9 Guidelines for Writing Incredible Email Newsletters for Your Tourism Business

This article forms part of a monthly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every month.


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If you’re a tourism business and aren’t already sending out newsletters, I’m here to enlighten you on why you need to incorporate email newsletters into your next content marketing strategy…

Many will have you believe that the world of email newsletter marketing is dead. However, email newsletters when done correctly are crucial to amplifying your brand presence as a tourism business.

What is an Email Newsletter?


Simply put, an email newsletter is a type of email used in your marketing campaign to provide your audience with important updates, offerings, and news that’s relevant to your business, whether that be a health retreat, safari tour or luxury hotel.


Many people make the mistake of using this medium as a means to solely promote their price offerings, a big no-no in my opinion (but I’ll talk more on that later below).


Why Do Newsletters Matter?


Because beautifully formed newsletters create engaged audiences and create meaningful relationships. They also help to widen your scope, enhancing your ability to reach more of your target audience through subscriptions.

You can really establish yourself as the authority in your travel niche, building true credibility and gaining the trust of your target audience.


Worried About Already Unengaged Contacts?


Fear not, email newsletters with enticing subject lines are also a way to retain and rejuvenate portions of your audience should they fall off at any point.

Believe me, I’m always noticing old email contacts pop up after months, and even years after blanking other marketing emails – it just takes a little creativity and persuasion.

You can’t please everyone, but variety is the spice of life when it comes to the amount of topics you can cover in an email newsletter strategy so more often than not, they’ll be something for every traveller to relate to.

Think of your newsletter as an inspirational, relationship nurturing machine – educating your ideal audience on the kinds of once in a lifetime experiences they could have with your tour offerings.

Let’s Talk Numbers


Did you know the average email open rate across the travel industry is 20.4%, with the average click through rate (CTR) being 2.25%?

Now, although measuring by open rates in my opinion is a little old hack now due to the Apple privacy update, using those statistics, you can still make the assumption that approximately you’ll receive 2 site visits per 100 emails.

If that seems a little bleak, don’t worry, there are ways to raise that conversion rate…

In this article I’m going to teach you how to craft the most engaging email newsletters, with practical 9 easy-to-follow guidelines to help convert your audience into booking guests.

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9 Guidelines for Creating Email Newsletters That Actually Inspire Travellers to Book

1. Keep it Simple and Focused

Don’t waffle or ramble, few people want to read emails that are over 500 words long. At times it may be necessary to go over, but try to keep your content easily digestible. It’s not just websites that require excellent UX (user experience) It’s emails too!

It’s not about using complicated fancy words. Speak to your audience as you would in person, in a natural, easy to understand tone.

Do you want to share new green initiatives you’re pursuing in your tourism business? Or perhaps you want to show what’s going on in the local area this month?

Stick to one topic, and if you have to add additional topics, mention them briefly after the main body of the email.


In terms of design

A lot of companies will send out flashy magazine type newsletters, but I actually recommend the simpler the better, with a banner image if relevant.

My main reason for telling clients this is that when your email newsletter is full to the brim with images and flashy fonts, it’s actually a distraction from the content itself, and comes off ‘salesy’.

However, there’s no harm in experimenting with some creative designs and comparing click through rates for yourself. Sometimes, if it’s relevant, I add in a video to spice up the content and allow my clients’ audience to engage more.

2. Stay Catchy


How will your audience know how incredibly inspiring your tourism business is without a snappy subject line to catch their attention. We get flooded with marketing emails every single day, how many of them do you actually open?

If you’re anything like me, I only open the most eye-catching subject lines and trash the rest. A punchy headline that sparks curiosity in your audience is the way to go!


A great example is a recent marketing email I sent that produced a 46% open rate, which is pretty insane for such a large email list.

The subject line that drove this result was “Start a conversation this way…”

3. Show, don’t tell


The email marketing I find most effective is the type that doesn’t ‘sell’ to its readers. Clients I work with get much more engagement and conversion from email newsletters that are more about inspiring their potential guests, not focusing on prices they can offer.

