Nailed It: DMNews talks with Alexandra Palau, e-marketing manager at Carnival

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Nailed It: DMNews talks with Alexandra Palau, e-marketing manager at Carnival
Nailed It: DMNews talks with Alexandra Palau, e-marketing manager at Carnival

In July, Carnival began sending e-mails to customers who abandoned their shopping carts while booking online. Alexandra Palau, e-marketing manager at Carnival, discusses the effort

Q What challenge did Carnival want to meet with the cart initiative?

A We're trying to increase online bookings. A lot of our business comes from travel agents and direct, but not necessarily online.

Q How does the process work?

A A visitor enters the site and goes into the booking engine, and once we know they've abandoned, we send a file to Cheetahmail and they send the e-mail in the next 24 hours. Consumers get the e-mail the next day and are driven back to Carnival.com.

Q Has that been effective?

A The open rate is very good - 25% higher for abandoned booking e-mails than for our regular promotional e-mails. Carnival sends an average of 14,000 abandoned booking e-mails per week to first-time cruisers and recurring or past guests.

Q Why is immediacy especially important to Carnival?

A We have our personal vacation planner (PVP) center, which is our internal travel agency. It calls customers who have abandoned online, and we try to e-mail them as fast as we can to get the online booking, otherwise they may book with the PVP. It's a sort of friendly competition to see who can get the booking. Customers who book with PVP still book with Carnival, which is great, but if you look online, you're more likely to book online, so we try to get them as fast as we can.

Q What's next in this initiative on the targeting and database side?

A We are going through some creative changes for the next iteration of this initiative. We're going to send a different e-mail for first-time cruisers vs. past guests. The first-time prospect will just get information about being new to cruising. It's more educational. One section has information about their first cruise. Past guests are just given the information they need to book online.

Q Will there be other creative changes to the campaign?

A We'll also be changing the image in the e-mail based on what destination was searched for. If you search for the Bahamas, you'll get a Bahamas image. It will be much more personalized. l

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