Intrawest's Timely E-Mails Cross-Sell to Guests

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Intrawest, a resort and adventure travel firm in British Columbia, has improved customer relations and sales by sending more relevant and timely e-mails to guests, using lifecycle marketing.

Intrawest, Vancouver, cross-sells resort services and reduces call center work, using e-mail technology provider Responsys' "Individualized Lifecycle Marketing" concept and e-mail marketing software.

Lifecycle marketing is the automated process of sending relevant messages at well-timed moments in the customer lifecycle, according to Responsys, Redwood City, CA, which released the upgraded version of its Interact 5 e-mail software Aug. 8.

Lifecycle marketing is "anticipating our guests' needs and delivering on those, with the goal of increasing customer satisfaction," said Randy Cuff, director of CRM development and e-mail marketing for Intrawest. This helps Intrawest send the right offer at the right time to the right person, he added.

Intrawest executives began to develop such marketing about two years ago, when they noticed a gap in marketing to guests who made reservations.

"Some guests book four months in advance, say, for a ski trip," Cuff said. "So that's four months we're not talking to those customers."

Instead of sending the basic confirmation e-mail after customers book their trip, Intrawest resorts now send one or two e-mails before the trip, tailoring either a welcome message or cross-selling message to each customer.

"If you said you were bringing children when you made the reservation, we tailor it to talk about our resort's ski school, or our [Destin, FL, resort's] sand castle competition," Cuff said. "The big thing for people with children is wondering what kids' activities there are."

Intrawest cross-sells and upsells in the messages, reminding people taking ski vacations that they can reserve lessons, boots and other services.

Open rates on its lifecycle e-mails are two to three times higher than Intrawest's average open rates, and click-through rates are about six times higher than for its standard e-mails.

The targeted e-mails also save call center representatives' time on "non-revenue" calls, Cuff said. In the past, guests might call two days before their trip to ask what the weather is like at the destination, or ask for directions to the resort.

Anticipating those needs, e-mails prior the trip include a link to a map on the resort's Web site, the weather forecast and other reminders, such as "Bring layers of clothes in the winter."

"We have gotten very positive feedback, unsolicited, saying 'It's so great you sent me this. I was just going to look up a map on how to get there,'" Cuff said.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting


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