Decision Marketing Data Clinic: Top tips for travel firms

DM ClinicIn the latest in a series of articles, designed to provide advice on data-driven marketing strategies in these turbulent times and beyond, we look into the issues facing the travel sector.

The Decision Marketing Data Clinic, in association with REaD Group, is open to all companies and organisations big and small. If you have a burning issue which you would like advice on please email us on

With the news that holiday companies are seeing an upsurge in booking thanks to the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout, it’s good to see a strong consumer appetite for one of the hardest hit industries of 2020. But what do those in the travel industry need to keep in mind as they continue or restart their marketing efforts in 2021?

We are treading a fine line between furloughed employees and customer demand, alongside uncertainty of when restrictions will be lifted. How should we be communicating with our customers?
How you manage your customers now is going to be markedly different from how you were managing them this time last year: despite the uncertainty, rebooking a holiday is preferable to offering a refund, so do as much as you can to glean as much insight as possible on your customer. You need to understand who they are, so adding further data insight on lifestyle variables will help you tailor your messaging accordingly.

Our database consists of a typically older population. What should we be thinking about when we contact them?
The sad fact is that, with an older demographic, there are a greater number who are more likely to have passed away over the past ten months. If you’re about to contact them for the first time in a while, then data cleansing is a must. It will ensure data accuracy, and avoids unnecessary communications being sent out and seen by family members, causing unnecessary distress.

On the other hand, older retired people have not had their income affected, so some will have more at their disposable. Again, this is where additional data insight can help you to contact these people in the right way.

What else should we be doing to maximise our communications?
Everyone is spending more time at home and online – meaning more time to browse and book holidays – so make sure you are using both online and offline strategies to engage customers. They have been proven to work extremely effectively when activated together.

Research by Royal Mail MarketReach in late 2020 found that direct mail increased online engagement by 64% and online sales by 25%. And while email may have a much shorter life span, it delivers immediate and current content to keep your brand present. When primed with direct mail, customers spend 30% longer engaging with digital communication. Combine your trusty holiday brochure with online activation and you should see some strong results.

This is the best time to be doing your housekeeping: make sure your data quality is 100% and get prepared now to take advantage of the demand for holidays that we’re all desperately craving. Those that leverage a marketing approach based on clean, actionable data now will be the winners when restrictions begin to ease.

Adam Tolcher is head of business development at REaD Group

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