Ask the expert: Business, pleasure and everything in between with Wotif
An interview with Wotif's Vicci Ormandy
With dream destinations back on the agenda, the travel industry’s marketers are primed for a new period of inspiration. We talked to Wotif’s Vicci Ormandy about how the Australia and New Zealand focused Expedia Group Booking site – and Phrasee customer – is adapting its marketing optimization tactics to the direction of travel.
Here’s what Vicci had to say…
Phrasee: What do you think is the most urgent issue for marketers to address right now?
Vicci: I think the burning issue for marketers right now is keeping up with customers’ expectations for relevant messages and engaging content, in a world that is flooded with content, and with increasing limits on data available for personalizing marketing messages – particularly with changes to cookies and tracking pixels policies.
Phrasee: How have you seen the travel industry change this year?
Vicci: 2020 and 2021 have been an interesting period for travel to say the least! In 2020, we had to learn to quickly pivot towards assisting our customers during a difficult time. As we moved into 2021, the focus shifted to trying to find pockets of opportunity where customers can travel and where their interests have changed.
Phrasee: More broadly, you’ve been with Wotif for six years – what shifts have you seen in the travel industry during that time?
Vicci: The travel industry has really taken a big step forward to become much more traveler-centric and move beyond purely transactional relationships, to think about how we can provide value throughout the customer journey.
Phrasee: So how has optimizing your language helped improve your customer engagement?
Vicci: We’ve seen significant improvement in engagement metrics from optimizing our subject lines. I was expecting improvements in open rate, but the big surprise was how much improvement we saw in click through rates. This was the real game changer for us and it shows the power of language.
Phrasee: Have you ever been surprised by the marketing approaches that your customers have responded to?
In the last year there has been a striking shift in the type of language customers respond to. We’ve gone from seeing short, sharp, urgent language performing well to more long form, emotive language driving engagement.
“The big surprise was how much improvement we saw in click through rates. It shows the power of language.”
Vicci Ormandy, Wotif
Phrasee: What technology have you seen change the marketing game during your time at Wotif?
Vicci: When I first started, we were manually building HTML in Dreamweaver and sending it to an offshore team to be loaded into our tool! Nowadays everything is self-serve drag and drop, it’s simple to use. There is also a big focus on using data-driven technology to optimize our marketing.
Phrasee: As a travel marketer, what excites you about 2021?
Vicci: I’m very excited for the return of leisure travel! As the world begins to open up and with more destinations back on the agenda, we can start being more creative and work on inspirational travel content.
Phrasee: Finally, can you let us in on your business philosophy?
Vicci: My philosophy is to keep moving forward.
Sometimes we get stuck in the detail of what worked in the past and miss the “doing” and the “evolving”.
That’s a philosophy we can get behind, Wotif. Keep on evolving!
Looking for more industry expertise?
Check out the rest of our Ask the Expert series.