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18 . 09 . 17

How mini magazines fuelled holiday sales

Words by: Print Power
Turning away from 'digital noise' saw the UK's largest independent travel group boost bookings

The power of print at a glance

  • The January mini-magazine mailing generated an 8.2% booking response rate, which was The Advantage Travel Partnership’s highest ever rate for a peak season campaign
  • The average revenue per branch increased by 18%
  • The January campaign also managed to reactivate members’ customers who hadn’t booked a holiday in more than a year

The Advantage Travel Partnership is the UK’s largest independent travel agent group. Members of the consortia are independently owned but as a collective produce over £3bn of travel sales each year. A core benefit of membership is the marketing support and communication programmes that The Advantage Travel Partnership provides to help independent agencies attract and retain customers and build their brand.

In 2016, Advantage Travel wanted to break away from the digital noise of the industry and test door drops as a sales driver for the industry’s ‘January peak’ and ‘June lates’ periods – both key booking windows for consortia members.  

Advantage’s starting point for the January peak door drop campaign was to analyse members’ customer bookings data and compile a postcode sector rankings report to determine postcodes to target.

As customers are usually local to a member’s shop, proximity was also factored into the analysis. Based on the insight that people like to read and do their own research when planning holidays, a magazine was chosen as the ideal door drop format.

Advantage produced a 24-page magazine that not only gave them the opportunity to inspire readers to take a holiday but also would be difficult to ignore on the doormat.

Breaking away from the traditional holiday brochure, Advantage took a more editorial approach to their magazine using inspiring content – such as making family getaways unforgettable – with offers fitted around it.

“We wanted it to be more editorial-led rather than offer-led, and we included lots of useful, inspiring content and images. For example we produced a page about making family getaways unforgettable, including holiday ideas, advice, plus family-orientated offers,” Carolyn Hardy, marketing manager, The Advantage Travel Partnership

The magazine also showcased the USPs of using an agent rather than the internet; focusing on agents’ knowledge, expertise and understanding of customers’ needs. For the ‘June lates campaign Advantage designed a 12-page holiday-offer booklet that focused the message of turning customers’ dreams into a reality, urging them not to delay booking a holiday.  

On the front cover of this emotive booklet were words “one day”crossed out and replaced with them with the words “day one”. “Booking a holiday is an emotive experience rather than a functional one, so we wanted to make our creative route something emotive, too.” Carolyn Hardy, marketing manager, The Advantage Travel Partnership

As well as tapping into the emotional experience of a holiday, the booklet provided key information and facts such as details about baggage allowances and relevant regional departures. Two versions of the booklet were created: one for the mass market and one for an upmarket audience, to ensure the members’ customers received holiday offers that were relevant to them. The booklet was door dropped to almost half-a-million prospect houses and posted to an additional 35,000 existing customers – all targeted because they needed a push to book again.

Source: Royal Mail Market Research