It’s not news to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past year that the global COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on a number of industries. And it should come as no surprise that travel and tourism has been hit harder than most. With borders closing, new restrictions being put into place, and the rise of new safety concerns around the travel experience, brands that have built their business on booking things like flights, hotels, and activities have seen their numbers drop precipitously as a large percentage of the world’s population hunkers down in the interest of stopping the spread.
Travel platform GetYourGuide was one such impacted business. With 60,000 bookable activities on their platform and over 43,000,000 tickets sold, the company started 2020 on a positive trajectory, but soon saw numbers drop some 99% due to the rising tide of the pandemic. Faced with this reality, they needed to pivot in order to stay top of mind and provide continued value to a customer base that found itself stuck at home. Realizing that relying solely on emails and push notifications promoting in-app activity purchases wouldn’t suit the new normal, GetYourGuide wanted to fully showcase what it had to offer beyond the marketplace.
For Best Messaging Results, Mix Well and Add Personalization
To achieve this goal, GetYourGuide knew it had to take advantage of the various strengths of each individual messaging channel. Push notifications and email, for example, are great at getting the message out to users who might not be currently engaged with a brand’s online presence. In-app messages (IAM), on the other hand, grabs the attention of customers when they are already interacting, meaning they’re primed to respond. Coupled with Content Cards, which provide a flexible, persistent platform for pertinent information and updates, IAMs can deliver rich, customized experiences toward a variety of promotional ends.
All of these channels can take advantage of, and benefit from, dynamic personalization. By collecting data on customer preferences and behavior, a brand can both segment its audience into targetable groups and provide up-to-date, individually-tailored messages that honor a user’s specific needs. In this way, savvy marketing teams can move from generic outreach that’s less likely to land toward the kinds of personalized content that McKinsey research indicates can lift revenues by 10-30%.
GetYourGuide Brings Activities Home With Cross-Channel Messaging
To highlight its adaptation to shifting customer needs during the pandemic, GetYourGuide concocted a messaging mix that made sure they reached their audience where they were. Email and push notifications made sure that users were aware of promotions and important information if and when travel became possible again. IAMs ensured travelers would engage with the company’s mobile app mid-trip, while the flexibility of Content Cards allowed the brand to promote and provide new types of content like online cooking, yoga, and dance classes. Coupled with a concerted dynamic personalization effort that yielded custom-tailored itineraries, this multi-pronged approach demonstrated GetYourGuide’s ability to speak to their customers in the most relevant, timely, and accessible way about the value the service had to offer in a time of transition.
Tactically, GetYourGuide switched from conversational-focused communication to inspirational campaigns to stay-top-of-mind. Some of their most successful campaigns included:
- 'The World at Home' campaign
- A travel quiz to (remotely) have fun with friends
- Coloring books for kids
Not only did they engage with existing subscribers, but it helped them generate new leads (both organic and paid).
It’s a testament to the potency of this type of effort that the audience responded, especially in a time when overall customer engagement with travel services was in massive decline. At a basic level, GetYourGuide noted a 45% open rate for action-based messages, but what makes that level of engagement more noteworthy is how much it bucked industry trends. While email unique click rates for the online travel service industry as a whole saw a steep drop starting in January of 2020, GetYourGuide’s rates more than doubled from March to May, demonstrating their ability both to stay relevant to their audience and to communicate that relevance in a way that triggered engagement.
"The COVID-19 pandemic was an earthquake for the travel industry,” said Krzysztof Szymanski, CRM Lead, GetYourGuide. “No one could be prepared for that. We had to constantly shift focus from being more conversion-oriented to pure inspirational content delivery and lead generation activities through a delicate push to explore your backyard and experience what your region has to offer to another lockdown wave. Relevant communication with our customers became more crucial than ever. We continuously try to stay in customers' consideration set. I'm happy that in these difficult times we have a CRM tool we can rely on. All our initiatives, tests, and iterations could be launched super quickly. We use the full set of four CRM channels to maximize our reach and ensure the highest relevance for our audience.”
When the context of one’s business changes, the ability to adapt and keep the customer relationship productive is important. Equally important, however, is communicating that agility and evolution to an audience that may be unaware or uncertain of it. GetYourGuide’s cross-channel approach showcased its understanding of these concepts, and helped the company navigate a truly rocky period effectively.
For more on how well-executed diversification in messaging can make a difference, check out The Cross Channel Difference and find out how this methodology can help increase engagement more than 800%.