Skift Take

The use of Big Data is imperative if travel businesses want to improve conversion, grow purchases, and retain customers.

Earlier this month we launched a new free Skift Travel Trends Report, The Future of Personalized Marketing In Travel, brought to you in association with Boxever, the Big Data company in travel.

Below is an extract. Download the full free report here.

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In April of this year, Movable Ink, an email marketing firm, and Best Western, the world’s largest hotel chain with more than 4,000 properties, began a three-part campaign to better optimize the 20 million monthly emails sent to customers.

Their goals? Enhancing targeting capabilities by device and location, increasing rewards member engagement and growing revenue through hyper-targeted and relevant content.

They started by altering the email creative on messaging promoting the Best Western app by using technology to identify the device on which the email was being seen. Folks on an iPhone or iPad got messaging linking them directly to the Apple app store where they could download the app; those on an Android were sent to the Google Play store. The benefit? A 143% lift in downloads for non rewards-members (and 100% for rewards members) compared to similar campaigns.

Next was using geo-targeting to pinpoint a user’s location (21 were specified) and using that information to send him more relevant offers.

“You would see the appropriate creative based off where you opened the email,” says Ronnie Brant, Director of Product Marketing at Movable Ink. “For example, if you were in New York City or on the East Coast and opened it, you would see a message promoting Florida vacations, but if you opened the same email on the West Coast, you would have seen a Los Angeles-based email. Their email literally adapted itself based on your current location.”

The result? A 12% click-through rate jump from rewards members and a 10% improvement from non-rewards members.

Best Western also focused on providing different offers for rewards members and non-members by testing two offers and seeing which would drive greater engagement: an offer for rewards points, or a discount code to buy Mother’s Day flowers. Once Best Western saw that the discount was driving higher engagement, they served the majority of recipients – both rewards and non rewards members, the discount code.

The key is that all were monitored and performed in real time using Movable Ink’s Agile email platform, a A/B test that knows when, where and how a customer opens his email and tailors the messaging and creative to each individual.

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Tags: best western, marketing

Photo credit: The Best Western hotel on the Nanaimo waterfront in Vancouver. Doug Hay / Flickr

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