Expedia CruiseShipCenters Sails (Softly) Through the Rivers of Rising Returns
Check out this article from MarketingSherpa’s Courtney Eckerle: Email Marketing: Expedia Cruise Ship Centers uses data-triggered human interaction to increase bookings 81%.
(What’s this? “Email marketing,” “data,” and “human interaction” used in the same sentence? Be still my heart.)
Expedia CruiseShipCenters is a Lyris customer, and we’ve chronicled its success story here. I’ve also had the pleasure of working behind the scenes with Dave Mossop, the company’s manager of interactive marketing, on a couple of case study presentations he’s made on our behalf, including this Webcast from last year, Boost Email Relevance: 8 Steps that Drive Results.
In that presentation, and as further recounted in the MarketingSherpa article, Dave describes the synergy between his company’s marketing initiatives, travel agents, and what he calls the travel agents’ “personal networks” – aka the company’s database.
(Wow, “personal network” rather than “the database.” Love it!)
Essentially, Expedia CruiseShipCenters interacts with its customers and prospects through its network of independent travel consultants, lending a personalized approach to the way it leverages data for marketing campaigns. The article takes us through a recent promotion called Legendary Rivers, with step-by-step details on how every piece of email is personalized from travel agents to their own contacts.
Here are some key points that jump out for me about this personalized approach to customer engagement:
- “The team’s goal…was to maximize its independent travel agents’ time, as well as providing a personal experience when agents contact potential customers. To do this, Marketing created a system that integrated email data with the personal touch of one of its agents.”
- When the customer clicks a link, a gateway page greets them, asking for their name and phone number. Expedia CruiseShipCenters already has that information, so this request serves the purpose of being a way to “softly” let them know to expect a call from the travel agent.
- Telephoning the customer after they express that initial interest helps to move them along to purchasing because when the agent calls them, it “brings that sale alive.”
- “The biggest takeaway is that we are sitting on a lot of data…the hope is going into future campaigns to use all the data we have to match relevant content to the right people.”
And, finally, this zinger:
“We have really built an email marketing program that complements real-life human beings, taking the time to build relationships and ultimately sell cruises that way.”
Way to go, Expedia CruiseShipCenters. You’ve illustrated unequivocally that there is, indeed, a role for the softer side of digital marketing in a big data-driven world.
(Oh, the humanity!)
Dave Mossop will be speaking at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas, February 19 – 22. Lyris will be there, too, to meet with anyone interested in learning more about our email and digital marketing automation solutions. Visit the Lyris relaxation lounge in the Calais Suite at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino for refreshments, product demonstrations, a free gift, and a chance to win premium prizes, including an Apple®iPad Mini™!