Developing a strategy
We started out with big targets – to increase online bookings from email by 50%. The cornerstone of our approach was bespoke targeting and understanding the customer. We began therefore by creating a strategy based around our already in-depth understanding of Haven's customer segments.
The big number
70% year-on-year growth
Our integrated, personalised email program smashed the 50% growth target, hitting 70% growth by the end of the year.
Applying rich customer insight
We knew that there were 4 months of the year when customers were receptive to summer offers. Thereafter 'late bookers' would generally start considering a holiday about 6 weeks before an event. To connect with the right customer at the right time we started by segmenting the database into clusters of 9 park regions. Each of these segments would only receive emails relating to those parks which they would be likely to visit. The strategy was to consistently deliver a different look and feel for each send, populated with offers for each of the 9 park regions. Each email effectively became 9 highly targeted campaigns.
The best chance of success
We had to keep the creative as fresh as possible to ensure that our message was consistently well received by the audience. This was achieved with rigorous macro and micro planning to ensure that each campaign was designed, developed and delivered on time. We knew that people start considering a holiday 6 weeks in advance of an event such as Easter or half term. With this insight each campaign was broken into a series of 3 messages spanning that period. The first email served to raise awareness of the event, the second to book now and the final one to inform them to book quickly or risk losing out.
Streamlining the journey
To ensure high conversion rates we integrated themes in the website and emails. This created a seamless customer journey as well as deep-linking to all the Park offers. It minimised the number of clicks that the visitor had to do to find an offer and thus helped conversion rates.
Integrated customer experience
In addition to the sales messages we created a series of trigger communications that supported customer interaction on the site. One of these was based on our understanding of how people look and then book. We developed a 'save your holiday' feature which allowed customers to 'hold' a holiday for up to 7 days. Each week we sent a personalised email to everyone who had saved a holiday with a reminder to book. This achieved a fantastic success rate with average conversion at around 90%.
More opt-ins, fewer opt-outs
We optimised the performance of email opt-in by reducing it to requirements to only name and email address with an optional second stage for detailed profiling information. We created a feature called "Your emails your way" in order to reduce unsubscribes. The idea was that by putting the customer in control of the type and frequency of emails they would remain engaged, as well as giving us useful profiling data to help optimise email content.
During the program of activity we delivered a total of 329 campaigns to just over 9,000,000 recipients. We increased conversion rate by 29%, reduced opt-outs to less than 0.1% and beat the target of 50% growth by a considerable margin. Overall, the Haven email program delivered an incredible return on investment of 2014%.