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2018 Silver Best use of email

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Agency: Proximity London

Client: Virgin Holidays

Campaign name: Virgin Holidays Peak

Campaign overview

Driving footfall with targeted and AI-enhanced emails

The brief

Without TV budget for the January sales, Virgin Holidays needed to turbo-charge CRM to increase footfall and margin

Strategy

The January sales can be tough, and it’s often the brands that shout the loudest that get results.

The key period delivers a third of Virgin Holidays’ annual revenue, but in a year without tactical TV budget, CRM needed to drive 50% more customers in-store resulting in a year-on-year margin uplift of 30%.

Virgin Holidays and Proximity London had to out-think rivals to make customers buy, against a backdrop of falling demand for long-haul travel.

Virgin’s excellent service and customer experience were put in the spotlight to counteract the appeal of low-cost holidays offered by competitors.

Customers were given a personalised sales journey, with gentle comms from October to January reflecting their needs and making holiday hunting part of the break itself.

Creativity

Messages avoided clichés to engage holidaymakers at key moments.

AI was used to increase reach and craft on-brand subject lines that resonated with the audience.

Emails were delivered using algorithms, meaning each recipient had a unique send time and destination, with ‘high engagers’ prioritised for content-led comms.

One invited customers to win a dream trip by sharing a competition with a friend. Another offered sneak peeks of destinations they cared about.

More people are converted in-store, so a third email offered a mystery incentive to anyone booking a visit. Separately, time scarcity was brought to life with setting sun images.

A final message reminded customers of the need to get away from the drudgery of January life.

Results

Every target was reached and emails garnered an industry-leading level of engagement: 70% more opens and 65% more clicks than the previous year. One AI-generated line led to a 40% uplift.

The competition mechanic alone added 32,000 people to Virgin’s database, who were then four times more likely than other prospects to buy a holiday.

In-store appointments grew by 156% and margin was boosted by 49%, with £2.6 million profit attributable to the campaign.

Team

Proximity London - Alexandra Dyer, Senior Account Director - Hannah Watters, Strategy Lead - Neil Williamson, Art Director - Alex Buchanan-Dunlop, Creative Copywriter - John Treacy, Executive Creative Director - Elsie Hoskin, Designer

Virgin Holidays - Liam Savage, Marketing Executive - Saul Lopes, Head of CRM and Loyalty

Contributors

Movable Ink and Phrasee

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