Being a hotelier, everything you do start from the check-in to check-out is to build a strong relationship with your guests, so they come to stay again and again.
But there is only so much you can do as your ability to convert them into repeat customers is limited to them being on your property.
So what about the potential customers or customers who are not on your property? Then, there are customers who set out for journeys or planning to or waiting for the right time and offer.
What about them? Not being able to reach out to them is like leaving money on the table! Hoteliers need to find ways to communicate with their customers and potential customers on a regular basis.
What could be better than email? As that’s the most personal, credible, intimate, and authentic form of building long-term relationships for marketers.
So, what you need is :
- Right email marketing strategies
- Email marketing tools customized for hoteliers
- Competent marketers
Marketers or marketing agencies are something you will be hiring but we can definitely help with learning the nuts and bolts of email marketing.
What You Will Learn In This Guide?
- What is Email Marketing?
- Is Email Marketing Dead?
- Why Do Hotels Need Email Marketing?
- Advantages of Email Marketing
- Challenges of Email Marketing
- Types of Emails Hotels Can Send
- Step-by-Step Planning Of Your Email Campaign
- Creating Your Emails
- Tips, Strategies & Essentials For Your Email Campaign
- Email Marketing Checklists
Why Do Hotels Need Email Marketing?
To Extend Your Brand’s Online Presence
In the age of social media, your hotel brand definitely must-have social media presence across the platforms.
However, email marketing is another way to extend your brand’s presence, and that too in a much more intimate and authentic way.
Email marketing will help you to grow your online audience, promote your brand across channels and nurture leads that you get through social media.
Further, emails can be used to promote your social media accounts as well as to circulate the audience across different platforms.
One of the examples can be when you’re sending pre-arrival emails to your customers, you can always ask them to give you a “Like” on your Facebook page.
To encourage them, you can also offer them a discount on their next stay or this one of your hotels if they like and follow your social media accounts.
To Build Guest Rapport
Email marketing is highly essential for hoteliers building a long-term contact list of potential customers, customers, and repeat customers.
With email marketing campaigns, you get this unique opportunity to personalize the guest service and promote your brand relations through one-to-one communication.
Building contacts will help you gain communication with three types of customers or three stages of customers, to be precise :
- Potential customers who are planning for holidays or hotel stay
- Customers who are already on board with you
- Customers who have experienced your services
With kind or stage of customers, you will build a rapport with them to initiate a long-term relationship.
This doesn’t only increase the chances of repeat customers but also helps you gain word-of-mouth, direct customer recommendation, reviews and so much more.
Not to mention, it helps you provide a much more seamless and transparent customer experience before, on-board, and after the stay at your hotel.
You also will be able to send pre-arrival emails such as booking confirmation, updates, additional offers and so much more.
Having your customers through email also allows you to upsell them more of the amenities or packages you have within your hotel services.
The time period between when a customer books the stay and arrives at your hotel is critical to their guest experience.
With emails, you have a chance to optimize the experience, helping them out in every stage in advance, reducing any confusion, conflicts, and discomfort for them.
Pre-arrival emails also present you with a great window to cross-sell other hospitality products and services to your customers.
Here you can encourage them to go for an impulse purchase. Also, they will get all the required information regarding their stay such as dinner reservations, arrival times, etc.
To Keep Your Guests Engaged
Email marketing builds rapport with the guests and as per the last point, you already know how that works and helps your business.
But if you ask, how? Then it has to do with the ability of email marketing campaigns to engage with the guests whether they are existing, past guests, or even potential ones.
Engaging with the guests builds rapport with them and keeps the process smooth providing them with a seamless customer experience.
To Get Guest Feedback
When it comes to improving your hotel services and packages, there is nothing like direct guest feedback.
It is so valuable that businesses have to spend tons of money through outsourcing surveys and different ways to get first-hand feedback from customers.
Here through emails, you can get guest feedback easily helping you to improve your offering and brand reputation as well.
Through the post-stay email, you will get your chance to collect valuable feedback for your hotel from the customers.
When you’re asking the customers through email regarding their stay just after they check out, they can give you a fresh and detailed response on it.
These emails also can be your ‘Thank You’ emails where you show gratitude to your guest for their stay and encourage them to stay again in the future.
You can also invite them to your loyalty program to reap benefits for their next stay. Post-stay emails are a great way to build guest-hotelier rapport further than what you already established in the pre-arrival emails.
Step-by-Step Planning Of Your Email Campaign
Build A Contact List
Building a contact list is certainly the most important aspect of planning your email campaign.
It is the quality of your contact list complemented with your campaign that determines the sales conversions. Hoteliers utilize a good contact list to generate leads and convert them into sales as well.
In fact, if you don’t have a quality contact list in place, even with the best email marketing strategies and competent email marketing campaigns, you won’t see much result.
So start planning on how you are going to build a quality contact list. If you’re fairly new, you need to place a sign-up form on your website to get the email addresses of the visitors.
You need to find different ways to retrieve email addresses from your guests and potential customers as well.
