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Maximizing Impact: 10 Practical Uses of Drip Campaigns for Online Travel Agencies

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Drip Campaigns OTA - Hero Image
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In digital marketing, precision and persistence are paramount, and this is where drip campaigns emerge as a tool of strategic brilliance. With the ability to cultivate relationships, nurture leads, and guide customers on a personalized journey, drip campaigns have assumed a pivotal role in modern marketing strategies. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of Online Travel Agencies (OTA firms), where the fusion of wanderlust and technology creates a landscape ripe for effective engagement.

In this blog, we delve into the compelling use of drip campaigns, noting their significance within the context of OTA firms. We shall explore ten potent use cases, each meticulously designed to resonate with travel aficionados, adventurers, and explorers who seek not just a destination but an experience. As the digital world continues to evolve, the power of well-crafted, strategically-timed emails, notifications, and SMSes remain an untiring conduit to captivate audiences and nurture relationships. Join us as we traverse through these compelling scenarios where technology and wanderlust converge.

Let’s begin by navigating through the ten powerful drip campaign use cases tailored explicitly for OTA firms. From abandoned cart recovery to crafting post-travel memories, from welcoming newcomers to rekindling the interest of old acquaintances, this exploration aims to equip OTA professionals with the tools to not just survive but thrive in a digital age that prizes personalized connections and captivating narratives.

1. Welcome and Onboarding Series

When you interact with customers digitally, the first impression often becomes the foundation upon which lasting relationships are built. For OTA firms, this is particularly true as they embark on a journey to captivate the hearts and minds of potential travelers. Enter the “Welcome and Onboarding Series,” a cornerstone of drip campaigns that resonates deeply within the realm of Online Travel Agencies.
Welcome and Onboarding Series

The Significance of Welcoming New Subscribers:

Picture this: a curious traveler stumbles upon your OTA platform, their imagination ignited by the promise of new horizons. The first step they take – signing up for your updates – is a pivotal moment. The welcome email that follows serves as a warm invitation to explore a world of possibilities. Beyond being a simple acknowledgment, a well-crafted welcome email establishes a connection, inviting subscribers to become part of a community where their travel aspirations find a home.

The onboarding process isn’t just about logistics; it’s about creating a seamless bridge between curiosity and engagement. By guiding users through the initial steps of your platform, you provide them with a sense of direction. They are no longer mere spectators; they are participants in a journey. This sense of purpose transforms subscribers into engaged users, setting the stage for meaningful interactions and, ultimately, conversions.

Structuring an Effective Welcome and Onboarding Drip Campaign:

Creating an impactful welcome and onboarding drip campaign requires a balance of information and inspiration. Here’s a blueprint to consider:

  1. Warm Welcome: Craft a warm and personalized welcome email. Express genuine appreciation for their interest in your OTA and introduce the unique value you offer.
  2. Showcase Features: In subsequent emails, highlight different features and benefits of your platform. Whether it’s easy booking, exclusive offers, or personalized itineraries, paint a vivid picture of how their travel dreams can be realized.
  3. Step-by-Step Guidance: Provide clear, step-by-step instructions on how to navigate your website or app. Make it easy for users to discover and explore different destinations, accommodation options, and travel packages.
  4. Engaging Content: Incorporate engaging content, such as travel tips, destination spotlights, and local insights. This not only educates users but also fosters a sense of anticipation for their future adventures.
  5. Call to Action: Each email should have a clear call to action (CTA) that gently nudges users to take a specific action – whether it’s exploring a destination, customizing their travel preferences, or subscribing to a newsletter.
  6. Personalization: Utilize data-driven insights to tailor content based on user preferences and interactions. Personalization adds a layer of relevance that resonates deeply with subscribers.

2. Abandoned Cart Recovery

As travelers set their sights on dream destinations, the path from planning to booking is riddled with distractions, hesitations, and myriad possibilities. It’s a conflict between wanderlust and reality, and sometimes, the cart is left stranded midway. Enter “Abandoned Cart Recovery,” a potent strategy that speaks directly to the customer.

