At the end of October, the up! team sent its first-ever e-newsletter. Pressing send on an e-mail that’s heading to nearly 4,000 inboxes is never a relaxing thing to do. Fortunately, the stress of the task is less when you know the people on the receiving end already love your brand.

The publication had been seeking a fresh way to connect with WestJet travellers and up! readers, and inspire them to travel to destinations in the WestJet universe. Sara Samson, assistant editor of up!, says the decision to create a digital newsletter was an easy one. “It’s something we’d been discussing for quite a while — it was really a question of when, not if. It’s something Avenue has been doing well for a long time, with the Weekender, Food + Drink and Style newsletters, so we had an excellent case study to work with.”

Defining editorial

up! Traveller heads to inboxes on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Each issue includes four or five stories: A news item focusing on upcoming events in a destination; a food-related piece; a “What We Love This Month” story, which can cover anything from hotels and festivals to travel accessories; an insider perspective on a destination; and a feature from the up! print magazine.

Reaching the right audience

Reaching the right audience was a top priority when building the up! Traveller. The team analyzed data from, where the e-newsletter stories reside. Samson identified a key demographic — avid travellers, the majority of whom are female and living in Canada — which she leveraged to create a send list, make editorial choices and even determine send times.

Assessing analytics

E-newsletter stats suggest the stories are reaching their targets. The most recent up! Traveller had a 32.2% open rate – almost double the industry average, and a click-through rate of 11%, compared to an industry average of 3.9%. “I’m excited to see the open and click-through rates so high above industry averages. It’s encouraging because it tells us people are reading the stories. I think we produce some really great content in the magazine and on the website, and it’s great to know people are enjoying it.”

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