Travel Agency Marketing: Are Your Emails Legal?

The rise in technology and electronic communication has understandably given rise to an influx of new legislation over the past couple of decades, and these laws are continually being updated. This means that your marketing strategy needs to reflect current requirements.

Whether focusing on search engine optimization, a YouTube channel, or a different approach to your travel agency marketing plan, it’s important to know the laws regulating these practices. You must follow the applicable regulations if you want sustainable growth.

Marketing emails are a popular method for many travel agents and agencies because they can reach your target audience with minimal effort, which is a good digital marketing strategy. But did you know that such marketing efforts may be violating laws?

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Spam and Data Laws

Below is a brief overview of some prominent laws that could apply to your travel agency.


This Act establishes rules and requirements for commercial emails. It includes messages which have the primary purpose of advertisement or promotion of a product or service. This applies to all marketing emails, whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer.

What Does the CAN-SPAM Act Say About Emails?

For starters, the Act requires companies like travel agencies to provide email recipients with the ability to unsubscribe or stop receiving the emails. Here is a look at some of the other provisions:

  • Emails cannot include misleading information in the header
  • The email must be clearly identified as an advertisement
  • The purpose of the email must be included in the subject line
  • You must include the location of your travel agency somewhere in the email

Anyone that opts out of your marketing emails must be removed from the mailing list within 10 business days. It should also be easy and free to opt-out. Penalties for violating any part of the CAN-SPAM Act can be as much as $16,000 per email.

General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a privacy and security law in Europe that applies to any company that does business with people in the European Union.

What Does the GDPR Say About Emails?

Europe’s GDPR doesn’t focus specifically or exclusively on email communications. However, many of its regulations apply.

GDPR Data Protection

Travel agents must process data from their clients and prospective clients in order to perform the duties of their jobs, so data protection is an important consideration. The GDPR includes the following protection and accountability principles:

  • Processing data must be done lawfully and in a transparent manner
  • Data should be processed only for legitimate purposes
  • Consent must be given before data can be collected
  • The least amount of data possible should be collected
  • Personal data must be accurate
  • The data should be stored no longer than necessary
  • Integrity and confidentiality should be ensured at all times
  • The collector of the data is responsible for proving compliance with the GDPR

The Rights of Subjects under gdpr

Each person who has their data collected by your travel agency has the right:

  • To be informed
  • Of access
  • To rectification
  • To erasure
  • To restrict processing
  • To data portability
  • To object

The GDPR covers much more than this, so if you work with customers in the EU, you may want to be familiar with its requirements.

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is intended to protect Canadians from electronic threats. This law applies to any form of electronic message, including emails, that deals with commercial activity. You do not have to live or operate a travel business in Canada for this law to apply to you and your travel agency.

CASL terms also apply to any entity that sends emails to Canada, so if you have any customers in the country, this will likely affect you. Travel agents must get permission from the recipient prior to sending any emails. CASL caused amendments to another Canadian regulation known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Canada’s PIPEDA

PIPEDA is a Canadian law that dictates how businesses, like your travel agency, can gather, use, and share personal information. For example, a travel agent is not allowed to harvest data.

Covered Data by pipeda

If the data can be used for identification purposes, it is considered personal information and is covered by PIPEDA. Examples include name, address, education, and photographs.

PIPEDA Principles

Similar to Europe’s GDPR rules, PIPEDA’s principles include:

California’s Consumer Privacy Act

California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) applies to travel agencies and other companies that do business in the state. The Act requires businesses to respect their clients’ and email recipients’ rights to deletion of data, the choice to opt out, and data access, among other things.

  • Accountability
  • Consent
  • Accuracy
  • Transparency
  • Disclosure
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CCPA Non-Compliance Penalties

Fines for violating CCPA regulations depend on whether the violation was intentional. Travel agencies that unintentionally violate the Act’s provisions could face a fine of up to $2,500. However, if a travel business purposefully breaks CCPA regulations, it may be forced to pay up to $7,500.

Travel Agent Marketing and Compliance with Laws

Developing a social media strategy, building a travel agency website, and adding content to your social media platforms can be extremely helpful to drive traffic, connect with potential clients, and break into your most desirable market. However, these are not always easy tasks, especially when there are so many laws to account for.

Email marketing as a travel agent is a low-cost and effective marketing strategy, but people tend to overlook emails that they don’t feel provide valuable information. Ensure your marketing communication is user-friendly, has appealing graphic design, and adds value to your clients and potential customers.

Keeping track of the seemingly ever-changing regulations and travel industry online marketing can seem impossible, but Travel Industry Solutions (TIS) has you covered. Our legal documents and community of experts can provide the guidance you need. Plus, we offer resources to help you with your travel agency marketing ideas and digital marketing strategies. TIS has everything small travel agencies need for sustainable growth.

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