Generating Off-Season Business Among Top Concerns for Travel and Tourism Industry, According to Constant Contact Survey

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As the summer of 2007 gives way to fall, travel and tourism businesses are turning to email marketing to generate business in the off-season. According to Constant Contact's 2007 Travel and Tourism Outlook, small travel and tourism businesses list their top challenges as: finding new customers (42 percent), generating business in the off-season (27 percent), and filling rooms/seats (13 percent). Of those businesses surveyed, 47 percent identified email marketing as the most effective way to address these challenges and market their businesses. Constant Contact(R), Inc is a leading provider of email marketing and online survey tools for small organizations.

Today, we use email marketing to generate business and have seen amazing returns as a result. Constant Contact has helped us get our word out and save money.

    Peak Season Relationships Drive Off-Season Bookings

While 87 percent of survey respondents noted that summer reservations met or exceeded last year's levels, nearly 30 percent said they feel pressure to keep business flowing during the off-season, typically between early fall and late spring.

Peak seasons provide travel and tourism businesses a strong opportunity to build relationships with their customers. These relationships may prove to be valuable during the off-season. In fact, 33 percent of surveyed businesses said that driving repeat visitors is a major benefit of email marketing.

"This year's survey results show that small travel and tourism businesses not only recognize the value of building relationships with customers using tools like email marketing and online surveys, but are adopting them in increasing numbers," said Eric Groves, SVP of Sales and Business Development, Constant Contact. "The results highlight the power of email marketing in generating off-season business for the travel industry, and other small businesses will likely see the same positive impact during slow sales periods."

Small Businesses Gain Confidence in Email Marketing

Travel and tourism businesses promote their companies in a variety of ways including email marketing, direct mail, and online, radio, and print advertising. According to the Constant Contact survey, the majority of respondents noted that email marketing leads to greater results and provides additional benefits versus other marketing methods. Nearly half of survey respondents (46 percent) said reducing the dependency on print marketing is a major benefit of email marketing.

"We've used a variety of marketing techniques to get the word out about our business over the years, including expensive direct mail campaigns and trade shows," said Bob Schwartz, Assistant Director of Marketing and Sales, Boston Duck Tours. "Today, we use email marketing to generate business and have seen amazing returns as a result. Constant Contact has helped us get our word out and save money."

Email marketing also makes it easier to use a wider variety of marketing tools to reach prospects and customers. In fact, 83 percent of survey respondents use email marketing to create and distribute newsletters - an increase of 23 percent over last year. Other types of email communications frequently sent by travel and tourism businesses include promotions (67 percent), event invitations and calendars (56 percent), seasonal offers and last minute specials (43 percent, respectively), as well as several other methods.

As email marketing continues to gain acceptance among consumers, more small businesses are requesting email addresses from customers. Fifty-seven percent of small travel and tourism businesses surveyed say they now have email addresses for at least half or more of their customers.

Sample questions and results from Constant Contact's 2007 Travel & Tourism Outlook survey include the following:

             What is your greatest business challenge?

         Which method is the most effective for your business?

     What have been the major benefits of email marketing for your travel and tourism business?

Please estimate the percentage of your customers for whom you have email addresses

             Which best describes your summer bookings?

Click here for PDF of full survey results.

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Amanda Kozinn
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