Automation to increase margin and loyalty

Leading European online travel organisation Otravo aims to simplify the holiday booking process by providing users with competitive offers from multiple sources, enabling customers in more than 50 countries to save money while booking flights and holiday packages. Otravo tasked DEPT® with overhauling its marketing automation strategy to deliver more personal and profitable content, drive economy of scale across its suite of booking sites and maximise growth. The project was delivered in tandem with upskilling the in-house digital marketing team to ensure ongoing successful performance.

The ambition

Otravo’s ambition is to become the go-to platform for travellers through its network of ‘local heros’ (e.g. Vliegtickets.nl, WTC.nl, Vliegtickets.be, Fylgstolen.se and Greitai.lt) and meta booking sites (e.g. Travelgenio, Tripmonster, Travel2be and Schipholtickets).

One of the most significant opportunities DEPT® addressed was how to grow revenue share via owned traffic by increasing the relevance of customer content using marketing automation, making Otravo less reliant on paid channels. Here’s how we did it…

Bridging the gap

DEPT® helped Otravo better connect with potential customers in a personal but scalable way to increase conversion, margin and brand loyalty through owned channels. Otravo wasn’t leveraging the power of its Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform, which is where DEPT® stepped in to bridge the gap. 

After completing a full audit of the marketing automation and email campaign set-up of Vliegtickets.nl (one of Otravo’s ‘local hero’ travel booking sites and the biggest in the Benelux), we discovered significant growth potential in:

Fixing the basics

After migrating existing, static email set ups to journey builder, we made it easier for Otravo’s digital marketing team to establish engagement journeys independently. Using custom integrations, we pushed data from the Vliegtickets.nl platform and CRM into Salesforce Marketing Cloud. We used SQL to define the right audience alongside AMPscript to personalise email journeys to improve margins and transactions. 

Generating insights over reports

By combining Salesforce Marketing Cloud data (open rates, recovery rates) with Google Analytics stats (sessions, transactions), we demonstrated the potential impact of Vliegtickets.nl through a real-time dashboard that translated insights into actions. This enabled us to distinguish the vastly different approach to booking flights, hotels and cars between two different audience types – business and leisure travellers – that would inform our strategy.

Building a centre of excellence

Alongside the Otravo team, we defined the necessary roles and responsibilities needed to drive future growth. Involving team members in our strategic direction enabled us to provide ‘on the job’ training in setting up, monitoring and improving personalised email journeys to deliver results. 

DEPT® implemented this improved set up and trained the in-house marketing team in less than a month.

Enhancing the customer experience with relevant content

Customer insights and preferences were also used to develop the cross selling solution. We analysed lead times of flight bookings, car rentals, hotel bookings and group composition (single, two or more passengers), to discover strong variations. After discovering that the majority of single bookings are for business travellers and that groups of two or more are most often leisure, we implemented a strategy to send different content to business and leisure travellers that best suits their needs; enhancing the customer experience and improving conversion.

Prioritising growth acceleration

DEPT® analysed the customer journey to identify two complementary solutions that would help to drive growth: an abandoned cart solution to reintroduce prospects to the buying journey, and a cross sell opportunity to drive sales after customers purchased flights. 

The abandoned cart solution was developed with engagement in mind. After analysing historical data for defined customer segments, DEPT® built message flows that delivered the right message at the right time for different audiences. We also used personalised content, such as the user’s flight information, to direct the customer to a personalised checkout page based upon their individual preferences and behaviours.


After simplifying and personalising the booking process, DEPT®’s strategy generated 50% more margin than originally estimated in the first four months. The solution can be easily scaled across all other ‘local hero’ and meta sites to further maximise ROI for Otravo.

DEPT® has established the fundamentals for Otravo to get the most out of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. As soon as the market recovers from Covid-19, Otravo will be in a strong position to reactivate abandoned cart customers while driving cross sales of hotels and car rentals in a way that is personal to the user.


Head of Strategy

Peter van Alphen

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