SAS® underpins sales-driven marketing at Haven Holidays

The UK's biggest privately-owned holiday company uses SAS® to gain customer insight and enable faster and more effective campaigns for its Haven Holidays brand – with up to 100 campaigns running each month

Part of Bourne Leisure, Haven Holidays operates 35 award-winning holiday parks, serving 2.5 million holidaymakers annually and providing holiday homes for 23,000 families. SAS® Marketing Automation is enabling Haven to better understand and target customers, to improve responsiveness and campaign effectiveness, have an impact on revenues and speed up production of campaigns. Previously, Haven used an Ingres database. "We wanted to increase customer segmentation and learning from campaigns," says Kat Miller, Senior Database Executive. "The old system was becoming a problem in the time and effort required to run campaigns, with little time for analysis." "We were held back," adds Emma Miller, Direct Marketing & Database Manager. "The annual brochure launch, our biggest campaign, used to take five weeks to put together. With SAS the campaign is out in under a week. It was also difficult to get results, to look at conversions. Now we have reports you can run any time."

Our annual brochure launch, our biggest campaign, used to take five weeks. With SAS we can do that in less than a week.

Emma Miller
Direct Marketing & Database Manager, Haven Holidays

Retaining customers, attracting new holiday makers

The retention-focused team handles all below-the-line marketing, providing data and insights for direct mail, email and brochure campaigns. 40% of bookings are returning customers, the remainder new holidaymakers. With consumers still being very careful with finances, Miller says many leave booking to the last minute, with the weather a critical factor. "A reasonably significant proportion of business comes within a few days of guest arrival, so it's very tricky from a marketing perspective." Travel technology specialist Ellion Insight has worked alongside Haven from the start of the project, eventually choosing SAS from an original long-list of 25 suppliers. "SAS was the only one able to provide the solution we wanted from 'cradle to grave'—from pulling in any kind of raw data onwards," says Jane Knight, Projects Director, Ellion Insight.

The Haven marketing team supplies insights to more than 100 internal clients. For example: the 35 parks each have their own marketing budget, with data from Miller's team used for activities like customer upgrade campaigns. The insights also support outbound campaigns via the call centre. Internally, SAS underpins direct mail, email and brochure fulfilment. "We do lots of customer insight and reporting," says Emma. "Our objective is to be far more analytical." Data sources routinely accessed include all previous holidaymakers, customers showing an interest in buying a holiday home, and customers that have already bought one.

SAS now enables effective data selection for 100 campaigns monthly: over 1,200 annually. This includes brochure fulfilment every day for both caravan sales and holidays. "We do many campaign and insight reports each day: we're very sales-focused," Emma says. "SAS enables us to deliver those numbers to the people who need them." For instance, across everyone requesting a brochure the previous day, managers can see if they have never requested one before, if they've holidayed with Haven previously, their Experian Mosaic consumer classification, and so on. Haven's Head of Marketing Communications receives a synopsis, which is then passed to director level.

New knowledge, new campaigns

The insights enable improved decision-making and greater agility, as Emma Miller explains. "Our MD asked for analysis leading up to half-term holidays around critical price changes, to understand their impact on new and repeat business. We did it quickly using SAS, and it was something we could never do before. We found the price increases and decreases had a bigger impact on new business—a key focus area. That type of knowledge is very important. Today's new business creates tomorrow's returning customers, so it's very important for our sales funnel." SAS has enabled Haven to explore new areas like trigger campaigns. Before, it couldn't define what type of holidaymaker went on to buy a holiday home. Kat Miller built a SAS model that covers a holidaymaker's propensity to buy, creating a profile used to score everyone arriving onsite. "That's the basis of a trigger campaign, with results delivered weekly to caravan sales teams. They know which holidaymakers to target, those with the greatest likelihood to buy a home, with VIP check-in, BBQ invites, and so on. It's proving very successful: one manager made four sales in one weekend, which is phenomenal." This is a key way to generate higher revenue; while holiday sales are extremely important, caravan sales represent higher margins.

With a recent upgrade to SAS® Marketing Automation 5.1, Haven saw further improvements in speed and performance. The upgrade was initiated by Ellion Insight, which provided strong project management and business consultancy services to enable delivery on time and to agreed budgets. Ellion was also able to safeguard the smooth provision of services to support the technical upgrade. Haven also engaged with SAS Professional Services to further ensure minimal impact to project time scales and the business itself, including project management support and technical expertise to upgrade the test and production environments. The upgrade took place over a weekend, after which SAS provided testing support and knowledge transfer to users. The outcome was a smooth migration and successful handover.

Campaign uplift

Emma Miller says, "We've seen fantastic time savings, efficiency gains, and improved uplift in campaigns. And we're starting to see rewards in terms of revenue." Kat Miller adds, "Before, we were writing code. Now, we can do more exciting and intellectually challenging work." In terms of senior management, Emma says, "With the help of SAS we're changing people's knowledge of customer habits, almost on a weekly basis. For example, you might assume people requesting a brochure aren't going to book tomorrow, they're planning ahead, maybe six to eight weeks. When we looked at the figures, however, 75% of requesters in one week were buying for that week or the next. We hadn't seen that before, and it influenced the messaging we put into the brochure fulfilment." In email campaigns, Haven can also react far more quickly. "If we have an idea in the morning we can email something that day," Emma says. "If sales aren't where we'd like them to be, we can take action and send a last-minute offer on a Friday to selected customers. That was unheard of before. SAS means we can react fast and have an effect on business sales that week."

Dawn Macey, Head of Marketing Communications, adds: "our SAS deployment was a success due to a combination of factors, including the effort put in by SAS Professional Services, Haven itself and Ellion. We believe the data quality elements in our platform are now second to none, with the adaptability and usage of our data made very easy indeed."




Improve customer segmentation and learning from campaigns, provide new customer insight and reporting, speed up campaign planning and execution, improve sales and revenues.


An integrated SAS Marketing Automation 5.1 and campaign management platform including SAS Data Integration Studio, SAS Customer Intelligence, SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Web Report Studio, JMP software, SAS Information Delivery Portal and SAS Digital Marketing.


Ensuring sales-driven marketing; gaining new levels of customer insight for improved decision making and more targeted and responsive messaging, better supporting 100 campaigns each month-with a five-fold increase in performance for some campaigns.

The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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