Mail Watch: Travel Firms Hit Hard by Recession
When it comes to the travel sector, this recession just might be on par with the disastrous economic ripple waves of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Mail patterns in this category for the period between September 2008 and August 2009 are similar to those during the three years following the terrorist attacks. One of the few distinctions is that travel mail volume as a percentage of all mail actually has risen a little in the past year—and with the number of travel mail pieces along for the ride, we can't chalk this trend up to other sectors' declining use of mail.
While quite a few sectors either have maintained or even increased their levels of personalization, travel firms appear to be backing down on anything too customized. On the premium front, it's even more obvious that travel firms are rethinking their marketing approaches; the inclusion of premiums has sunk to its lowest point during the past five years, accounting for just 12.4 percent of travel offers.
Economical self-mailer formats continue to rule this sector, coming in at 71.2 percent for the September 2008 to August 2009 period. One marketer making the most of a self-mailer piece is Princess Cruises, which mailed a trifold, 6" x 9-1/2" effort in August (Archive code #501-179458-0908).
Highlighting its West Coast trips to Mexico and Hawaii, the cruise company opts for landscape orientation of graphics on the outer two panels but then uses a portrait layout on the interior panels to appear more brochure-like. The promotional content regarding the two specific trips and overall features of Princess Cruises' ships is standard, but the use of one panel for a letter from the company's president and CEO is smart planning. At a time when consumers need more than just a pretty picture and a good deal for motivation, a me-to-you letter adds that more personal connection people crave when deciding which companies deserve their patronage.