Who doesn’t know this situation: Returning from holidays and spending a few hours, cleaning the email inbox. If you then ask yourself why marketers keep sending you promotional emails, there is a simple explanation: Because it works! Email remains significantly more effective than social media, when it comes to acquiring customers. Following research by the US consulting firm McKinsey it is nearly 40 times more efficient than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey).

This is on the one hand attributable to the fact that the penetration rates of email are higher than those of social media, and on the other hand the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher. This is particularly interesting in the context of tourism, as holidays are usually higher priced than many of the goods and services bought online.


Nevertheless, these impressive numbers must not be mistaken by tourism marketers as an invitation to bombard customers with spam. In addition, a shift in consumer behaviour can be noted. Following McKinsey’s iConsumer survey over the past for years a 20 percent decline in e-mail usage could be noted, with the medium surrendering ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps. Investments in these new channels are absolutely necessary for marketers to make increasingly sophisticated use of social networks and other channels to engage with consumers and convert interest to sales. However, marketers shouldn’t be too hasty in shifting budgets away from e-mail—they just need to take a few steps to harness the full power of the inbox.


Marketers are advised to follow a few essential guidelines, to get the most from email marketing efforts. The first is to focus on the journey, not on the click. The email is only part of a series of interaction with customers. But so is the landing page, and all the other touchpoints along the route to conversion.

The second important lesson is to share experiences among the marketing team(s). The best marketing organisations view every e-mail as an opportunity to learn more about their consumer. They define clear learning objectives for each campaign, capture data, and share it within the marketing group and the rest of the organisation.

The third tip is to get personal, as standing out certainly has become more difficult. While e-mail usage has declined, the volume of messages continues to rise. Building customisation into the email campaigns is essential to gain visibility and customers’ attention.


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