[This blog was first posted on 17th July 2020. It has been updated on 16th February 2022.]
COVID-19 has left a profound impact on every industry and its users throughout the world. Travel industry is, sadly, one of the most affected industries as everyone is compelled to stay at home and restrict their wanderlust. However, life has started getting back to normal and the concerned governing bodies of different countries have given a green signal to open some tourist spots. In view of this, the travel industry and marketers can finally heave a sigh of relief and look forward to getting their business rolling.
To recompense for the canceled flights, rescheduled events, and travel restrictions, it will be of utmost importance to market your travel business correctly in the post COVID-19 world. Communication will become more important than ever and email is being looked upon as the most effective medium to convey the updates, new policies, and offers to the customers and prospects alike.
Let’s understand how the travel industry can use emails in a world that’s prepared for a new normal:
Let the customers know that you are OPEN
First and foremost, you need to inform your subscribers that you have resumed your services and can cater to their travel needs. You can express gratitude to them for their support or let them know about any discounts that you are offering. Just make sure that your emails reflect empathy and consideration for the customers amidst these trying times. It should not come off as a salesy pitch.
Take a look at this travel email sent by Travelocity on 16th March 2020 when there was a complete lockdown at most of the places. It informs the reader about the precautions to be taken to stay safe from the virus. The email maintains a thoughtful tone throughout and assures the travelers with flexible travel options, making it among the finest travel email examples out there. At the end, they let the email recipient know that Travelocity will be ready to serve them whenever they are ready to travel again.
When the lockdown was lifted at most of the places, they sent out an email on 29th May 2020 notifying the subscriber about free cancellation on most hotels, easy customer support chat, and filtered search results for flexible flights and hotels. In addition, the email shares 10 tips to stay healthy while traveling and their “Virtual Adventures” that can transport the user to picturesque destinations in the Zoom background. Upgrading your services to adapt them to COVID-19 is the need of the hour irrespective of the industry you are in, and Travelocity has understood it pretty well. Safe to say, they have set a pretty high benchmark for travel email marketing.
Encourage the subscribers to travel WITHOUT ANY APPREHENSION
Even the hard core travel enthusiasts are scared of going anywhere because of the crisis and paranoia around it. As a travel company, you must relieve the user of their fear of contracting the virus. While promoting your offers, you must always keep in mind that you are “not selling” to them.
Take a look at the email by Skyhour. They realize that people might not be willing to go for air travel as it still continues to be a risky endeavor and therefore, they have offered them a much more flexible way to make their bookings. With the help of illustration, they have added a visual appeal to the email. Also, notice how they have emphasized that they are there for the travelers when they are ready. It reflects that they care for the subscribers and not just their business.
Promote your offers subtly
While letting your prospects and customers know that you are open, you must incentivize them with some offers that would entice them to “book” their travel with you. Along with the offers, (it goes without saying) you must convince your customers about the flexibility of cancellation and refunds.
Secret Escapes sends out a perfect post COVID-19 email that lets the subscriber know about the 4th of July deals and offers. They have highlighted “REFUNDABLE” to encourage the subscriber to book even if they might change their mind later due to any unavoidable circumstances.
Instil a sense of hope and optimism in the readers
It is quite likely that staying indoors is taking a toll on the mental outlook of your subscribers. Let your emails make them feel better and let them know that things are getting back to normal.
Your customers might be wanting to travel, but they could be worried about:
- Cancellation policies
- Amendment to the bookings
- Hotel booking
- Quarantine rules
- Staying safe (while having fun traveling)
Through your emails, you should address all these concerns and show a ray of hope to the readers. Let your emails show the customers that life can get back to normal, even with masks on and all the precautions.
Virgin Holidays sends out a perfect email with the subject line “We’re travelling back to even more places” and preheader text “Where will your first trip be?”.
The header image is attractive enough to pique the subscriber’s interest and inspire their wanderlust. The copy reflects consideration and lets the subscribers know that holidays start from 20th July 2020 and the customer can start booking in advance.
They have separated the next section monthwise with relevant CTAs like “Make AUGUST plans”.
In the following two sections, they share their booking policy according to which the subscriber can move the holiday to as far out as 31st December 2021 and tips on how to travel safely.
All in all, the email perfectly combines all the best practices that travel industry marketers must adhere to, in a world after COVID-19.
While all these tips would let your business stay afloat, one of the most important things will be to stay patient and give the customers time to get back to traveling. Rather than rushing into growing your business, it is more advisable to stay safe, keep your customers updated with the travel guidelines rolled out by the government, changes you make to your booking policies, and temporarily update the travel experience with Virtual Reality by taking a futuristic approach.
And to get on top of your approach, pore through as many travel emails and travel newsletter examples that you possibly can!
Do you have any other tips to share with fellow travel marketers?
We would love to hear from you.