Travel is one of the world’s largest industries, contributing over 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy. In 2016, around 1.2 million people travelled internationally, and revenue from global tourism reached $1.6 trillion.
The size of this potential market creates a positive outlook for Travel and a strong advantage for airports, but it also signifies heavy competition. This makes it more important than ever for those airports to find the most effective ways to retain existing customers and to attract new passengers, especially given the popularity of established comparison sites and the widespread consumer belief that direct booking is more expensive.
One of the biggest factors informing market forces is the absolute integration of mobile into all facets of life, from social to retail. 2.71 billion people worldwide now own a smartphone, and this figure continues to rise. According to Phocuswire, more travellers are using their smartphones to explore products and destinations, 37% shop for flights, and 18% book airline tickets using their mobile. In 2018, mobile cemented its lead over desktop, representing 63% of all Internet traffic in the U.S.
What’s more, the smartphone is the new ‘travel accessory of choice’. Google Consumer Insights 2018 reports that over 70% of U.S. travellers say they “always” use their mobile devices when travelling; a huge leap from the 41% in 2015. Customers most frequently use their mobile devices to research activities or attractions, to locate shopping areas and restaurants, or to look up directions.
According to TravelAgentCentral, 61% percent of U.S. travellers booked and paid for travel using their smartphone in 2018.
Mobile is a vital channel for email marketing, and this is where it’s possible to really lose points or gain traction.
In its 2016 Consumer Adoption & Usage Study, Adestra found that the most common problem with mobile email was poor formatting. The study found that even when content is excellent, if an email displays poorly on mobile it is likely to be deleted in under three seconds in around 70% of cases, and 15% of recipients will even unsubscribe, representing an 85% drop in potential customers via mobile.
Meanwhile, despite at least 50% of all emails being opened on a mobile device in 2018, the shift to mobile and away from desktop has actually made it more difficult to get people to engage with marketing content. Even with the rise of mobile, and the volume of destination research that takes place on smartphones, more people still currently complete their travel purchases on desktop, even when they’re already looking to buy. Even the mobile conversion rate from search (when a customer types in a particular product or brand name with direct intent) for Travel is still only 2.4% – below the average of 3.48%.
Building trust with partners and employees
Mobile is a big deal in B2B for airports too. Many people now conduct business exclusively on small screens, yet companies are still struggling to implement real ‘mobile first’ strategies. This affects more than UX or readability. Failure to prioritise mobile can damage revenue and hamper employee engagement.
Whether the marketing interaction is B2C or B2B, across the board the aim is for more people to read each email. Designing for mobile has become an essential skill to make sure your airport brand conveys excellence in communication and service, and continues to build and engage customers ahead of the competition.
The problem may seem big, but the answer is really simple. Airports must make sure that their email communications and marketing campaigns are mobile friendly.
An infographic by WSI, published by SocialMediaToday offers the following tips:
Get the reader’s attention
Your subject line should be concise, compelling and smart. Subject headings are often cut short on mobile devices as there’s less space to display them, so to make sure the recipient can see easily what the email is about, keep this to 40 characters or fewer.
Position the most important points at the top. Use subheadings and bullet points to highlight the most crucial information.
Use the tools
Use a responsive template. Rezcomm’s ecommerce solution for airports comes with a full suite of responsive email marketing templates that can be matched to your brand. The software has been developed by airports and is trusted by airports to bring tangible returns.
In design terms, single-column layouts that are no wider than 500 to 600 pixels work best on mobile devices. They are clean and easy to read, and if there is a problem with the layout the content will still be readable.
Responsive designs can include elements like progressive disclosure (where some elements of the content are hidden behind an interactive button or link and displayed on click-through), effectively turning the email into a compact, interactive table of contents.
Walk the reader through the email
The way the email looks is as important as the content. Include white space and make sure you think about the hierarchy of content as part of the design. Remember, scrolling is much harder on a touchscreen than it is with a mouse, so keep the message concise and the important design elements in the upper portion of the email.
Make it readable
Use larger fonts. Nobody wants to squint. Besides which, the minimum font size displayed on iPhones is 13 pixels. If you ignore this when styling text, anything smaller will be upscaled and may break your layout. This can be overridden in your style sheet, but this function is for advanced users only!
Consider hiding extraneous elements like social sharing buttons in your mobile layout too. The small screen can make these difficult to use.
Get your point across
Don’t forget to incorporate a strong, clearly visible call to action. To do this you must have a clear idea of what you want your reader to do. Give your CTAs prominent position within the layout. Apple guidelines indicate that links and buttons should have a minimum target area of 44 × 44 pixels. There is little more frustrating for a reader than a series of tiny links on a small screen.
Keep in mind too where the CTA is in the display. Is it immediately visible when the reader opens the email, or do they have to scroll to see it?
Don’t leave anyone out
Test your emails on multiple devices. While the majority of email opens are attributed to iPhones and other Apple tablets, figures are skewed because Android phones don’t automatically load images and register as an ‘open’. There are many types of mobile device with different screen sizes. Don’t miss out on conversion because of carelessness.
Optimise your images
Don’t use too many images, but use some strong pictures to break up text and add visual appeal. The infographic recommends shrinking images by 50%, compressing them to a slightly higher rate and including appropriate ALT text.
Links should lead customers to mobile-friendly pages or sites. It is self-defeating to design a marketing email for mobile if the website to which it links is no good on mobile. Optimise subscribe forms too. The idea is to make the whole process as easy as possible.
The mobile landscape is constantly changing and it’s important to keep up with expectations. The average mobile user picks up their phone around 80 times per day, and travellers are comfortable researching and exploring travel on their smartphones, comparing trips with friends via social media and using mobile apps throughout their journey.
By focusing on the device the customer already has in his or her hand, your airport can optimise relationships with loyal customers and build a strong base of new travellers. When you have no more anonymous passengers, your airport is strongly positioned ahead of the competition both in terms of customer service and revenue potential.
Rezcomm’s ecommerce solutions for airports include a full suite of email marketing tools, including responsive templates, campaign analytics and marketing support. To find out how we can help to deliver the mobile-first marketing your airport needs, contact the team today.