Make sure they are highly relevant and interested in hotel stays. Usually, the best contacts are the ones who often plan their holidays out and go out at least twice or thrice for outings.
So if you are into their contact and communicating with them, sending them emails at the right time, and with exciting offers, you will get a sale from them.
Also, make sure not to delete your contacts. You can certainly remove them from your email campaign but make sure you have those. They might be more convertible through different channels or more effective after some time.
Segment Your Contact List
Segmenting your list is an essential practice to make your contact list more effective and convertible into sales.
When you have your current list, it will certainly be mixed up with all kinds of contacts such as your existing guests, previous guests, subscribers, booking inquiries, new guests, and many more.
What you need to consider is that you cannot send the same email to everyone as you don’t want the same thing for everyone.
You need to run different types of email campaigns for specific types of contacts in your lists. So you need to segment the similar or same ones together.
Segmentation of lists can be based on different factors, types of customers, their preferences, locations and so much more.
Hoteliers usually segment their list into the following categories :
- Domestic & international travelers
- New & fresh booking inquiries
- Frequency and duration of visits
- Guests who booked but have yet to check-in
- Previous guests who checked out
- Deals & Special sign-ups
- Luxury and Business travelers
- Guests who are currently staying at your hotel
- Guests who have canceled their bookings
After segmentation of the list, it becomes easy and much more efficient to target them with the right and relevant emails.
For Example :
When you email to specific segments such as Business travelers, you can focus more on presenting your conference rooms and meeting rooms.
You can highlight the amenities that business people prefer to look at such as luxury rooms, WiFi speed, and more.
Tips, Strategies & Essentials For Your Email Campaign
Always Start With A-List
Before you begin with anything, the best strategy is to start with the list. To really convert your subscribers into loyal, paying recurring customers, you need to have a strong email marketing list.
A strong email marketing list means highly relevant motivated potential customers or leads who are capable to buy your products.
A quality email list only leads to higher conversion rates starting from higher email open rates, more click-through rates, and greater engagement.
So focusing initially on building the quality list is always the best way to go. Because even if you manage to pull off the greatest email marketing campaign of all time, without a quality email list, it won’t simply work.
Evaluate Your Existing List
As already stated the significance of a quality email list is the most important aspect of an email marketing campaign, you need to evaluate your current one.
Surely, you will be building a new email list but looking at your current email list will help you understand how to craft it better.
You might have various tracking metrics such as email open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
Open rates, specifically tell you which subscribers are engaging with your content, and which ones are not.
Also, if they are engaging :
- Which kind of emails they are mostly engaging with?
- Which time seems to be getting the most attention?
- Which email that gets opened has maximum click-throughs?
And, there is more to probe figuring out as much data you can gain regarding the performance of your current list.
When you know there are subscribers who are opening your emails, and then, there are others who’re not. You clearly have here two segments within your existing list.
You can try sending re-engagement email campaign emails to the subscribers who are no longer opening your emails.
This new campaign will target these inactive subscribers to remind them why they have subscribed in the first place.
You would be adding new exciting customized offers and discounts to these subscribers to pull them in.
The idea is to reconnect them, make them excited about your products or the deals and win them back, so they start engaging with your emails after that.
Even further this campaign can get into two segments of the subscribers where the first of them are redeemable, hence you will get them to re-engage leading to more email opens and conversions.
On another side, there will be still subscribers who won’t be interested anymore in your emails as won’t be opening your emails, those you need to drop to refresh your email list.
Dropping the inactive contacts from your lists will help you focus more on the people that get you higher conversions.
Even though it will be hard for you to cut hard-won subscribers from your list but this can dramatically improve your open rates.
Grow Your List
Building and evaluating lists, both are essential to growing the list.
To grow your list consistently even if you seem to have quite a number of active subscribers is required practice.
Make sure you have included a simple, easy-to-fill subscribe form on your website with a lead magnet attractive enough to pull potential subscribers in.
The subscription form must have all the essential details to ask but make sure it is not too lengthy or complicated.
Make it less hassling for subscribers to fill out the form. The subscription process shouldn’t be too long or complicated.
Another great way to increase your subscribers is to ask guests to subscribe in person while they are checking in or out of your hotel.
Focus On Branding
There are too many businesses in the hotel industry sending out hundreds of emails every day to a potential consumer who might be engaging with few for some time.
People are already getting so many sales messages that it becomes impossible to separate one from another. Chances are, you sending another will only going to be either overlooked, not opened, or even deleted or spammed.
To really convert your subscribers who might be inclined to go for holidays after some time, is to offer them heavy discounts and deals that they cannot refuse.
And that too needs to be coming from a more authentic and unique place for them to remember. Hence, comes the branding, and that’s what sets you apart from other hotels.
Branding impacts how you approach them, your email design look, your copy, subject line, color scheme, offers, logo, and other visual elements of your email creating an impression.
If you offer something unique and better with a great impression, they are going to remember you, and even give you a chance as well.