Email Performance Study: The Top UK Travel eCommerce Companies

White Paper

A recent Travel UK Ecommerce Study, carried out by Teradata, has found that two thirds of travel brands that collect data from a preference centre are using the information to personalise their emails - outperforming the current industry standard of 43%. In addition, the research highlights that travel ecommerce is also a step ahead when it comes to using responsive design to enhance email user experience. For a comprehensive overview of the full research that looks at customer newsletter communication and how to benchmark yourself against the results download this paper now.

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Project Background

The online customer newsletter sign-up process and customer newsletters of The Top 50 Ecommerce Companies (taken from Experian Hitwise) were analysed over a four week period.

The process and emails received were analysed according to the below criteria:

  • Is there a newsletter sign up option and does it appear on the homepage?
  • Does the newsletter have single or double opt-in?
  • Is a welcome message sent on sign-up and is there an offer in the welcome message?
  • Is there is an option to include recipient preferences, i.e. a preference centre?
  • Are the emails personalised by name and is the content is targeted?
  • Overall number of emails received within a five week period?
  • Are the emails and website links mobile optimised, or use responsive design?
  • Is there any incentive to visit high street store or buy online?
  • Can customer unsubscribe easily?


Registering for a customer newsletter

76% have the option to subscribe AND 24% have an account signup function

Opting in for communications

77% only have a single opt-in process to subscribe to their customer newsletter.

Double opt-in (where a customer subscribes to customer emails and receives a follow up email to re-confirm their subscription), is considered to be best practice in B2C communications.

Keeping it personal

54% have a preference centre for you to complete when you register

57% use the data they collect from the preference centre within their emails

Personalised content being sent to customers has increased from 38% to 73%

But 54% did not personalise their newsletter by name

Keeping it personal

The preference centre is a great tool for not only capturing valuable customer data to use across the entire CRM strategy, but is also an opportunity to enhance the customer experience further with personalisation – meaning emails addressed to the recipient and most importantly using targeted content by their interests.

If you are collecting this data and using it to shape your email strategy, you have the capacity to engage your customers far more effectively and drive your ROMI, than those brands who are not.

You also need to consider the types of data you are collecting and how you use it - gathering data that cannot be used effectively or collecting data and not using it at all, is an inefficient use of time and will ultimately impact your customers’ engagement with your brand going forward.

Welcoming new customers

62% sent a welcome email to new newsletter subscribers

88% did not include an offer in their welcome message to encourage the customer to make a purchase either online or in store

Frequency of emails

46% sent one to two emails per week

15% only sent a welcome email over a 4 week period

User experience for different devices

46%of emails sent by travel companies used responsive design compared to 34% across the entire Top 50 Ecommerce companies

54% of the customer newsletters had a mobile optimised website link

38% of the travel customer newsletters were optimised for mobile

69% had easy to unsubscribe links in their emails (a one step process of clicking one link where you are taken to a page to confirm you have unsubscribed)


The travel industry is clearly setting an example for other sectors, but travel brands shouldn’t get too complacent.

  • In the travel sector, where the route to purchase is a highly competitive and potentially lucrative one, capturing, nurturing and rewarding customers, is vitally important to securing a sale.
  • Carefully created email content, which is delivered at the right moment and responsive to the needs of the customer, can have a profound impact on their route to purchase – but to achieve this you need a high volume of data.
  • As consumers are moving across a wealth of channels on a daily basis, they are by default generating vast amounts of preference and behaviour data. It’s this information, which provides the mechanic for a targeted, meaningful and engaging CRM campaign to be implemented.
  • The preference centre is perhaps the most costeffective and valuable tool available to brands to achieve this detailed insight about their customers at various stages in the customer lifecycle.
  • For travel booking websites this should be a vital component of any email campaign. If a customer has specified they are only interested in European city breaks, don’t send them details of a week’s break to the Algarve for example.
  • But such details should only be viewed as the basis of your campaigns, as the most successful campaigns are those which adapt to and fulfill the changing needs and habits of the customer.
  • The way an email is laid out can have just as much impact on how an email performs as the content included within it, and the travel industry is clearly setting an example for the rest of the industry.
  • According to our findings 46% of those we studied are deploying responsive design across their email campaigns, compared to 34% across the entire top 50. The design of your email should ultimately encourage people to read on, but it also needs to be clear and concise with an obvious call to action.
  • Email marketing works well if you are analysing the data you are collecting properly and deploying it in the right way across your entire CRM campaigns. Whilst there has obviously been investment into this over the past year there is still room for improvement.
  • The travel industry is clearly setting an example for other sectors, but travel brands shouldn’t get too complacent. Continual analysis of the customer is crucial, as is ensuring that you are able to engage effectively with the consumer, by adapting to their needs, be that by obtaining a single customer view or using responsive design.

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