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18 Jan

Why Direct Mail Marketing Works for Travel & Tourism

Author: Bob Adams

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Direct Mail

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Direct mail marketing is a tried and true method for reaching potential customers in the travel and tourism industry. Despite the rise of digital marketing channels, direct mail continues to be an effective way for businesses to connect with consumers and drive bookings. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons why direct mail is a powerful tool for reaching travelers. Whether you're looking to increase bookings for your hotel, drive traffic to your tour company, or promote your destination, direct mail marketing can help you achieve your goals.

It’s exciting to see the travel industry roaring back! As I walk through airports now there’s that buzz and craziness (yes, I know it can be hectic at times) of travelers walking, running in and out and between other travelers making their way to their next gate, etc. People are on the move again and travel companies, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, travel agencies, theme parks, casinos, and destinations could not be more happy!  

 

In fact, travel spend has surpassed 2019 levels to reach $105B this past summer. TSA 2022 throughput was up 40% from 2020, averaging more than two million travelers per day. This is especially exciting news for an industry that suffered multiple losses throughout the pandemic. Eager to make up for lost time and target wanderlust consumers in a competitive industry, travel ad spend is expected to grow by 36% this year.

 

A tried-and-true marketing channel, direct mail has reclaimed its top seat in the marketing mix for travel brands. 2021 mail volume for the travel and hospitality industry skyrocketed 281% year-over-year and continued its increase into 2022.

As a whole, the direct mail advertising market is expected to grow from $42.79 billion in 2021 to $46.33 billion in 2026 and reach $47.93 billion in 2031. The benefits associated with direct mail advertising are contributing to the growth of this lucrative market.

Direct mail is no longer the mass marketing tool it once was. It’s better than ever now, for a number of reasons. The immediacy and tangible existence of postal mail means it almost demands to be dealt with. Roughly 80 percent of people scan or read their print marketing mail daily, according to a USPS survey. This indicates how direct mail makes an impact—literally—as it hits your physical home mailbox.

 

SO, WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT DIRECT MAIL?

 

Whether it’s useful, info packed like a brochure or travel eye candy in the form of a postcard, printed items are often saved, referred to again and again, displayed, and shared with family and friends. This keeps your personalized offers, deals, tours, destinations, and travel packages in circulation, providing a continual reminder to the recipient (and possibly family, friends, or work colleagues) about your offerings. The potential staying power of direct mail strengthens your brand and inspires more travelers to book more trips.

 

Check out these points to consider when developing your direct mail strategy this year.

  • For travel marketers, Personalization is KEY; and it holds tremendous power, and 70% of people believe direct mail is more personal than email. The mere fact that their names are printed on mail increases response rates by 135%.
  • Direct mail paired with digital campaigns produce 28% higher conversion rates and boosts response rates by 450%

  • Direct mail marketing brings you—directly—into your customer’s or prospect’s world, creating a significant, meaningful pause in the humdrum (or hectic) day at home or work. Now you’ve got their undivided attention. There’s less chance of multi-tasking with printed media. With direct mail, you’re as close to stepping into your prospect’s living room as you will ever be, and much closer to a sale than you could get with online-only marketing tactics.
  • 59% of US respondents say they enjoy getting mail from brands about new products.
    Source: Epsilon
  • Direct mail has an open rate of 90%, a far cry from the 23% open rate of email marketing. This is because consumers, particularly millennials, prefer promotional materials that are tangible and can be read later, unlike emails which normally get ignored even if they are from a recognizable brand. 
  • 98% of people check their mail daily, 72% bring it in as soon as possible, and 77% sort through their mail immediately. Source: USPS

In closing, I’m not suggesting that you send out direct mail in a vacuum, without online marketing channels in place to back it up. Similarly, online marketing alone can fall a little flat, because online messages often don’t stand out (even with lovely images) from the sea of other websites visited (and email read) in a day. The point here is that we live in an omni-channel world and consumers use multiple devices, mediums, and media when it comes to dreaming, researching, and making travel decisions and booking reservations. One should view direct mail marketing as a reliable means to augment your online and mobile channels and makes them more valuable. It does so by reaching out and grabbing the prospect or past guest, passenger/customer in the uniquely physical way that only direct mail can.

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