Thomas Cook Scheduled Businesses

Agency: IBM Marketing Cloud

Thomas Cook Scheduled Businesses Division (TCSB) was formed in October 2010, bringing together Thomas Cook UK and Ireland’s scheduled travel operations under a single specialised management structure. TCSB employs over 850 people at its UK offices in Preston, Peterborough and Chester and the experienced team operates seven of the UK’s leading travel brands carrying 750,000 passengers overseas each year. Netflights.com guarantees fantastic offers on worldwide flights, hotels, holidays and car hire. Thousands of discounted airfares from more than 135 airlines, reduced rates at over 15,000 hotels, great offers on holidays, and fantastic deals on car hire are all available at netflights.com, giving customers easy access to all the latestand best travel deals.

The challenge

When Thomas Cook Scheduled Businesses came onboard with Silverpop, it was focused on more strongly engaging with customers for three of its brands: Netflights.com, Gold Medal and Pure Luxury. It first decided to tackle its Netflights.com business, with the goal of better engaging with customers through more relevant content based on their preferences and putting a re-engagement strategy into action for inactive subscribers.

The solution

As a first step, Thomas Cook participated in Silverpop’s onboarding program, during which time it worked with a Silverpop onboarding specialist to get up and running on Silverpop Engage. After 30 days, it transitioned to working with a Silverpop product advisor team to help identify quick wins and long-term strategies to meet its business goals.

Its first major initiative, tackled jointly with a product advisor, was to build a preference center and start collecting customer information that would be used to send more relevant communications.

Questions asked in Thomas Cook’s innovative preference center include:

Preferred types of offers and holidays

  • Desired frequency of communications
  • Picks for most interesting destinations
  • Travel companion and type of travel
  • Preferred viewing platform (mobile, tablet or computer)

Understanding that some customers only want to hear from Netflights.com at specific times during the year, Netflights.com also offered subscribers an opportunity to put their email communications on hold using Silverpop’s “Snooze” functionality. Via “Snooze”, a subscriber can temporarily stop communications for up to 12 months.

The next initiative involved working with the Silverpop product advisor to identify major segments of customers based on their behaviors. After an analysis of the Netflights.com database, the following groups were identified:

Engaged – Those who regularly open/click Netflights.com emails
Active – Those who regularly open Netflights.com emails
Bookers – Those who have booked with Netflights.com
Dormant – Those who have never opened/clicked Netflights.com emails or booked with the company

Netflights.com then put together a strategy to communicate to these segments differently. For example, to better engage its “Dormant” segment, it created a three-step nurture programme using Silverpop’s Programs functionality. The program incentivised inactive subscribers to update their preferences by making those customers who did so eligible for 500 Euros’ worth of duty-free vouchers.

The benefits

Thomas Cook has seen some great successes since coming to Silverpop, including:

Highest open rate ever recorded for a sales campaign — 53 per cent
Highest click-through rate ever recorded for a sales campaign— 49 per cent
Increase in average revenue per transaction— 4.4 per cent
Reactivation of inactive subscribers— 7 per cent

“Working with Silverpop’s services team allowed us to put together a strategy based upon best practices, and then execute upon that strategy,” says Zara Foxcroft, email marketing executive, Thomas Cook Scheduled Businesses. “As a result, we are able to better understand the needs of our subscriber base and are now seeing our highest engagement rates to date because we’re sending more relevant communications.”