I saw a headline from the McKinsey Quarterly saying information overload can sap executive creativity and effectiveness, so I hope that isn’t happening with me! Not as a result of that headline, but purely a co-incidence, I had earlier decided to unsubscribe from a number of email subscriptions I was receiving.

The two worst (unsubscribe processes, not emails) would have been Kayak Alerts and the Spanish LCC Vueling. The Kayak unsubscribe link took me to a totally blank web page, and two attempts with the Vueling link took me to a nearly blank web page, the only text on that page reading

Connection failed: SQLSTATE[00000] [1040] Too many connections

Maybe just an unlucky day for both these companies, but that is the curse of e-commerce. You rarely get praised for doing a good job, but once the site is down everyone is lining up to put the boots in.

Next on the hit list is Spanish OTA Rumbo. Their link took me to a page which read.

Acabamos de enviarle un correo electrónico con las instrucciones que debe seguir para darse de baja de los boletines.

The Spanish wasn’t the issue as I’d originally subscribed in that language, but what they are basically saying is that they will send me an email with instructions on how to unsubscribe. I wonder how many people don’t follow through with their intention to remove themselves from the email marketing list at this point as it is too much hassle?

The promised email did indeed arrive and it contained a link to a page allowing to me uncheck the boxes showing the types of communication I no longer wanted to receive. Interesting thing about Rumbo was that 30 minutes after sending me the unsubscribe link email, but before I had got around to acting upon it, I received another promotional email from them. Was this a last ditch effort to show me an amazing offer to change my mind about unsubscribing, was it a chance to just have one last go at annoying me, or was it simply a very timely coincidence – I will never know.

UK metasearch company Skyscanner (a company I’ve long admired for their leadership in map based travel search – maps are a big part of the future of travel search, but that is a very different topic to today’s post!) had a very clean unsubscribe page with an easy way to opt out immediately from the types of publicity I no longer wanted; but the best opt out process goes to Australian travel agency chain Flight Centre. Not only did they make it easy, but they tried to gain some insight into the reason for why I was leaving them. Part of that page is shown below.

I’m not sure having the best unsubscribe process is an award you would want to be telling the whole world about, but it does show a commitment to treating customers with respect. Just because someone is leaving your marketing database does not mean that they do not want to use the services of your company, so don’t risk turning them off as they attempt to unsubscribe.

We spoke a lot about email marketing best practice at the recent Eye for Travel customer centricity conference, so following with the same theme, I saw this recent announcement that British Airways had won something called the prize for Innovation in E-mail Marketing in this year’s Econsultancy Innovation Awards

The campaign targeted British Airways’ Executive Club members to drive application downloads based on the user’s specific smartphone. It combined an understanding of historical user data of e-mail on mobile devices, to make sure that members received the news of the application in the format best suited for the device they most commonly use to check their e-mail. The award recognises the success of the campaign, which saw British Airways achieve more than 70,000 clicks and which doubled download targets over the course of the marketing campaign. e-Dialog worked with British Airways’ other creative agencies, Agency.com and OgilvyOne, on the project.

Before posting, to be fair on Kayak and Vueling, I went back and tried to unsubscribe once again, around half a day after originally trying this process. The Vueling page was working again, but the process still is not easy as I have type in my email (rather than it being pre-populated in the form) and then they tell me they will send me an email with the next step! The Kayak problem was a little different, as on the email they had two options written as Manage price alerts and Unsubscribe to all price alerts. The latter link still gave me a blank page, but the former enabled me to unsubscribe. Originally I had only tried the Unsubscribe to all price alerts link which still appears to be broken.

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