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The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Travel Advisors


There is no doubt that email promotion has been around for much longer than many other marketing methods we use today. With the evolution of online businesses, social media platforms, and mobile devices, many entrepreneurs are still confused as to how or when to use email marketing as a promotional tool for their business.

First and foremost, if you’re a travel advisor, you probably know how important it is to be able to reach your customers wherever they are. Reaching them may not necessarily mean just emailing them — it might mean utilizing all of the different marketing channels you have at your disposal.

Email is still king, but there’s no reason why it has to be the only way to communicate with clients and prospects. Keep in mind that email marketing is not the “end all be all” when it comes to marketing. You should always look at what works best for your business structure and focus on that — so if it’s social media, networking, consumer events, e-mail marketing, etc., stick to what works!! As a travel advisor, you should use e-mail marketing and newsletters as an additional tool in your marketing mix or marketing toolbox. It gets you in front of people who already want to hear from you since they probably opted-in to your marketing list to begin with, Plus, people typically pay more attention to catchy/exciting emails than they do about long, lengthy social media posts.

So, if you are one of those people that struggle with email marketing and want to learn how to build an incredible email marketing campaign, here are 8 tips to improve your email marketing strategy and get better results from your subscribers:



Build Your Pipelines


Your pipelines are used to drive traffic into your business. Once you have a pipeline, it’s very easy to build your database. You can start by building on your Sphere of Influence. Your sphere should always be your first few prospects within your database. Ask for email addresses of family and friends. You can reach out via text, call, or even on social media, but let them know why they are giving up their email address. Think about it, in today’s world, people feel that giving an email address is like giving up a social security number. They’re extremely skeptical because the last thing they want is to be bombarded with emails or even worse, sold to a large newsletter list!

Start with and create an opt-in form on your website and social media accounts. The best opt-in forms are easy to find and simple to use, and they’re usually in a very noticeable place on your website or social media account. For example, if you want people to sign up for your newsletter, put a signup box on your homepage or in another prominent location, such as the sidebar or footer.

Set up an autoresponder or drip campaign. You can use tools like MailChimp or ConstantContact to send automated messages all from one system. You can also create drip campaigns to welcome new prospects and drop them into your first lead funnel. This can help walk them through your sales process, create visibility for your brand, provide highlights of destinations, suppliers, and services, and a streamlined customer journey. Using an email marketing system also helps remove the headache of updating multiple lists as people subscribe/unsubscribe on different platforms (see the disclaimer below).

Start with a Clean Slate. Don’t send old emails or templates when launching a new campaign. If you can delete the non-active subscribers or at least categorize them as non-active from your list, and add only those who have recently signed up for more information about what you offer, you’ll see much more engagement!



Create Catchy Subject Lines


They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Well, the same isn’t true of email subject lines. Think about it. How many times have you opened up your email to 30 new spam messages that all start the same “Let me help you”, “Congratulations, you’ve won”, or maybe the usual “Can we set up a meeting?” These are awful. A boring subject line will absolutely fall flat and cause someone to throw your email right into the garage (or trash, as Outlook likes to call it).

A good subject line is short, impactful, and descriptive of what the reader can expect from the content inside. It helps you stand out from other emails in your client’s inbox. If you’re sending out emails with long, wordy subject lines, your email will get lost in the shuffle of all other emails that come in daily. A good rule of thumb is keeping the subject line between 4 and 10 words, depending on your platform. The shorter, the better! For example: “This Week’s Travel Deals!” or “Travel Tips for You!”

It’s great to pair the subject line with the preview text as well. The preview text is typically the first line of text that a client will read from the content of your marketing campaign. If you want to highlight “This Week’s Travel Deals” as the subject line, a great preview text would be something along the lines of “Book by DATE to receive $$ off SUPPLIER NAME.” The subject line’s job is to just get your client to open your email.

Having trouble? Think about everything you see while scrolling through social media. You know, titles like, “These are 10 gadgets every kitchen should have” — let’s face it, we probably don’t have those gadgets, and we don’t even need those gadgets, but the content creators do such a great job of hitting our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) emotions, that we need to find out what all of our friends have in their kitchens! The same is true for travel; how about something like, “The 10 Destinations You Need to Visit In Your 30s”, or maybe something more like “The Top 10 Things You Should Always Pack in Your Carry On”. No matter the subject, it needs to be something that people will WANT to open!




Make It Personal


If you’re sending an email to someone who’s been on a trip before, they’ll probably want to know if there are any new specials they can book through the company they’ve used before (and hopefully with the same agent). If they haven’t traveled in years but are interested in something new and exciting, they might want to know what kind of deals are available right now—and maybe even get one month free! Use your analytics data to find out what kind of language people use when searching for something like this so you can tailor your emails to their needs.

If you are using a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), it also helps to tag your clients appropriately. Some travel advisors create marketing codes or tags to segment their database. By tagging your clients, you can easily target the right client based on the marketing initiative you are about to launch. Some popular tags are—

•Cruise Line Name
•Luxury, Moderate, Budget
•Family, Adult Only
•All Inclusive
•Boutique Hotel, Resort Style Hotel, Chain Hotel
•Airline Name


Marketing codes do not have to be specifically based on what your clients have already done or experienced, but rather on the trips they would like to take. So, if your client reaches out and expresses how much they would love to take a River Cruise with their family in the next 5 years, it would be smart to tag them as a “River Cruise” client, so you can start marketing to them appropriately!




It’s All About the Engagement!


