This is how every email from an airline should look like – lessons from CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam

As a number of you are aware, we held our annual SimpliFlying Awards in Amsterdam last week. During that period, I stayed at CitizenM – a hyper-chic hotel in Amsterdam that also happened to win the Best Hotel in Social Media Award.

Once I returned to Singapore, I received an email from the CitizenM manager, thanking me for their stay. What I often receive from a number of airlines I fly, and classify as spam, turned out to be a revelation in how follow-up emails should ideally be written. I’ve attached a screenshot of that email here (click here for full-size).

Writing good emails for airlines 101

Almost all the emails I receive from airlines (trust me, it’s more than 10 a week), I classify as spam. Some market the vacation to Bora Bora when I have a 100 miles to redeem in my account. Others send me fares specials from Boston, a city where I used to live two years ago!

Most of them are just impersonal, computer-generated, faceless pieces of communication that I bet most travelers ignore. Why else do you think the industry click-through rate for emails is a meagre 0.5%?

So learning from the CitizenM email above, here’s a 101 lesson for airlines in writing follow-up emails that people read:

  1. Keep it personal: Not only is the emailed signed by Larissa, the manager, she’s given me two ways to directly contact her too!
  2. Make me feel part of the club: “Dear citizen Shashank” – that just made me feel so good. It was as if I earned that status by staying there! Does your airline have a name for those who fly you?
  3. Highlight key product attributes: Just look at how CitizenM has highlighted the size of their beds and the fluffiness of their pillows and towels. Makes me wanna go back. Surely your airline has at least one attribute you can brag about – so how can you help customers form an emotional connection?
  4. Get them to share: Sharing is now an integral part of the travel process – be it adding Tripadvisor reviews, or sharing photos of Facebook. A large majority of travelers do it. And I love the way CitizenM email has asked me to share my thoughts and photos too

Most of the things above seem so simple and “common-sensical” isn’t it? I can’t wait for some airlines to take the lessons from here and make follow-up emails and interactions a bit more personal!

By the way, below is a photo of what the much-talked-about shower looks like at CitizenM. Feel free to check them out when you’re next in Amsterdam or Glasgow (and soon London and New York!) 🙂

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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