The “add to cart” button is a powerful call to action that asks for a customer’s commitment- the commitment to begin a journey. Yet, many of these journeys remain incomplete. Abandoned bookings are not just a common issue – they’re woven into the fabric of digital commerce these days. The reasons are multifaceted – from sudden interruptions to comparison shopping – all causing potential travelers to step away from the brink of finalizing their plans.

As carts get abandoned, what revives them is personalization. A generic reminder may be dismissed as easily as the original intent to book. However, a personalized follow-up captures the traveler’s attention, reminding them not just of the abandoned plans but of the experiences they yearned to embrace. It’s a reminder that their aspirations still beckon, awaiting their decision to embark.

Strategies for Designing Effective Abandoned Cart Recovery Drip Campaigns:

  1. Timely Reminders: Craft a series of emails that are timed strategically after the abandonment. The first email can be a gentle nudge, reminding the traveler of their incomplete journey. Subsequent emails can offer additional incentives or emphasize scarcity, invoking a sense of urgency.
  2. Personalized Offers: Tailor the follow-up emails based on the items left in the cart. Offer personalized discounts, exclusive deals, or complementary add-ons that resonate with the traveler’s initial preferences.
  3. Leverage Social Proof: Incorporate reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content to remind travelers of the experiences that await them. Social proof validates their aspirations and enhances their trust in your platform.
  4. Storytelling Approach: Craft compelling narratives that weave the traveler’s desires into the story. Create a sense of continuation, where completing the booking is the natural next chapter.
  5. Multichannel Engagement: Extend the recovery efforts beyond email. Utilize retargeting ads, push notifications, and SMS to reach travelers on different platforms and devices.
  6. Feedback and Assistance: Offer assistance in case travelers encounter any issues during the booking process. Providing a support channel can alleviate concerns and prompt them to resume the booking.
Abandoned Cart Recovery x 2

3. Destination Inspiration

Travel mesmerizes people. That is why the journey begins long before the bags are packed and the tickets are booked. It commences with a spark – an image, a story, a dream of a destination waiting to be explored. “Destination Inspiration” is the heartbeat of travel marketing, and within the context of drip campaigns, it emerges as a catalyst for captivating potential travelers.

Discussing the Role of Destination Inspiration in Engaging Potential Travelers:

Imagine captivating your audience not just with travel deals but with the allure of experiences waiting to be had. Destination inspiration transcends the transactional, stirring emotions and forging connections. It transports potential travelers from a place of passive interest to active engagement as they envision themselves wandering through quaint streets, savoring local flavors, and immersing in unfamiliar cultures.
Destination Inspiration for drip campaigns

Beyond showcasing picturesque landscapes, destination inspiration delves into the nuances that make a journey truly unforgettable. Offering insider tips and local experiences transforms a mere vacation into an adventure. By providing these insights, your OTA becomes not just a booking platform but a curator of remarkable journeys.

Tips for Crafting Compelling Destination Inspiration Drip Campaigns:

  1. Visual Storytelling: Utilize captivating imagery and videos that transport viewers to the destination. Showcase landscapes, cultural landmarks, and the essence of local life.
  2. Personalized Recommendations: Tailor destination suggestions based on traveler preferences and past interactions. Whether they seek adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, offer recommendations that align with their aspirations.
  3. Local Insights: Incorporate narratives from travelers who have explored the destination. Real-life stories add authenticity and help potential travelers envision themselves embarking on similar journeys.
  4. Interactive Content: Create interactive elements such as quizzes, polls, or virtual tours that engage users and immerse them in the destination experience.
  5. Itinerary Ideas: Provide sample itineraries that highlight must-see attractions, activities, and dining experiences. Make it easy for travelers to envision their days unfolding.
  6. Cultural Immersion: Showcase unique cultural aspects, local traditions, and events that can be experienced. This fosters a sense of connection and authenticity.
  7. Countdown to Departure: Incorporate a countdown series that builds anticipation for the upcoming journey. Share pre-travel tips, packing guides, and weather insights.

