Return Path Offers Travel Industry Marketers New Email Performance Data and Strategic Guidance

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Report provides travel-specific email data and practical tips to help marketers reach their audience and drive results with email.

Email is a critical channel for travel companies, allowing them to deliver timely, relevant content to their globetrotting subscribers—wherever they might be. In fact, email was a contributing factor in more than 20 percent of the travel industry’s $190 billion revenue in 2017. But reaching the busy traveler requires marketers to implement the right strategy, execute effective campaigns, and follow best practices to ensure their messages arrive safely in the inbox. To help travel marketers make the most of the email channel, data solutions provider Return Path today released The Travel Company’s Guide to Email Marketing.

Following are a few of the report’s key insights:

  • Travel emails reach the inbox nearly 90 percent of the time. Compared to other industries, travel marketers are relatively successful in reaching the inbox. The average inbox placement rate for travel marketers is 89 percent, compared to an average of 86 percent for all industries. Despite this relatively strong performance, one out of every 10 travel emails is either bounced or lost to the spam folder—a huge missed opportunity for travel marketers.
  • Travel subscribers are a relatively engaged audience, which contributes to inbox placement. In recent years, major mailbox providers like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo have begun to consider subscriber engagement in determining whether email should be delivered to the inbox or sent to spam. This includes metrics such as read rate, complaint rate, and “deleted without reading” rate. Report findings show that the travel industry outperforms other industries in several key engagement metrics, including read rate (24.5 percent for travel versus 21.5 percent for all industries) and spam complaints (0.10 percent for travel versus 0.17 percent for all industries). These strong engagement metrics are undoubtedly a factor in the travel industry’s inbox placement success.
  • Travel marketers may be missing out on key opportunities to connect with subscribers. A full 75 percent of email sent by travel marketers is promotional. Unfortunately, promotions have the lowest read rate of any campaign type, and are frequently deleted without being read. Report findings demonstrate that several less common campaign types—like newsletters, birthday emails, and abandoned cart messages—outperform promotional emails in terms of subscriber engagement. These underutilized campaigns may represent an opportunity for travel marketers to form a deeper connection with their audience, by providing high value content without the constant sales pitch.

Additional travel-specific email data and insights can be found in The Travel Company’s Guide to Email Marketing, available for download here.

This study was conducted using global consumer data from the Return Path Data Cloud. Inbox placement, Gmail categories, Sender Score, engagement, and platform/device analysis is based on data collected between January 1 and December 31, 2017. Analysis of campaign type is based on data collected between July 22, 2017, and December 31, 2017.

About Return Path
Return Path analyzes the world’s largest collection of email data to show businesses how to stay connected to their audiences and strengthen their customer engagement. We help mailbox providers around the world deliver great user experiences and build trust in email by ensuring that wanted messages reach the inbox while spam doesn’t. To find out more about Return Path solutions, visit us at or request a demo.

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Shelby Pritchett
Finn Partners
+1 (313) 486-0664
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