Hotel Email Marketing | Unleashing Effective Campaigns for Steady Growth in 2020
Hotel email marketing is a crucial marketing feature that has the lowest investment and possibly the highest returns. Learn how to run effective hotel email marketing campaigns to grow bookings and sales round the year.
Email marketing has always been the go-to choice for marketing experts. Not only does it have a high open rate, but it also is one of the most effective ways to stay connected with your customers.
The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive enterprises which means that efficient marketing is absolutely essential to a hotel’s success. Yet, like any company, hotels have a small marketing budget, so simply throwing money at ads will not yield the main outcomes you like, unless you have a strong hotel email marketing strategy.
For every dollar you spend on email marketing campaigns, you can get an average return of $32 (DMA, 2018). This implies that hotel email marketing is one of the cheapest ways to spur sales and bookings. This sort of exceptional ROI, of course, does not come without good planning and a great marketing strategy. To get the most value out of your marketing budget, you must master the most important facets of a successful hotel email marketing campaign.
And, that’s precisely what this article is about. So, without further delay, let’s tell you how to master hotel email marketing on your own.
Getting Started With Hotel Email Marketing
Email is the dominant channel for industries-wide customer acquisition and customer retention and hospitality is no exception. A 2017 survey by DMA and Demand Metric found that email marketing was used by 100 percent of U.S. marketers who work in travel and hospitality. It is also by millennial the most preferred channel of communication and has a conversion rate 3x higher than the social media.
If you are comparatively new to this, you might get overwhelmed by the jargon prevalent in the industry – ESP, open rate, WYSIWYG….the list goes on! Hence, we recommend that you learn about the basics of email marketing before moving on with this topic.
Email marketing drives more conversions than any other channel, so it’s time you take full advantage of it. Regardless of the size of your property, the basics of hotel email marketing covered in this section may be adapted to suit your needs and grow your business.
Getting an Email Service Provider (ESP)
You will need to choose an Email Service Provider (ESP) — a network through which you can send emails. If you already have a management system for the house. We recommend that you first test out a free ESP, no matter the size of your hotel. Then explore some of the affordable options which include additional features as your database and experience grow. You will find an ESP that can cater to them, no matter what your needs are.
Check out the below comparison between the best ESP for 2020 (Source: MooSend) –
Importing/Gathering Customer Data
All your future email marketing activities are based on the information you keep about your guests— the more information you have, the better (and easier) you can personalize your emails!
If you already have the data, convert it into an Excel file (possibly .CSV extension as most providers accept this format). If not, you should start working on a way to acquire customer data. The easiest way is to run opt-in campaigns and ads. For instance, offering a discount on booking for the first 50 users who register for your newsletter.
Understanding the Campaigns
When immersing yourself in the evolving hotel email marketing, it is important to understand the two basic types of campaigns: one-time and automated. These are the broader categories, and a lot of other campaign types fall under them. Learn more about the different types of email campaigns.
- One-Time Campaigns – It’s easy to take a one-size-fits-all strategy for one-time campaigns, and just deliver a single ‘generic’ offer to your entire database. By far the most common type of email you see in your mailbox, one-time campaigns contain virtually everything from announcements and sales to updates and notifications. One-time campaigns are the foundation of most email marketing strategies because of their fast go – to-market time, strong results, and wide reach.
- Automated Campaigns – Automated emails have an extremely high lifetime value since they can operate for months or even years while having only periodic updates or changes. In addition, automated emails have on average 71% higher open- rates than one-time campaigns due to their segmentation and customization features. Examples of automated campaigns include pre-arrivals, up-sells, welcome emails, cashback/discount offers, promotions for birthdays, etc.
Designing the Email
In order to run an effective and timely email marketing program, you need to determine who to aim, when to reach them best, and with what post. You can use the customer data (that you uploaded) to understand your customer preferences and accordingly design the body of an email. There are a lot of FREE email templates to use.
For example, you could email upcoming guests with a chance for them to upgrade their room a short time before their confirmed check-in date. An easy strategy is proof of how effective the basics of email marketing can be. With it, you would get your visitors pumped for their visit, while at the same time upselling your deals.