It’s time to get creative. Images, gifs, and videos are essential to your travel advisor’s email marketing strategy. They can make your emails more engaging, help you express your brand’s personality, and improve clickthrough rates! In today’s world, no one cares that you have 30,000 subscribers or 200 subscribers. While 30,000 subscribers mean POTENTIAL for more business, it doesn’t work that way if only 10 people are actively engaging with your marketing efforts. On the other hand, if you have 200 engaged subscribers who all read your newsletter and book with you each year, then you have a much more viable book of business — it’s all about engagement!

Take advantage of responsive designs. If you have an image that looks great on a desktop but looks terrible on mobile, you’ll lose leads who might have clicked through if they’d seen it properly. Make sure your images look good everywhere!

Be consistent with your branding elements. If you use unique fonts or colors in your emails, but they don’t match what’s on your website or other branded materials, you risk confusing customers about who you are and what you want from them — and those confused customers will probably never come back again!

Use images and social media icons for Calls-to-Action (CTAs) that aren’t just links — buttons work too! When someone clicks on a link, they’re taken to a new page where they can do whatever action the link took them there to do — like buying something or reading more information about your travel packages, services, and destinations. When sending out newsletters or other promotional materials, include social media buttons where possible so readers can share the information with their friends and followers on those platforms if they think others might benefit from it.



Clear Calls-to-Action (CTA)


A call-to-action should be included in EVERY email. This is how travel advisors can maximize their engagement by asking customers to take action, like contacting you, browsing your website, or subscribing for more information about your travel agency! This helps keep your travel business top-of-mind with consumers and increases your chances of closing bookings when they’re ready for their next vacation.

Every image, button, and link should be a call to action. You can typically hyperlink different parts of your email marketing campaign to direct your client exactly where you need/want them to go. Before setting random calls to action, you should have an idea of what you want your clients to do based on your marketing goals. Is it general brand visibility, education, or reconnection, or are you promoting a special event, promotion, or deal? Whatever the case may be, you need to know your “why” before just creating a randomized campaign.



Use The Right Content


This is crucial. I would even venture to say that it is the most important thing that you have to do when creating an email campaign. As you source your information, you have to ensure that it’s relevant, interesting, and engaging enough for your clients to open it and read it. If you don’t have good content, then you don’t have anything!

As mentioned above, make sure you know your “why” before you start creating your content. When it comes to marketing, you should always be intentional, not reactionary. Sometimes, if you’re having trouble about the content that will work with your audience, you can create different types of content and test each one until you find out which works best for your target audience.





Offer Something


We know how hard you work for your clients and understand how difficult it is to just give things away for free. That being said, there are plenty of ways to secure more engagement, a bigger following, and even a few extra bookings.

Let’s dive in.

When it comes to offering things to clients, it doesn’t always have to cost an arm-and-a-leg, but it should be something that specifically targets the clients you’re looking to reach. How cool would it be as a luxury client that you just opened up a newsletter from your incredible travel advisor (yes, you!) and found out they were giving a new TUMI, or AWAY luggage set just by signing up for their newsletter?

OK, too expensive? No problem! Have you ever offered your clients a packing list with their travel documents? How about a Travel Guide focused on the destination they’re thinking about heading to? No, ok. Have you ever been browsing Amazon and found those perfect luggage tags or even an Apple Airtag so clients can easily find their luggage when they get to their destination? These things range from $FREE.99 to about $30.

People LOVE to win things!! Creating an offer is a great call to action for clients to engage with your newsletter. The more you can relate your offer to the content that you provide in your email campaign, the better. Make sure the offer is relevant to the target audience you are focused on. Don’t try to offer an African Safari promotion in a cruise-focused marketing campaign.

Want some additional bookings rather than just random sign-ups? Another great offer is a $$ onboard credit for a future cruise booking or $$ gift card for a future land vacation. If you have trouble thinking outside the box or formulating a good incentive, reach out to your preferred suppliers! Many suppliers will partner with you to create an agency-exclusive offer that you can provide to your clients. Be sure to leverage any consortia promos as well. This not only creates a booking advantage, but it makes you look like a rockstar!




Create Urgency and Check Analytics


Let’s face it, people are busy. Most people only have so much time in the day, so it’s your job to make sure your email marketing campaign stands out by telling your audience exactly why it matters that they open up your email RIGHT NOW instead of later on down the line. You can also create a sense of urgency in the content of your email itself. If you’re offering something for free, tell them there are only so many of them available — or if you’re offering discounted rates or special packages, let them know that they need to take advantage by a certain date or deadline otherwise, prices will go back up or availability may run out. You also need to make it easy for them to act. As I mentioned, people are busy. No one is going to spend time clicking through 5 different websites, or tracking down a particular form that you want them to fill out. You need to make your call-to-action as simple as possible and point them directly where you need them to go — urgency just helps get them there a little bit quicker!

After sending your campaigns, make sure to ALWAYS go back and review your analytics. Are your subject lines getting people to open the email, is the content engaging enough to keep them interested, and is the offer or call-to-action getting them to reach out to you for more information? Find out where in the marketing cycle you’re losing your audience, and also be sure to check out what has been working the best.

Having a solid email marketing program will only help to grow your business. Having a great following of potential clients that see the services, products, and/or deals you provide will make it much easier to get more engagement and more clients from your list than from any other marketing strategy.


Disclaimer: Please be aware of marketing rules and laws. One very important law is the CAN-SPAM Act. If you are unfamiliar with this law, please be sure to read more about it and how to properly utilize commercial emails before just sending out your first email blast. Many email marketing programs (such as MailChimp) adhere to those laws as best as possible, but as a business owner, you should make sure you know laws affecting your business!




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Steven Gould

Steven Gould

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