4. Seasonal Promotions

Where travel is concerned, seasons don’t merely dictate weather changes – they wield the power to shape travel aspirations and booking behaviors. Seasonal promotions are the backbone of the travel industry, aligning offerings with travelers’ desires. Within the realm of drip campaigns, they emerge as a nuanced strategy to capture attention and entice exploration.
Seasonal Promotions with drip campaigns

The shifting seasons bring with them a rush of emotions and desires. As winter turns to spring and summer to autumn, so does travelers’ aspirations evolve from visiting Europe to going somewhere tropical. By capitalizing on these shifts, OTA firms can ride the currents of booking trends, transforming them into opportunities for engagement. Seasonal promotions acknowledge the temporal context, creating relevance that resonates deeply with potential travelers.

How to Tailor Promotions to Specific Seasons or Holidays:

The art of tailoring promotions to seasons and holidays involves a delicate balance of anticipation and timing. Anticipate the desires and preferences that characterize each season – whether it’s warm beach getaways for summer or cozy cabin retreats for winter. Infuse your promotions with offers that align with these desires, from family-friendly vacations during school breaks to romantic escapes for Valentine’s Day. The key lies in understanding the emotional undercurrents that shape travel decisions during these times.

Designing Drip Campaigns to Effectively Promote Seasonal Offers:

  1. Segmented Outreach: Segment your audience based on demographics, travel history, and preferences. This allows for targeted campaigns that resonate with each group’s specific interests.
  2. Teaser Campaigns: Begin with teaser emails that hint at upcoming seasonal promotions. Build anticipation and curiosity, enticing subscribers to await the unveiling of exclusive offers.
  3. Limited-Time Offers: Leverage the sense of urgency that accompanies seasonal promotions. Craft emails that emphasize limited-time availability, driving users to make timely decisions.
  4. Holiday Storytelling: Infuse your campaigns with thematic storytelling that encapsulates the essence of the season or holiday. Narratives that evoke emotions are more likely to leave a lasting impact.
  5. Visual Immersion: Utilize visuals that capture the spirit of the season – vibrant blooms in spring, warm colors in autumn, or festive decor during holidays.
  6. Value-Driven Messaging: Highlight the value proposition of your seasonal offerings. Whether it’s savings, exclusive experiences, or themed packages, articulate how the promotion enriches the traveler’s journey.
  7. Social Sharing: Encourage subscribers to share their travel plans and experiences related to the seasonal promotion on social media. This extends your campaign’s reach and fosters a sense of community.

5. Booking Confirmation and Details

Booking confirmations are more than transactional receipts—they start the traveler’s journey. Complete booking information guides them through anticipation, assurance, and preparation. Well-structured booking confirmation emails in drip campaigns are an art that improves the traveler’s experience.

Booking Confirmation and Details with drip campaigns
Source: Dribble

Importance of Providing Comprehensive Booking Information to Travelers:

The booking confirmation email is a physical link between a traveler’s dreams and their upcoming adventure. The detail in these emails is important. From dates and times to travel essentials and local insights, every piece of information crystallizes the traveler’s expectations and empowers them to navigate their journey with confidence.

A well-structured booking confirmation drip campaign is like building a dream into reality. This bridge is experiential, not functional. A seamless information flow creates a care and attention narrative. These emails allow travelers to retrace their steps and avoid uncertainties, as they can cause customer anxiety.

Elements to Include in Booking Confirmation Drip Emails:

  1. Essential Booking Details: Present clear and concise information about the booking – dates, destinations, accommodations, and travel partners.
  2. Travel Itinerary: Outline the complete travel itinerary, including flight details, transfer arrangements, and any pre-booked activities or tours.
  3. Local Insights: Infuse the email with local insights – recommended places to visit, authentic dining experiences, and cultural events happening during their stay.
  4. Contact Information: Provide contact details for customer support in case travelers have any questions or require assistance during their journey.
  5. Packing Tips: Offer practical suggestions on what to pack, considering the destination’s climate, local customs, and activities planned.
  6. Travel Documents: Remind travelers to have their necessary travel documents, such as passports, visas, and insurance, ready for a hassle-free experience.
  7. Emergency Contacts: Include emergency contact numbers or local embassy information, ensuring travelers are prepared for unforeseen situations.
  8. Special Requests: If travelers have made any special requests during booking, reiterate those requests to assure them of your attention to detail.

