August 29, 2007, 12:00 AM

E-mail marketing goes a long way to boost travel companies, survey says

E-mail easily topped the list of most effective marketing tools in a survey of smaller travel companies. 57% of respondents say they have the e-mail addresses of at least half their customers.

Travel companies find e-mail their most effective marketing tool and are making a point of collecting customers` e-mail addresses, according to a survey by Constant Contact Inc., provider of e-mail marketing and online surveys to smaller organizations.

47% of respondents rated e-mail as their most effective marketing tool, followed by direct mail at 17%, search engine advertising, 13%, online ads, 10%, newspaper ads, 9%, Yellow Pages ads, 2%, and radio commercials, 2%.

Reducing dependency on print advertising was cited as a major benefit of e-mail marketing by 44% of respondents, followed by 33% who pointed to repeat visitors from customers and 27% more visitors.

33% of respondents said they have the e-mail addresses of at least 76% of customers, while another 24% said more than half, 17% between a quarter and a half, 16% between 11% and 25%, and 10% under 10%.

“This year’s survey results show that small travel and tourism businesses not only recognize the value of building relationships with customers using tools like e-mail marketing and online surveys, but are adopting them in increasing numbers,” says Eric Groves, senior vice president of sales and business development at Constant Contact. “The results highlight the power of e-mail marketing in generating off-season business for the travel industry, and other small businesses will likely see the same positive impact during slow sales periods.”

More than 750 individuals responded to the online survey conducted in May.

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