The spotlight has been on travel and hotel comparison sites of late, due to the CMA investigation on such sites (Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda etc.) supposedly using pressure tactics to mislead consumers on discount claims in addition to faulty commission and hidden charges. However, analysis from Mailjet has given these sites a positive outlook when it comes to campaign performance and data privacy compliance.
The research reviewed email campaigns sent by seven leading UK package holiday brokers including Skyscanner, Travel Super Market and DealChecker and scored the email campaigns according to a range of direct marketing metrics including personalisation, shoppability and brand alignment in addition to data privacy compliance.
According to findings, Expedia took first place in the rankings with a total score of 11.13 out of a total of 15.0 points available, closely followed by Skyscanner and IceLolly. Unlike key competitors in the holiday comparison space, Expedia succeeded through its personalisation and shoppability of direct marketing communications.
Expedia (1.75 out of 3.0) and Skyscanner (2.0 out of 3.0) both managed personalisation techniques in campaigns. Expedia used simple yet effective methods like adding the recipient's first name, while Skyscanner selected the departure airport based on the user’s browsing history.
Brands including Opodo, CheapFlights and DealChecker, however, only scored 1.0 out of 3.0 for personalisation, therefore missing the opportunity to allow customers to do any shopping within their emails. Brands also tended to fail when they offered third-party deals, such as a promotion on one particular airline. DealChecker especially lagged behind here, scoring a 1.38 out of 3.0 in shoppability, as there was often no direct link between the offer in their email and the third party landing page consumers found themselves on.
“It seems brands have responded conscientiously to the pressures of GDPR. We noted plenty of opportunities for consumers to rescind consent directly within the newsletter,” said Michyl Culos, head of marketing communications at Mailjet.
“Brands have shown that they can adapt their practices to new regulation and quickly, however they show less rigueur in doing the same with innovative email techniques. While safe from the watchdog, the scorecard suggests travel comparison sites are well behind in key marketing fields such as the shoppability of emails and personalisation.”