6. Post-Travel Feedback and Recommendations

Post-travel feedback helps refine processes so far. Feedback helps travelers understand what resonates and what can be improved. With this knowledge, personalizing recommendations is easy. The cycle of evolution continues with post-travel feedback and recommendation drip campaigns.

Post-trip feedback gives travelers an unfiltered view of their trip. It reveals positive and constructive insights that map their experiences. This information guides improvements and recalibrations to ensure future travelers have a frictionless trip. Data from feedback lets you make personalized recommendations that suit each traveler. This tailored approach turns generic suggestions into curated exploration paths.
Post-Travel Feedback and Recommendations

Crafting Post-Travel Feedback and Recommendation Drip Campaigns:

  1. Invitation to Share: Prompt travelers to share their post-travel feedback through a concise and inviting email. Keep the process streamlined and user-friendly.
  2. Acknowledgment: Thank travelers for sharing their insights, and highlighting the value of their input in shaping future experiences.
  3. Personalized Insights: Based on their feedback, offer personalized recommendations for their next journey. Whether it’s similar destinations or new experiences, align these recommendations with their expressed interests.
  4. Exclusive Offers: Introduce exclusive offers or discounts for their next booking, enhancing the appeal of acting on the recommendations.
  5. Continual Engagement: Extend the conversation by encouraging travelers to stay connected and informed about upcoming offerings through your newsletter or social media channels.

7. Loyalty and Reward Programs

OTA customer loyalty shows trust and affinity. Long-term value and meaningful engagement earn loyalty. The key to loyalty and reward programs is building commitment and giving travelers a sense of belonging and appreciation. Customer loyalty drives long-term retention, which transcends short-term gains. It’s a strategic investment in building a community of travelers who find value and home on your platform.
Abandoned Cart Recovery

Loyalty programs honor travelers’ journeys in addition to incentives. Rewards and member benefits show OTA firms appreciate loyal customers. Beyond tangible benefits, loyalty programs create a dynamic cycle of engagement that inspires travelers to explore further, benefiting both travelers and OTAs.

Strategies for Promoting Loyalty and Reward Programs Through Drip Campaigns:

  1. Exclusive Access: Introduce loyalty programs with drip campaigns that emphasize exclusive benefits and privileged access to special deals.
  2. Tier Progression: Notify members of their progress within loyalty tiers, hinting at upcoming rewards and motivating continued engagement.
  3. Personalized Offers: Craft drip emails that showcase personalized rewards, aligning with travelers’ preferences and booking history.
  4. Celebrate Milestones: Recognize member milestones, such as anniversaries or a certain number of bookings, with special offers that mark the journey’s progress.
  5. Referral Rewards: Encourage loyalty through referrals by offering rewards for successful referrals, and amplifying your community through word-of-mouth.
  6. Limited-Time Promotions: Launch time-sensitive loyalty campaigns through drip emails, encouraging members to seize immediate benefits.

8. Countdown to Travel

As the departure date approaches, travel excitement grows. Countdown drip campaigns cultivate anticipation, making waiting a worthwhile travel experience. These campaigns guide travelers through a prelude to the adventure, not just track time.
Countdown to Travel with drip campaigns

The waiting period is captured by countdown drip campaigns. They use anticipation to create a journey-like expectation. These campaigns make idle waiting fun, letting travelers experience the excitement before departure. They share travel advice and relevant information. Each email gives travelers useful information, like weather forecasts and packing tips. It’s a mix of enthusiasm and pragmatism that keeps travelers excited and prepared.

Examples of Effective Countdown to Travel Drip Campaigns:

  1. Paths of Discovery: A week-long countdown, each day featuring a different aspect of the destination – from cultural insights to lesser-known spots.
  2. Packing Prep Countdown: A series focusing on packing tips, essentials, and reminders to ensure travelers are well-equipped for their journey.
  3. Local Flavor Countdown: A countdown highlighting local cuisine, customs, and experiences, allowing travelers to look forward to authentic encounters.
  4. Adventure Countdown: A straightforward countdown playing on the excitement of adventure, featuring images of exciting activities.
  5. Playlist Countdown: A series of countdown emails with curated playlists for various travel moods, adding a sensory element to anticipation.
  6. Cultural Countdown: Emails dedicated to cultural insights, helping travelers gain a deeper understanding of the destination’s traditions and festivals.