Tracking the Campaigns
Depending on what you want to determine, the success of an email marketing campaign can be measured using different metrics. Usually the basic Email metrics provided by ESPs are:
- Open-Rate: Percentage of recipients that open your email. This indicates whether recipients are interested in receiving emails from you and how engaging your subject line is.
- Click-through Rate: Percentage of recipients clicking on the email. This is how you can tell if your email content is strong enough to make the reader want to click through and take the action that you specified in the email.
- Bounce Rate: Percentage of mails that were rejected by the recipient’s mail server. There are different reasons why your email could bounce, spam being the most apparent, so this measure shows if there is an issue with your campaign or service provider.
- Unsubscribe Rate: Percentage of users who unsubscribed after receiving an email. You should monitor that metric as it indicates whether or not users are interested in your mailings. If this rate increases, it’s a sign that your recipients are unhappy with the content or the frequency, perhaps.
These are the 5 core things that you need to take care of when building a hotel email marketing strategy. Once done, you are ready to design snappy campaigns to attract more customers.
Hotel email Marketing | 4 Campaigns from the Pros
At this point, you must have realized the importance of hotel email marketing. Not only is it an exceptional way for you to build direct communication with prospects and guests, but it also helps you increase bookings and grab every possible opportunity.
To further help you with your hotel email marketing strategy, here are 4 tried-and-tested ideas that rely on timing and data to deliver your hotel’s targeted message while delivering exceptional results.
PS* If you aren’t already using hotel email marketing, make sure you start doing it ASAP!
#1 – The THANK YOU Email
A thank you goes a long way in nurturing relationships with your hotel’s guests. This email is used to thank your guests for choosing to stay with you. It can be a trigger-based campaign that can be sent out on successful booking and a week after the guests check out. (the latter can be used to collect feedback as well).
Send it once booking is confirmed.
It’s the first step in building your hotel’s personal relationship with your guest— especially if they booked through an OTA. It helps reduce their risk of canceling, which makes them feel respected even before they walk through the door. It is also a chance to introduce ancillary services that are available at your hotel.
#2 – The Intro/Itinerary Email
This campaign gives the guests all the relevant information for their upcoming stay. Possible details to include are the amenities of your hotel, an area guide, a local weather forecast and a timely event calendar. You want to highlight things that might make their arrival more comfortable or provide them entertainment during the stay.
Send it a couple of days before your guests check-in.
It’s a great opportunity for you to upsell the prices on your room. This email is also a way for you to let the guest know that you’re looking forward to receiving them, and to use the guest details you’ve previously collected to target them with relevant offers.
#3 – The ‘Post-Stay‘ Follow-up Email
You’re thanking visitors for their stay with this campaign and sharing how pleased you’re that they picked your hotel. This is also a good time to ask for feedback; for example, you might ask them to complete a survey in return for a small reward. You can use targeted messages to encourage guests to sign up for future offers based on their preferences as well as request feedback on a particular service that you know they’ve used.
Send it within 1-2 days of checkout.
You can build a long-term relationship with your guests by showing them that you really care about their experiences with you. Moreover, it’s your best bet to collect feedback directly while their stay is still fresh in mind.
#4 – The ‘Loyalty‘ Reminder Email
This campaign should only be sent to those guests who have subscribed to your emails, and should be highly personalized. Bind your email content back to a specific detail based on their previous stay or preferences you’ve collected from the “Thanks for Booking” campaign.
Send this frequently, but don’t be Spammy!
This email campaign fosters loyalty. For instance, you can offer a reduced rate to encourage repeat bookings or a referral offer so previous customers promote your brand.
There are endless promotional options that you can carry out for your company, based on your CRM program and email marketing provider. Use these tips and pointers to build a robust hotel email marketing strategy. No matter which ESP you choose or what campaigns, make sure that you are relevant and helpful.
Being extra pushy with your emails won’t help you drive results. Hence, devise a strategy at your discretion. As usual, if you think you need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to connect with us.