How Diamond Resorts Increased Email Engagement and Success
In an age of multiple customer communication channels, the importance of email cannot be underestimated. According to the Consumer Engagement Best Practices for 2020 report, email is still one of the preferred channels for consumers when talking to businesses, with 83% of global consumers saying they prefer email when receiving communications from businesses.
What was your first job? My first job was tying rebar and digging foundations on my father’s construction sites. I was in Jr. High and during the summers we would hop in the back of our father’s pickup truck, and get driven to a site, handed shovels, wire cutters and other things that could potentially remove digits, and sent to work.
Who inspires you? Recently, I’ve been inspired by individuals who are passionately committed to telling important stories and speaking truth to power, like the mother and daughter duo of Ashley Maria and Lea-Anne W. Berst, the director and producer behind Pioneers in Skirts that addresses gender inequality in the workplace.
What are your hobbies? Cycling, rock climbing, cooking, photography, hiking with our beloved family dog Zoe, being a new father, traveling with my spouse and figuring out how we will globe trot with a little one in tow.
What technologies excite you? Anything that is beautifully designed while actually being useful and fulfilling its intended purpose… design for the sake of design, without purpose, disrupts nothing.
Sage advice? Don’t be afraid to work with your community! I was fortunate enough to find a community of experts within email that I’ve spent the last 15 years learning from. Your community can be your tribe, and your source of truth—use your community and more importantly give back to it whenever possible.
What is one other job that you would like to try? National Geographic Photographer
What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life? I don’t know that I have a goal so much as the desire to look back and have no regrets. If I had to pick one: raise a good little person who will give back and constantly try and make the world a better place.
What three people would you invite to lunch? Tom Waits, Terry Gross, Joseph Campbell
What is your favorite vacation spot? I’d have to say anything in Scandinavia. We’ve done long road trips in Iceland, Finland, Sweden & Norway in the past.
What is your favorite movie? In no particular order: Bladerunner, The Lives of Others, Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Mindwalk, Gattaca, Godfather 1 & 2, Moonlight, Before Sunrise, Little Miss Sunshine and Everything is Illuminated
Diamond Resorts recognized this importance and turned to Twilio SendGrid to revamp their email strategy. A leader in hospitality and vacation ownership conducts travel-related transactions with more than 3.5 million people on a monthly basis. When the company made the switch from their previous marketing cloud platform to Twilio SendGrid’s email API, the results were immediate and measurable.
Transactional Email Ease
Although transactional emails are arguably the most critical communications a travel company sends – think payment receipts and reservation confirmations – customers often never receive them. With more than 90 percent of all inbound email traffic being spam, legitimate messages are frequently marked as fraudulent. This was a big problem for Diamond Resorts, who heard recurrent complaints about emails not coming through to their members.
In turning to Twilio SendGrid, the company saw an immediate uptake in deliverability. The platform’s combination of key technologies helped the travel brand establish the identity and trustworthiness of their emails, so they could avoid looking like spam and succeed in reaching more customers.
Email Marketing Magic
Email marketing offers a high ROI: for every $1 of investment there’s the potential for a $38 return. When it came to their email marketing campaigns, Twilio SendGrid opened a whole new world for Diamond Resorts. By testing subject lines and content, they were able to increase their direct response and click-through rates dramatically. The platform also let them personalize and segment their emails to make sure they were reaching the right audience, design emails much faster with easy templates and frustration-free campaign editing, and utilize actionable analytics to track their results and make improvements.
Various departments within Diamond Resorts reaped the benefits. The online booking department, a team that was once reliant on internal developers to create emails for them, was empowered to create their own campaigns without needing developer help. On the rental side of the business, contract turnaround time went from two to three weeks to two to three days. For marketing, the ability to develop data feeds based on attributes and automate recurring emails was a huge plus. For example, customers who have purchased a vacation but haven’t yet selected dates now receive a time-based drip series to help them with the reservation process.
Customer Engagement on One Platform
Diamond’s switch to Twilio SendGrid for email was a game changer for the company. The marketing team now monitors engagement metrics like day of the week and time of day to track and increase performance in real-time. They can also send follow-up emails — something they weren’t previously able to do.
But the company’s strategy extends far beyond email. As they continue to implement a nimble communications strategy based on application programming interfaces (APIs), Diamond Resorts is also rolling out customer communication through SMS and voice, all from the Twilio platform. APIs let them understand the unique attributes of their customers, so they can service their very specific needs — such as which communication channel they prefer — without software limitations.
In the era of Airbnb and discounted travel sites, APIs offer a level of innovation that is needed for success in hospitality today. For brands like Diamond Resorts, it’s more important than ever to utilize the latest in communication technology to maintain their status as major competitors.
Len Shneyder is a 15-year email and digital messaging veteran and the VP of industry relations at Twilio SendGrid. Len serves as an evangelist and proponent of best practices and drives thought leadership and data-driven insights on industry trends. Len represents Twilio SendGrid on the board of M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) as vice chair in addition to co-chairing the Program Committee. He’s also part of the MAC (Member Advisory Committee) of the Email Experience Council where he serves as the organization's vice chair. The EEC is owned by the Direct Marketing Association of America, a nearly 100-year-old organization where he also sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, Len has worked closely with the Email Sender and Provider Coalition on issues surrounding data privacy and email deliverability.