Travel industry: Email and mobile marketing trends

As in most industries, internet and mobile device usage has drastically changed the way customers interact with travel brands. For example, airline customers book online and opt-in to email and/or text notifications to receive confirmations and updates. Many prefer to download and scan a digital boarding pass directly from their phone over carrying around an extra piece of paper. Apps like Passbook make this an even easier and more logical choice for today’s savvy consumers.

So how are marketing trends and tactics in the travel industry evolving with these new customer behaviors and preferences? Experian Marketing Services recently analyzed over 69,000 campaigns executed by travel agencies, airlines, hotels and cruise lines in order to find out. The following are some interesting highlights from the report:

Travel agencies:

  • Emails with dollar off offers in the subject line have 14 percent higher open rates and 16 percent higher click rates than other promotional emails
    Travel agencies
  • Travel agency customers like to feel special, as emails with “exclusive” in the subject line perform best
    Example: “Exclusive savings on the trip of a lifetime”
  • Email opens are almost evenly split between desktop and mobile devices and many promote offers on mobile apps


  • Loyalty emails have high customer engagement with a 72 percent lift in unique open rates compared to non-loyalty mailingsAirline travel blogs
  • Emails with “comfort” in the subject line win airline customers over
  • Mobile communications are critical for airlines and many emails promote offers on mobile apps


  • Loyalty programs are also important for hotel companies, as engagement rates for these emails are much higher than other types of mailings
    Hotel travel blog
  • Emails that dynamically display customer names, locations or offers in the subject line perform extremely well for hotel brands, as well as subject lines with the word “escape”Example: “%%FIRSTNAME%%, escape with this special getaway package!”
  • The majority of hotel emails are opened on a mobile device and many of these emails promote mobile app offers

Cruise lines:

  • Most cruise line emails contain some type of offer, but offers in subject lines do not provide a lift in open or click rates
Travel Cruise Line Cruise travel blog
  • Personalized subject lines work exceptionally well
  • The majority of opens and clicks occur on desktops for cruise line emails, which do not seem to promote offers through mobile apps compared to other travel categories

Want to know more? Click now to download the full travel industry email marketing trends and benchmark report.