Supercharging Email Signups for Travel Sites: The Incentive

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Captain Conversion

Many top travel sites encourage visitors to sign up to emails.  And it’s a smart move because it leads to bookings.  But maybe your email sign up rate isn’t great.  And you’re wondering how to get more visitors to subscribe.  If that’s the case, read this transmission and find out how to persuade more people to sign up.  It all starts with the incentive.

Give visitors a strong incentive to sign up to your mailing list and more will subscribe.

The importance of email marketing for travel sites

Email subscribers are prospects and potential repeat customers.  But unlike anonymous visitors, you have their email address.  So you have a direct way of communicating with them.  You can send marketing messages straight to their inbox, rather than hoping they’ll come back to your site when they’re ready to book.

After all, research suggests over 90% of visitors are not ready to buy when they first visit a website.  Which leaves them open to trying new places when they are ready.

Email marketing closes the floodgates.  Prospects get a timely email from you advertising flights, hotels and holidays they’re interested in.  And for them it makes sense to at least see what you’re offering before going elsewhere.

It’s simply more convenient.  All they have to do is click a link in an email, which is easier than starting a new search.  The information comes to them; they don’t have to go looking for it.

Seth Godin describes the power of sending prospects relevant and valuable marketing messages, which they’ve agreed to receive.  It’s called permission marketing.  And in general, it’s far more effective than interrupting people with generic ads.

Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity – time – Permission Marketing offers consumers incentives to accept advertising voluntarily.

In email marketing, this means giving people an incentive to subscribe to your mailing list.  That way you get permission to send marketing messages and bring people back to your site when they’re ready to book.

Creating a strong incentive

Visitors only part with their email address for good reason.  They get enough marketing email, a lot of which they delete without reading.  The last thing they want is more rubbish clogging up their inbox.

Seth Godin calls the reason to sign up bait.

What will the selfish consumer respond to?  Is there a clear and obvious benefit being offered?

Know your customer

The first step in creating an incentive your target customers will respond to is: know your customers.

  • Are they motivated by deals, discounts and lowest prices?
  • Are they interested in getting ideas and inspiration?
  • Do they like competitions and winning prizes?
  • What do they typically do on holiday?  Eat in restaurants, hire a car?

Knowing your target audience will help you come up with bait they’ll respond to – an incentive they’ll exchange their email address for. boosted signups 31.54% by offering free betting tips, as opposed to just asking visitors to register.

Be relevant

Offering prospects a relevant incentive is crucial to permission marketing success – so something travel-related at the very least.  But the more relevant, the better.  An incentive related to the specific destinations people are interested in is likely to be more persuasive than something general.

Get some ideas

Offer exclusive deals and discounts by email.  If your target customers are largely price-driven, then try capturing their email in exchange for exclusive deals and offers.  Expedia does this:

Expedia email signup

So does, with their ‘secret deals’: email subscribe

And in a survey by Captain Conversion, getting a deal was voted the most important thing to people booking trips online.

Making the deals exclusive to email subscribers strengthens the incentive.  People like to feel they’re getting a better deal than others, that they know something others don’t.  It makes them feel smart and savvy.

Provide destination-related content.  Trip Advisor offers holiday tips ‘tailored for the destinations you choose’.

Trip Advisor email subscribe

Holiday tips, deals and reviews specifically for the destinations people are interested in helps overcome hesitation to sign up.  Customers looking for a beach holiday in Barbados don’t want to receive emails advertising ski holidays in Switzerland.

Another way to tailor emails to what people are interested in is by holiday type.  Visitors might not know the destination they want yet, but they do know they want a romantic city break in Europe.  So offering to send these people romantic city break deals in Europe is likely to be a good incentive.

Offer activity-related premiums and discounts.  What do your target customers commonly do at their destination?  Do they hire cars, play sports and eat in restaurants?  You could offer something like this to email subscribers, like a rental car discount voucher.

Have a prize.  Thomas Cook gives visitors the chance to win £250 holiday money when they sign up.  Rather than just ‘£250’, they add relevance and excitement by saying ‘holiday money’.  Everyone likes the idea of holiday money to spend on things they want abroad – rather than bills at home.

Captain ConversionSo those are some incentives you can use to supercharge sign ups to your mailing list.  You then send out relevant marketing emails, bringing prospects back to book on your site when they’re ready.  Power up!

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