Success Story: Hurtigruten use OTTOMail to nurture and develop trade relationships is a ‘no brainer’
Adventure travel, cruise and sustainable cruise specialist Hurtigruten has been running its OTT course since 2016 and adopted OTTOMail to connect with the community of travel agents who had completed its course in 2018.
Katie Leigh, Sales, Marketing & Events | UK for Hurtigruten uses OTTOMail to directly communicate unique offers, incentives, flash sales and discounts to agents. Katie regularly achieves more than 30 per cent clickthrough rates with carefully targeted emails to agents which cover new product launches, incentives as well as useful information to support agents.
Hurtigruten takes an innovative approach to reaching consumers as well as the travel trade. Katie, who was an early adopter of the system, said other brands could benefit from using the system: “I’d just encourage people to use it. I just think it's such a useful system…. It's essentially a whole other method of communication and it's an easy system to use. It's no brainer really!”
OTTOMail helps companies build a relationships through email marketing with the community of travel agents which have engaged with or completed OTT product training courses. Companies use the system to communicate new product news, deals and incentives to this list of agents who already have an interest in the brand. The system enables B2B marketers to nurture important trade relationships and communicate with high value agents over a longer period. The OTTOMail system is fully GDPR-compliant and the system saves time by automatically keeping company contacts up to date - a challenge within an industry which has undergone so much change over the last 18 months.
We caught up with Katie to find out how she uses OTTOMail to achieve such impressive clickthrough rates...
Hurtigruten has been using OTT for product training for more than five years. Can you explain how the company uses the course and OTTOMail together to drive sales?
“We found the course to be successful, I think, down to the exciting content and the fact that we have an incentive running on it. We have a three step reward programme: when an agent completes a course they get a free cuddly toy. If they then do some marketing activity after completing it and send us proof, they get a £25 Love to Shop voucher. The final step is if they make a booking on the back of that marketing activity, or at least after completing the course and completing step two. They then get entered into a prize draw – at the moment the prize is a Fitbit Inspire HR.”
“The incentives drive course completions, but then also add agents to our OTTOmaildatabase, which gives us access to a completely different group of agents to our own database. It increases exposure all together, which we hope drives sales. Also by using the email system it means that we're able to engage further with agents who have completed our course, rather than taking the course for the prize, and then never hearing from us again.”
What are the main goals you are trying to achieve through use of OTTOMail?
“Brand awareness is key - just keeping the brand at the forefront of agent's minds so when a customer comes to them saying they want to go to Antarctica or Norway they will think of us. Generally, increasing communication with the trade and having another outlet to communicate offers and campaigns.”
“OTTOMail gives increased support for our b2b business campaigns and offers by improving the awareness of the brand and the breadth of products we offer. A lot of agents think that we just do Norway but we go to several other places - using the system just gives us opportunities to communicate that.”
How do you fit OTTOMail emails into your working week?
"I aim to send one email a week at a minimum which I usually send on a Friday. On a Thursday morning, I'll put it together, depending on the focus for that week. If we have a planned campaign or a last minute offer, then I might send another one in the same week or just send it on a different day. It helps to be consistent setting aside time for emails to be sent, not only for engagement, but also from a time management perspective. I always know there’s a set time that I put together the email.”
Do you use any other sales channels as well as or in conjunction with OTTOMail?
“We've got our own B2B database and email system which we can use. We have a closed Facebook user group and a trade Twitter account for both Hurtigruten Expeditions and Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, trade events and just general PR. We've also recently launched a brand new agent portal, which is a one-stop-shop for online booking, downloading marketing assets, offer details and current news, which is proving to be very popular with the trade.”
Hurtigruten is consistent in using OTTOMail to regularly communicate with and engage its audience of agents. Do you work from a content plan or align emails with your overall marketing strategy?
“We’ve recently recruited for a much larger marketing team than we’ve ever had before and the content calendar is something that's being worked on at the moment. Generally, it's pretty aligned because whatever we need to focus on in sales, they also need to focus on in marketing.”
“Most of the time, I decide at the beginning of the week what offer or campaign or products need focus and we'll go with that. As well as campaigns and offers and products, we also use OTTOMail as a platform to highlight what other trade support we're able to offer, like our agent portal, or any current news, so they're not always product focused.”
“We also use OTTOMail if we’ve got incentives running outside of OTT or events. We did some ship visits back in the beginning of 2020 and we used OTTOmail topromote these, which increased awareness of the opportunity amongst a different group of agents. We were very pleased with the number of agents we had sign up to the visits and I believe OTTOMail made a big difference. – ”
How did you find OTTOMail training and any troubleshooting advice?
“It was a long time ago that I did my training but I found it to be quite comprehensive and easy to understand. The system is very straightforward and easy to use. Whenever I have had a problem it's been quickly resolved by Nida or via online chat. I've used it a few times and they're very quick to respond.”
Your most successful email has been opened by 35 per cent of your target agents. Can you describe some of the aspects which went together to create this?
“The Russia launch email was successful because it's brand new destination and itinerary. I try to create excitement using the subject line, without revealing what it is, providing a “teaser” so people open it to find out more.”
“Another was the last chance to win a cruise which was an agent incentive. The inclusion of product offers and incentives helps increase engagement. I would also ensure that you use attractive images and enough product information to get across key details abut not so much as to overload the email - people who need to can click through to our website for further details.”
Finally, can you share your top three tips for content creation and planning using OTTOMail?
“Firstly, ensure the content aligns with overall marketing campaigns with B2C and B2B to ensure maximum coverage.”
“In terms of actually using the system, when I create our emails, I always use the last thing I've done and duplicate it, rather than starting again. So it includes all the latest information and T&Cs rather than creating all the content again, which just saves time. For instance, we've got a ‘Book with Confidence’ offer and then an incentive that's running on our agent portal, so I'd always include those blocks in the email so it all links to the right place.”
“For the main image, I now always overlay text to highlight the product and offer rather than just including the copy, which I think helps improve engagement and the overall look of the email.”
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Case study summary
See how Hurtigruten use OTTOMail to nurture and develop trade relationships.