including travelers like me – are always looking for ways to make their lives easier.

We want the most effortless, seamless travel experience possible. We don’t want to have to think about it. Dynamic email helps travel marketers deliver these incredibly high levels of personalization in a variety of ways.

Here are five quick ways I would have loved to see more personalization within the travel emails I received as part of this trip:

Live Pricing and Flight Availability

Even before I booked my trip or boarded a flight, I could have been presented with live pricing and flight information, making it easy for me to make my travel plans.

Dynamic emails are “smart.” The more I engage with dynamic email, the more intelligent the marketing platform will become. As I continue to book trips, the machine can learn from my behaviors and begin to anticipate them in the future. This becomes a continuous process of machine learning and optimization, to ensure the right content is delivered to the right individual, at the right time.

Maybe next year I’ll receive some emails asking if I would like to book another trip to Berlin along with some flight and hotel options.

Seating Options and Car Rental

While this may sound like a no-brainer, the transportation and car rental process both demonstrate the real value of dynamic email. Real-time options about airport transfers, transportation options, and car rental availability take the guesswork out of the equation.

I can’t tell you how lovely it would have been to receive a notification upon arriving in Berlin with options for transportation to my hotel. My exhausted, jet-lagged self wouldn’t have had to think about it.

Live Currency Exchange Rates

For marketers serving international travelers, providing live currency exchange rates provides a little extra value to customers. Again, this could have just lightened my cognitive load as I arrived in Germany.

This is particularly smart for companies that offer currency exchange services, as it drives business by always offering the most current information available, all in a single email.

Countdown Timers

Automated countdown timers help travelers plan for critical milestones throughout their journeys, such as checking in and boarding.

These time-based notifications can add value by showing customers how much time is left until they must complete a task, and help travelers keep to a timely schedule when they need it most – in transit.

Late last night, I had to dig into my airline app and flight confirmation emails to remind myself of the details of today’s flights. The last thing on my mind this week was flight departure times for my return trip to Indianapolis. It would have been great to be served that information without having to think about it.

Personalized Incentives

Travel marketers can leverage dynamic email solutions to track a traveler’s favorite destinations, hotels, and even restaurants, and then target them with customized special offers and incentives. This knowledge of the customer is echoed in the content and messaging at the time of open.

So perhaps the next time I travel I’ll be provided some recommended hotels or dining options based on my preferences and behaviors identified during this trip. Wishful thinking on my part? With all the changes I’m seeing in marketing today, I think not.

Final Thoughts

Dynamic emails give travel marketers a chance to take personalization and optimization to new heights.

Travel marketers can define rule parameters specific to any device, weather forecast, date, itinerary, geolocation, and more. This all ensures that not only correct content gets delivered to the customer every time they open their travel-related emails, but that the content is also personally relevant and helpful. This pays off as engagement rates and customer satisfaction increase.

So, is your travel brand ready to take flight?

► Get 4 Opportunities for Marketers to Revolutionize the Travel Experience to learn more about using dynamic email to win loyal travelers. 

Additional Resources:

 

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema
Marketing Director, Americas
Emarsys
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