Case Study


European hospitality experts keep customers engaged during pandemic lockdown with personalized email journeys

88 %
Open Rate
9.3 %
Increase in New Leads

HotelSpecials is a world-class booking website in the leisure industry. The company is dedicated to offering the perfect stay in a hotel, for every travel party, every budget, and every occasion. The customer-centric company is part of BookerZzz, the European leisure specialist with more than 15 years of experience. BookerZzz offers attractive travel deals for more than 4,000 hotels and over 700 holiday parks.

With a strong digital presence, BookerZzz operates 19 websites in nine different countries. At offices in Haarlem (Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), and Stockholm (Sweden), a team of 110 vacation enthusiasts works to help more than one million happy customers per year to experience their perfect stay.

The Challenge

No other industry was ravaged by Covid-19 like travel and hospitality. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, travel practically shut down overnight. When most countries closed their borders and initiated lockdowns, the industry was hit by an avalanche of canceled vacations.

As customers found themselves stranded at home, travel providers issued vouchers in the monetary value of canceled bookings. But with no end of lockdown in sight, sentiments grew negative towards the delayed gratification. Addressing the situation, HotelSpecials wanted to keep customers connected during the hiatus and maintain interest in their brand.

The personalized campaign in Selligent helped us build a trustworthy environment for customers during this difficult time. We let them know they were safe with HotelSpecials; that they could use their money whenever they wanted again and trust a booking to be canceled in an acceptable time frame.

Frederik Jansson

CEO, HotelSpecials

The Path To Success

Faced with the new reality of pandemic shutdown, HotelSpecials abandoned its promotional approach to email newsletters. Customers were not allowed to book vacations for the moment, leaving no available data for recommendations. Working with Marigold Engage, integrated with customers’ voucher balances and profile data, the team reduced email frequency and increased situational relevance along four strategies:

  1. Informational newsletter sharing strategies about creating a holiday vibe at home and staying safe during Covid-19.
  2. Voucher balance emails built on Selligent templates, inspiring travelers with recommendations for future travels. 
  3. Updates on local Covid-19 laws and regulations, personalized via Selligent according to customers’ location and desired travel destinations.
  4. Latest news surrounding the pandemic sent to customers and new leads with helpful content.


The personalized email campaign proved effective in reaching customers during severe lockdown. It also built a connection, establishing HotelSpecials as a trusted and helpful partner when restrictions started to lift. When travel began appearing feasible again, the emails with personalized recommendations generated significant engagement and inspired customers to use those vouchers.

The first wave of informational newsletters suffered only a 0.3% dip in open rates during hard lockdown–a tremendous achievement, as they lost very few customers and maintained strong engagement. Between April and May 2021, they bounced back with a 2-4% increase in open rates. Additional highlights included:

“Thanks to Selligent’s flexible templates and integrating our voucher balances, we were able to switch gears from a promotional to an informational approach. We kept in touch with our audience and reversed course once the hardest parts of the pandemic were over,”

said Frederik Jansson, CEO of HotelSpecials.

What can you do with Marigold Engage?