Black Friday is an annual milestone in the retail calendar. It falls the day after American Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and marks the start of the holiday shopping season.
It has been a busy shopping day for decades, long before the name was coined. U.S. consumers would often take the day after Thanksgiving off work to give themselves a four-day weekend. The volume of shoppers this created was known to cause traffic accidents and even violence, hence the name ‘Black Friday’.
However, the story goes that while retailers hated the rather depressing implications of the name, they decided to turn it to their advantage. After all, the day was a good opportunity to lift sales figures from the red into the black. While this explanation may be a fairytale, Black Friday is now promoted as a positive occasion for which retailers heavily promote their products and services by marking down prices. What began as a one-day event is now a four or five-day shopping bonanza, ending for retailers on Cyber Monday (the Monday following Black Friday) with sales catered to online buyers, and for Travel marketers, on Travel Deal Tuesday.
Prices are marked down for the four-day weekend, with some retailers offering different Black Friday deals for each day. Deals may focus on in-store purchases or be online exclusives. The beauty of it is, there’s no set formula. It’s possible to set deals in such a way that attracts the most customers.
Where customers used to storm the shops, this five day shopping binge is now dominated by online buyers. In 2018, Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in revenue, representing a 23.6% increase YoY, and Cyber Monday sales hit $7.9 billion, making it the biggest online shopping day of all time in the U.S.
For the Travel industry, the Tuesday after Cyber Monday hits the sweet spot between holidays when people are likely to book their winter travel. Research from Travel app Hopper suggests that because many travellers book their trip over the four-day weekend, the deals available between 6.30 and 9.30am on that Tuesday are actually better.
The consumer engagement in online deals, alongside other factors, makes Black Friday a fantastic time for your airport to sell flights and other services. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness of routes and direct booking features at the same time as rewarding loyal customers with really good deals.
Black Friday 2019 is on Friday November 29th.
When you set up your Black Friday Automated emails in your Rezcomm dashboard, think carefully about the subject line. Around 269 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2017, and each Black Friday deal that lands in your customer’s inbox potentially pushes your email into oblivion. Keep your email subject heading really clear and to the point. Introduce an in-terminal discount with a concise, attention-grabbing subject line like ‘Black Fly Day Offers’.
According to Omnisend, cart abandonment emails are more profitable during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend. In 2017, research showed cart recovery was more successful across these few days than during the rest of the year, with an open rate of 34% and a click-through rate of 9%. And 2.13% of all cart abandonment emails opened resulted in a purchase. In 2018 the figures were even better. While open rate dropped from 37.69% to 34%, mainly due to the sheer volume of emails received, click-through rate jumped from 7.62% in 2017 to 9% in 2018, and order rate increased from 1.65% to 2.13%.
Remember: Your customers have a lot of time-sensitive deals to look at. A well-timed recovery email can be the secret to closing that conversion!
There are two possible approaches when it comes to email marketing – contacting existing customers with special VIP discounts and promoting to potential customers or prospects.
Remember, under GDPR you need to have a customer’s explicit permission to send marketing emails, so don’t just assume that someone wants to hear from you because they’ve bought one of your airport products or services in the past. However, when you do have permissions, it’s worth understanding that someone who has bought from you in the past is more likely to buy again, and a customer who has bought a low value, lower risk service such as parking and had a good experience with your airport is absolutely poised to buy their flight from you.
Make sure that any specific products you promote are easily clickable either to the product page or a dedicated landing page so that passengers can buy as easily as possible, and incentivise click-through with clear information about how big the discount is, for example, ‘30% off mid-stay parking if you book today.’
You may also want to roll some of these discounts out across social media during the weekend and advertise them across social platforms in the run up to Black Friday to draw new subscribers to your email campaigns.
When Socialmediaexaminer asked marketers to select the single most important content for their business, 32% chose visual images. Studies have also found that people retain 65% of information after three days when it’s paired with a relevant image as opposed to 10% when there’s no image. And video, with its potential for storytelling and emotional tags, is even more powerful.
Consider creating a gif or video of the products or services that will be on sale. Make sure to let people know there will be a promotion in order to build anticipation and excitement about your Black Friday deals. If budget is an issue, remember, video doesn’t need sound in order to be effective.
Promote your ‘sneak peek’ image and video content on your social media accounts in order to engage customers and prospects before the weekend. This will ensure that customers are waiting and ready to buy when you launch your discounts.
Everyone loves a freebie, and offering a free gift to passengers travelling over Black Friday weekend is a great way to reward their loyalty and make them feel a bit special. Airports have the advantage of a captive on-site audience, so you could offer customers the chance to pick up a goodie-bag in the terminal or receive a free gift with a purchase from one of your on-site concessions.