As I mentioned earlier, no one wants to be bombarded with sales content, because to be frank, it’s boring and rarely differentiates from the hundreds of emails your audience will already be receiving.

Instead use emotive language to create and show the whole story, detailing the experience that your destination can offer. 


4. Personalise as much as possible


Personalisation is essential to all email marketing these days, so if you’re not already on board – hop on fast.

For example, did you know that personalised emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates?

The easiest way is to use their name where possible. In my experience, even just using this tactic alone will help your open rates surge. And, according to research emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. If you’re using Hubspot, Active campaign or any other email automation software, personalisation tokens such as %FIRSTNAME%” are your best friends.

You can use these for a whole host of personalisation tags, including the answers your potential customers have used in their intake surveys.

You can even segment your contact list into categories, so certain demographics get specific email content.

5. Include a Tour Booking Link in The First And Last Paragraph of Your Email Newsletter


I find this really effective for gauging how engaged your audience is with your newsletters.

As I mentioned earlier, I find open rates useful but I also take them with a pinch of salt due to the Apple privacy update skewing the data. However, I do pay close attention to who’s clicking, and how much of my audience are clicking the links I include.

If one contact is always clicking on your tour link, perhaps you should reach out to them and offer them some guidance?


Need further proof why CTA rates are important?

They reveal how people respond to the content of your email newsletter. If few subscribers are taking an action, you should consider;

  • Is it badly designed?
  • Is the copy poorly written?
  • Does it take too long to get to the point?
  • Does it try to cover too many topics?
  • Are the calls to action unclear or just uninteresting?
  • Is the subject matter boring?

Being able to measure and analyse this key metric will allow you to make more effective content marketing decisions in the future.

6. Ask questions


Make it less about ‘you’ and more about your audience. Ask questions to encourage engagement, and identify their needs and pain points so you can tailor content to address their anxieties for next time.

I always like to end my clients’ email newsletters with a fun question, asking where they want to visit next on their bucket list, or what animal they’d love to see on safari.


7. Do the ‘We’ Check


No one wants to feel they’re just a number, and it pains me to see newsletters sent by tour operators with plenty of “We do this”, “We do that”. Instead, use an avatar of one person in your team, speak as if you’re talking directly to that one reader, and write about them, not you.

This will help build trust and kickstart a meaningful relationship.


8. Optimise for Mobile


Did you know that mobiles account for up to 78% of email opens, so it’s a given that you should be optimising your email newsletters for mobile devices. Responsive email templates make this a lot easier so you can simply go back and edit the same template you know works each time.


Here are two key points to consider when optimising your email newsletters for mobile;


  • Subject line and preview text: you’ve got much less space to say what you want to say, so use it wisely. A good character count to aim for is about 30 characters.


  • Break up text: don’t create huge blocks of writing. Use spacing to your advantage, the more of it the better in my opinion. You want your email newsletter to be easily digestible on all platforms, but especially mobile.

9. Clear CTA’s (Call-to-actions)


Directing your subscribers to easily found action is key in boosting your engagement rates. Using CTA buttons at the end of your email is an effective way to easily direct them.


Here are a couple of things to consider when designing and placing your CTA button:


  • Size: catch the reader’s eye in a way hyperlinks can’t
  • Design: make it stand out by adding gradients, shadows and other effects
  • White space: allows for readers to spot your CTA with no distractions

Colour: colour doesn’t just help a CTA to pop, colour psychology can play a key role in evoking an emotion and reaction from a subscriber

Did you enjoy reading the above?

The 10xpress is a monthly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you

Every month, I provide you with:

  • Reports, opinion, case studies, and key findings that directly impact the tours and activities sector.
  • Educational articles to guide you through the changing world of online sales and marketing from industry leaders.
  • Tips and tools on how to improve your tour operator business, generate more sales and make your life easier.
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