The Hoseasons Group (THG) is the UK’s leading supplier of self catering holiday accommodation, with a portfolio of over 27,000 properties across the UK and Europe. THG is comprised of a variety of customer facing brands and brand families including English Country Cottages.
The number of properties in the English Country Cottages portfolio was reaching critical mass to fit into a single brochure, and through a letterbox. This, combined with rising brochure production and delivery costs, meant a new approach was needed to reduce brochure costs without affecting a drop-off in sales.
Departing from the well-established and successful ‘big book’ launch mailing represented a major strategic shift for English Country Cottages, so it was vital they have the reassurance of an analytically-driven approach before making the leap. Hoseasons brought in the analytical experts at 20:20 Dialogue to develop and test a new approach that scientifically matched sub sets of inventory to customers. The result was a smaller brochure that reduced mailing and production costs, increasing return on investment without sacrificing sales.
Having defined a new Communications Planning and Targeting Strategy, Data Strategy and Analytics Strategy, a new “Booker to Property Model” was developed to drive targeting of English Country Cottages’ main 2011 brochure launch campaign. Every property was scored and ranked for each customer segment, and a new slim-line “Tailored Half Book” brochure was produced, featuring the highest propensity properties for the test segments. This ensured customers would receive information on the properties most relevant to their previous booking behaviour.
The initial test programme compared the results from a “Standard Full Book” (660 pages) with a “Standard Half Book” of randomly selected properties (224 pages) and a test “Tailored Half Book” (also 224 pages) featuring model-driven selected properties. These were sent to the customer clusters on whose past behaviours the likelihood to book each property had been ranked.
• The “Tailored Half Book” delivered a 245% improvement in return on investment compared with the “Standard Full Book” mailing.
• With their lower pagination, both “Half Books” (Standard and Tailored) cost 64% less than a “Full Book”
• The “Tailored Half Book” delivered a 10% lower cost per sale (based on bookings of one week), compared with the “Standard Half Book” version.
Following this successful test, 20:20 Dialogue is to develop the work further and test the model with other brands within the Hoseasons Group portfolio.
On the work by 20:20 Dialogue, Nick Smith, Director of Marketing Planning at the Hoseasons Group commented: “We challenged 20:20 Dialogue to help us develop a new strategy that would enable us to reduce our brochure costs without affecting a drop-off in sales. Their analytical expertise, coupled with a strong commercial understanding, has produced a really innovative piece of work that has delivered excellent results.”
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