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Travel and Hospitality Study Reveals Top Email Marketing Challenges and Priorities

Delivery challenges, social media integration and improving segmentation and targeting cited as top priorities for 2010

Redwood City, Calif., May 6, 2010 – StrongView, a leading provider of online marketing solutions for email and social media, released a new report today that finds a widespread lack of data integration and subscriber targeting in the travel and hospitality industry. The report, "Connected Marketing for Travel Providers," was authored by email marketing analyst and Relevancy Group CEO David Daniels after surveying email marketers from mid-to-large size companies in the United States and United Kingdom. The results and recommendations outlined in this report are based on data from 296 travel and hospitality email marketers who responded to an online survey in April 2010.

According to the report, only 30 percent of travel email marketers are using subscriber preferences or behaviors to target offers in pre- and post-stay emails, signaling a significant market opportunity to increase revenue and differentiate their brand. The report found that travel marketers using technology to target subscribers based on preferences and behavior are generating nearly twice as much revenue from their lifecycle email programs than those that send untargeted messages from reservation systems and homegrown solutions. Daniels recommends that travel providers use customer satisfaction data, click-through metrics, social influence statistics and customer profitability as key targeting criteria when designing their email marketing programs.

"The data clearly shows that travel marketers could benefit significantly by leveraging customer data to send more targeted messages throughout the customer lifecycle, but many are likely hampered by integration challenges and the inherent limitations of reservation systems and homegrown solutions," said David Daniels, CEO of The Relevancy Group. "Travel companies should seriously evaluate whether their current email marketing technology and expertise can support key requirements for making this approach work, such as the ability to integrate with multiple data sources and reliable email delivery."

According to the survey, the top three email marketing initiatives for the travel industry in 2010 are increasing email deliverability rates (38%), integrating email and social media (37%) and improving the segmentation/targeting of their programs (35%). The travel industry continues to be plagued with list churn, which has been amplified by people losing their jobs during the recession and opting for “stay-cations” instead of traditional vacations to save money. Accordingly, the top three email marketing challenges cited by travel marketers for 2010 are list turnover (32%), email deliverability (29%) and frequency management (28%), which highlights a focus on maintaining the value of every email address on their list.

In line with prior survey findings, travel marketers are showing significant interest in integrating social media with their email marketing programs. 42 percent of travel marketers plan to integrate social media into email marketing programs this year. 28 percent are analyzing the social influence of their subscribers and using that to target their email campaigns, which will quickly be followed by just over a third of travel marketers that plan to embrace this tactic within the next 12 months.

“Delivering highly personalized and targeted messages that are both expected and valued by our guests is a top priority for IHG,” said Kevin Hickey, global manager of lifecycle and email marketing at InterContinental Hotels Group. “In addition to providing us with real-time access to response data, StrongView’s platform offers us more integration capabilities to segment our lists based on individual customer preferences, behaviors and events.”

"With the increased number of channels being used by individuals to consume and share information, it is becoming imperative for marketers to take a connected approach to their email marketing efforts," said Kara Trivunovic, senior director of strategic services at StrongView. "This report highlights the opportunities for travel companies to better leverage customer data in conjunction with email marketing and social media integration to connect with individuals and send more targeted, effective and profitable messages. Leading companies are turning to StrongView to facilitate these types of communications via direct connections to customer data."

Report Methodology
The Relevancy Group fielded a survey to qualified email marketing executives in the United States and the United Kingdom. This survey screened out those marketers that were not intimately involved with their employer’s email marketing activities and companies that sent less that 1 million email messages per month. The survey focused on three primary industries – Retail, Travel and Media/Publishing. Overall, there were 674 qualified respondents, 486 in the US, 188 in the UK. The initial set of findings for the Travel and Hospitality vertical (296 qualified respondents) are featured in this report.

About The Relevancy Group
Working with authors such as David Daniels who co-authored “Email Marketing: An Hour A Day” The Relevancy Group aims to educate multiple market segments on the best practices to establish trust as well as further foster consumer confidence in online commerce applications and multi-channel messaging. For more information visit www.therelevancygroup.com or on twitter @emaildaniels.

About StrongView Systems, Inc.
StrongView’s online marketing solutions for email and social media enable businesses to reach, engage and influence their target audience using the most powerful channels available to marketers today. StrongView gives email marketers the control and support they need to improve campaign performance, boost deliverability and lower costs, while also leveraging the power of social media to extend the reach of their campaigns and brand to new audiences. Combining an easy-to-use email marketing application, high-performance delivery system, viral-marketing tool, social media integration, and a wide range of deliverability, strategic and supporting services, StrongView makes it possible for companies with all levels of resources and expertise to take advantage of its proven solutions. Headquartered in Redwood City, CA, StrongView’s clients include global leaders across virtually every industry. To learn more about StrongView, please visit www.strongview.com or follow us online at www.twitter.com/StrongView or www.facebook.com/StrongView.

To schedule a free demo, call (800) 971-0380 or contact us via the following link: http://www.strongview.com/company/contact-us/contact-us.

Press Contacts:
Kate Carey
New Venture Communications
+1 (650) 814-3088
kcarey@newventurecom.com