Pass sales are more important for revenue than ever before, which means you should probably be approaching these efforts a little more aggressively than you were a decade ago.
We’ve outlined four tactics, based on Inntopia’s decades of pass sale data, to keep in mind as you plan your fall pass sale strategy.
Dedicated Campaigns for Key Pass Perks
A few years ago, we dug deep into the numbers behind the performance of various email templates. One of the charts we shared at the time illustrated that click rates went up as you added links to a campaign. The result is sometimes interpreted as a reason to create long, all-inclusive campaigns that link to as many things as possible.
But when we looked at the clicks-per-link in this data set, we realized that while total clicks go up, the number of times any one link is clicked drops significantly.
Give Key Selling Points Their Own Campaign
Every pass promotion has 2-3 key selling points. Maybe those come in the form of upgrades during the summer or perks reserved exclusively for passholders or pre-deadline discounts. Whatever the case, give each of these perks a dedicated campaign so they don’t get lost in the overall “buy your pass now” message.
Your click rates may drop a little vs. the old aggregated average, but your total click volume will increase, and the right clicks and attention will be concentrated on the right messages and promotions.
Send Multiple Deadline Emails
Another data set that is often read one-dimensionally relates to season pass deadlines. Deadlines are powerful things, and they drive the majority of season pass revenue into a very compressed window of time. With timing so critical, we looked at the open and click rates of season pass emails relative to the deadline they were promoting.
The question we sometimes hear marketers ask when they see this data set is, quite simply, “Which one?” But the questions we believe marketers should be asking more frequently is, “Which ones?”
Double Up on Deadline Emails
Remember, this is crunch time. During this window, recipients are much more likely to buy than they’ve been for weeks. Don’t risk someone missing an email or not being online that day by sending not one, but two (or more) deadline emails.
Maybe that’s one the day before the deadline, one early on the morning of the deadline, and perhaps one 4 days out to get your audience looking for these emails in the first place. Every one of these will move the needle, so don’t hesitate to send more than one.
Start Teasing Pass Sales Early
Some attractions will “push pause” on pass sales during the winter months because it can be tough to get folks to buy a season pass when it’s 0 degrees outside. A dataset we shared a few years ago appears to support that. This list ranked the open rates of subject lines sent during the winter months based on the words they contained.
But what was not shown is all the words we had to remove from the ranking to get that list. These attractions-related words ranked right up there with “sunset” and “holiday” even when sent during the winter. One of those words was, you guessed it, “season pass”.
Tease Pass Sales Before Sales Season
Just because people aren’t ready to buy doesn’t mean they’re not starting to think about it. Or, alternatively, thinking about other things they could spend that $500, $750, or $1,000 on instead.
After the first couple months of winter, people are dreaming about summer returning. Give Mother Nature a little help to get them thinking about deals and perks and reasons to buy now, so they’re champing at the bit later.
You Might be Under Doing It
Being more aggressive with your email campaigns around pass season may mean sending more campaigns as we’ve outlined above. And that’s okay. Once again, we’ll share a datapoint to highlight what we mean.
A while back we looked at email performance (colored bars) against the number of emails any one subscriber received (x-axis). The result shows an initially sharp decline as you send more and more emails.
But what many people overlooked is that performance then tends to flatten out. And even more interesting, most resorts’ email volume already puts them on that plateau.
More is Okay
In other words, sending more is probably not something you should be afraid of. We’re not talking about tripling your email volume this season.
Don’t overdo it, but chances are you’re probably under doing it right now.
The Bottom Line
If pass sales don’t look like what they did ten years ago, your marketing can’t either. A lot of what we’re discussing is simply expanding on the ideas that made yesterday’s season pass campaigns so successful.
- We know key selling points can help close a deal, so we’re reinforcing each one with dedicated campaigns.
- We know that deadline-based email drives a massive amount of revenue, so we’re supporting it with a setup and follow-up campaign.
- We know guests are starting to think about summer once they first see signs of spring, so we’re getting your audience thinking about pass sales long before you ask them to buy.
Email has been challenged by dozens of other media and channels over the last couple decades, yet in recent years the performance of messages in the inbox has surged. If you build a strong email strategy around these data points, it’ll be hard to go too far wrong in 2020.
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