9. Upselling and Cross-Selling

Upselling and cross-selling are more than revenue drivers—they offer travelers customized options to improve their trip. Upselling encourages travelers to upgrade, while cross-selling introduces complementary services that enhance their trip. These strategies address travelers’ diverse needs and preferences, adding value.
Upselling and Cross-Selling for drip campaigns

Travelers may not have considered additional services until drip campaigns. Airport transfers, guided tours, travel insurance, and spa packages enhance the travel experience. These drip campaigns show travelers all offerings, letting them plan the perfect trip.

Tips for Designing Persuasive Upselling and Cross-Selling Drip Campaigns:

  1. Relevance is Key: Tailor recommendations based on the traveler’s profile, preferences, and past interactions. Offer services that align with their journey.
  2. Add Value: Emphasize how the additional service can enhance their travel experience. Focus on benefits and the value it adds to their trip.
  3. Timely Placement: Introduce upselling and cross-selling suggestions at points when travelers are making relevant decisions, such as during booking confirmation or before the journey.
  4. Clear Communication: Clearly explain the features of the additional service, including any unique selling points that differentiate it.
  5. Limited Options: Present a curated selection of additional services to avoid overwhelming travelers with too many choices.
  6. Visual Appeal: Utilize visuals and descriptive language that vividly depict the benefits of the suggested service.
  7. Incentives: Offer special discounts or perks for selecting additional services through the drip campaign.

10. Re-engagement Campaigns

Maintaining customer interest in the ever-changing travel industry is difficult. Re-engagement campaigns reconnect inactive users. Beyond rekindling interest, these campaigns show a commitment to nurturing relationships and ensuring travelers find value in your offerings.
Re-engagement Campaigns

Daily responsibilities can make travel less appealing over time. Customer retention is about building relationships, not just transactions. The challenge is maintaining engagement after the initial spark ends. Re-engagement campaigns revive interest and remind travelers of the adventures ahead.

Strategies for Creating Successful Re-engagement Drip Campaigns:

  1. Personalized Outreach: Tailor re-engagement emails based on the traveler’s past interactions, preferences, and behaviors.
  2. Enticing Offers: Present exclusive offers, discounts, or access to unique content to reignite interest.
  3. Curiosity: Craft subject lines and content that evoke curiosity and encourage users to open the email.
  4. Value Reminders: Highlight the value proposition of your offerings and how they align with the traveler’s interests.
  5. Feedback and Surveys: Use surveys to understand why users disengage and gather insights for improvement.
  6. Content Variety: Offer diverse content formats, such as travel guides, destination highlights, or user stories, to engage different preferences.
  7. Gradual Escalation: Start with gentle reminders and gradually escalate the urgency to re-engage as the campaign progresses.

Concluding note: Drip campaigns for OTAs

In the complex world of OTAs, drip campaigns help engage, personalize, and build relationships. These campaigns are powerful tools that go beyond transactional communication across travel experiences.

Drip campaigns are traveler touchpoints, not just emails or notifications. These campaigns help build, strengthen, and evolve relationships in the ever-changing travel industry, where personalization and engagement are key. They create lasting dialogues from one-time transactions, creating a valuable and personalized journey.

To bring these strategies to life, consider WebEngage, the leading player in retention marketing. Book a demo today and discover how WebEngage can empower your OTA firm with smart drip campaigns that foster engagement, retention, and conversion. You can also read about how the OTA Thrillark increased user engagement by 60% with WebEngage. After all, in the landscape of travel, every touchpoint is a step towards building remarkable journeys.

Author

Founder, 

YOSO Media

Diksha Dwivedi comes with 9+ years of experience in creating content IPs. Her first startup AkkarBakkar garnered 150M+ pageviews in its lifetime. She’s now building YOSO Media – a storytelling partner for founders, for leaders, for startups.

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