E-Mails, Faxes Combine to Spark Calls

A fax and e-mail campaign by Europcar North America has resulted in a 25 percent increase in call center volume on distribution days.

On the heels of that campaign, the international car rental company will launch a similar campaign this month targeting American-based travel agencies and its corporate-level planners and managers. The campaign's goal is to increase bookings and build awareness of the company.

“In order to reach individuals with a brand that is not in front of them on a daily basis, you have to spend unlimited funds, and that is impossible for us,” said Henning Luessmann, director of marketing at Europcar North America, Roswell, GA. “So the purpose of the campaign was to introduce different services and products but also to enhance our brand recognition among our target audience.”

Europcar North America, which teamed with Houston-based firm Bates Churchill Public Relations for the promotion, began the recently concluded campaign in January after renting lists from AdVal Communications. It obtained 13,000 permission-based fax numbers of travel agencies and 4,500 e-mail addresses of agents at those agencies, said Laura Ehrlich, management supervisor at Bates.

Europcar distributed one fax and e-mail per week to agencies and agents, hoping that fax and e-mail distribution would complement each other, Luessmann said.

“The biggest danger for us would be to slip out of people's minds entirely,” he said.

The response mechanism for both channels was a toll-free number, Ehrlich said. The e-mails also provided links that drove the travel agents to Europcar's Web site, www.europcar.com, she said. The offer included a 15 percent commission and discounted per-day rates.

Europcar does not have response or conversion rates for each channel because the company does not track the source of the bookings, Luessmann said. Europcar only measured the campaign by the increase in call volume on days of distribution, which jumped by about 50 calls on each of those days, he said.

For the upcoming campaign, Europcar again will use both channels to target many of the same travel agencies and agents, Luessmann said.

In addition, the company will rent a list of agencies from the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade body that represents cruise lines and travel agencies, he said. This list will contain agencies that target European cruise travelers.

Luessmann said Europcar expects to obtain marketing information for 8,000 to 9,000 agencies.

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