You could offer a free drink with a minimum spend (a free coffee when you spend £4 or more at our café) at one of your food and beverage outlets, or a small travel-relevant item from one of your retail stores. Feature this free gift in your marketing messaging to ensure visibility.
Customers who book online over the Black Friday weekend can be offered ongoing perks such as ‘10% off next time you book’. This rewards their loyalty at the same time as giving them an incentive to book with you next time too.
If your destinations and flight search page is where your website accrues the most traffic, it might be an idea to run an hourly deal in order to promote several different destinations. These could be new routes or those with a low load factor.
Create a homepage banner for each new deal and don’t forget to offer Black Friday promotions on your ancillary products too. For example, you might offer 30% off a flight booking as your ‘deal of the hour’ and 20% off parking at the same time.
This shouldn’t be a labour-intensive process. You can schedule different discounts in your Rezcomm dashboard in preparation for Black Friday so everything runs smoothly. You can also automate social media posts to publish at the relevant times throughout the day.
With any high value campaign it’s important to have a clear idea what needs to be done and by when. This means you’ll need to prepare a content calendar. You can download free customisable calendars from websites like Hubspot. Make sure to include the following:
Advertisers spend more than usual in the run up to Black Friday and over the long weekend. If you plan to advertise on social media, it’s worth running an advert that begins several days before that Friday. This gives the ad enough time to optimise for conversions and gives you the chance to tweak details such as content and target audience.
But spending more money is not the only way to get noticed by potential customers. Many people are more likely to buy from a company that has been recommended to them by someone they trust. Social media is the perfect platform to use your loyal customers as brand advocates. Offering incentives for shares and recommendations can help build your reach without the extra spend, and is another way to let your existing customers know how valued they are.
Since you’re marketing to consumers who are beginning their Christmas shopping, it might be worth producing a gift guide. This could essentially be a shop window for your duty free and retail concessions to share products and special offers. Create collections, blog about exciting or relevant products and create a buzz around new lines and Black Friday discounts.
Remember, the passengers in your airport terminal present the perfect captive audience, so messages letting them know about discounted luxury gifts they can buy for friends and family might just create sales. Provide a pick-up service so that people can collect their purchases on the way home.
To get more traffic for these gift guides, feature them in social media posts and on busy pages on your website such as the home and destinations pages. You can also send the guides to customers on your mailing list via email and even include special VIP offers for subscribers. Use these to drive mailing list sign-up.
Don’t forget to take advantage of Black Friday hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. Including tags such as #blackfriday2019, #blackfriday, #sale #cybermonday, #traveldealtuesday and #blackfridaydeals will help you to reach customers who are specifically looking for the best deal.
Use these alongside your regular travel and flight booking hashtags.
Now we’ve looked at some marketing ideas for Black Friday, let’s just see how easy it is to apply them to your airport’s products and services.
As we mentioned earlier on, your customers are likely to be overwhelmed with marketing emails, so the subject line really is vital. Consider automating a Black Friday themed email series in which you give your best customers top priority.
The sequence could run something like this:
Make sure too that your Black Friday offers really do have something for everyone. As well as discounts on car parking and lounge time, consider special offers in retail and food and beverage concessions. Promotions like ‘10% off your total bill in our champagne bar’ add a real touch of luxury to the customer experience.
Even though Black Friday is a massive retail event, or maybe because it’s so huge, it’s still really important to personalise marketing emails. The customer expects to be addressed by name, but personalisation also stretches to analysing customer demographic and buying behaviour. Customer profiling data allows you to build dynamic content blocks so different customers will see different offers and promotions specific to the type of product that interests them. Marketing emails that promote relevant products are always more welcome than generic campaigns.
Think about how the imagery and design in your email will impact on the customer. A simple monochrome design is in keeping with the Black Friday message, or you might want to use semi-flat design or strong images to make it clear which products and services are available.
Make sure it’s really obvious from your message how much discount the customer is receiving and how much they will pay. The majority of cart abandonments come from hidden costs once the customer has already begun the booking or buying process.
Make it clear when the offer runs out. You can state this by saying something like, ‘Offer ends 23.59 tonight,’ and reinforce it by sending a sequence of messages to let people know the clock is ticking.
Use very clear calls to action. A CTA button with the text ‘book now’ that clicks through to an intuitive, easy, secure, brand-matched checkout is ideal. The smaller the number of steps to purchase, the more likely it is that the customer will complete the conversion.
Use simple but engaging language. Introducing the email with a statement like, ‘Black Friday deals have landed,’ is a neat way to convey both the content and context of the messaging.
Rezcomm’s world-first combined omnichannel platform for airport sales, marketing and customer-centric analytics can help you build your airport brand long-term. We already partner with airports that serve a quarter of a billion passengers worldwide and are experts in airport marketing. If you want to reach customers across channels and grow conversion and revenue with seasonal campaigns, contact us for a chat today.