AirTran finds e-mail helps increase loyalty

AirTran Airways has found that e-mail is a helpful tool to help keep up communications with its frequent flier members. In fact, since the airline teamed up with e-mail services provider e-Dialog to revamp its e-mail program, the brand has seen a 70% increase in click-through rates in its e-mails.

E-mail is central’s strategy to the airline, because most of its bookings come from the Web, rather than the phone.

AirTran worked with e-Dialog to incorporate a new design into its newsletter. The two also worked together to add personalization and triggered messages to the e-mails sent out to loyalty members.

“We realized that customers didn’t want to read a whole book every time they got an e-mail, and that instead they wanted bullet points with relevant information about their account and how many A+ credits they have, so we redesigned it accordingly,” said Andrew Chang, manager of marketing strategy at AirTran Airways. “We’re always trying to make improvements to our frequent flier program and the e-mail portion of this was about improving communications with our customer and making them feel more informed.”

Since the revamp, AirTran has seen unsubscribes drop by 50%. In addition, the airline has seen consumers respond better to partner offers with the new e-mails, such as more car rentals through Hertz.

“Even though we send e-mails out more frequently, the unsubscribe rate has decreased, because the e-mail is easier to understand and more interactive,” said Chang. “And, customers are responding better to our partner offers, which is great for us, because we collect revenue from partners.”

AirTran is taking this new design and incorporating it into triggered and welcome e-mails to help with the CRM effort. For example, the airline is sending welcome e-mails to explain how the program works, as well as triggered e-mails when a customer earns an award credit — or if an award credit is about to expire.

“Because it is so easy to earn a free flight on AirTran, and the A+ credits expire after a year, we are sending e-mails to remind our customers,” added Chang. “We are looking more at using e-mail as a lifecycle management tool and trying to take that to the next level.” l

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