Direct-mail enjoying a renaissance, say industry experts

Amid this January’s barrage of TV and online travel advertising, direct-mail is enjoying a renaissance, according to industry experts.

Panellists at last week’s Cim Travel Group Question Time said the battle today was as much for ‘share of doormat’ as ‘share of voice’ online and on other media.

Richard Bowden-Doyle, Neilson executive chairman, said: “We are starting to see significant divergence in the effectiveness of old-fashioned direct marketing and e-marketing.

“I know one very well-known travel business whose objective is ‘share of doormat’.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Advantage managing director, agreed, saying the consortium invests in direct marketing for agency members.

“We use our customer data to drive that. We do see increased conversions. It absolutely does work,” she said.

Tim Williamson, Responsible Travel’s marketing and content director, said targeted marketing was not just the domain of the big boys. The former Tui customer director said the infrequent nature of holiday-booking was a challenge and he slammed travel for filling people’s inboxes with a “wall of generic spam”, which he summarised as “all shite”.

Asked for his opinion on turn-of-year TV campaigns, particularly the high number from online firms, Williamson said: “It’s good to see online brands recognise they need an offline audience.”

But he added: “I’m always slightly embarrassed by travel ads.”

He picked out Thomas Cook’s ‘dancing boy’ ad for its failure to ram home its brand message.

Williamson said travel ads are often “beautiful films with a logo stuck on the end”, adding: “I would not say that’s a good advert.”

Bue-Said said the message was important but campaigns such as Cook’s did create a lot of noise and excitement about holidays.

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