Email marketing is one of the most viable and cost-effective ways for your hotel to reach guests and boost direct bookings.
NB: This is an article from SiteMinder
Marketing through multiple channels, both traditional and emerging, can significantly increase costs at your hotel. Email is a simple way to market effectively on a lower budget, and still drives great results. On average, email marketing returns almost $40 for every $1 spent, which gives it a return-on-investment advantage when compared to other marketing channels.
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You need email marketing to attract new guests, engage new customers, retain existing customers, and to promote and build your brand reputation.
While email is a simple tool, there’s still a number of requirements for you to fulfil if you want your emails or email campaigns to be successful. Here are the general steps you need to follow:
1. Build your email databases
First things first – before you can influence any travellers you need a list of email addresses that you can send your content to. The best ways to do this include:
- Implementing a sign-up form on your homepage and in the footers of key pages
- Creating a separate sign-up for your blog
- Requesting guests who book with you to opt-in
- Asking current guests to sign-up in person when they check-in or out
- Getting sign-ups from your social media pages
2. Analyse current email performance
Looking at key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates will give you a good idea of which types of emails and content are working for and which are not.
Based on this you can try:
- Using different types of emails
- Changing your content
- Altering when you send emails and how many you send
- Switching your CTAs
- Updating or switching landing pages
This will allow you to optimise your performance and deliver better results as your list grows.
3. Segment the members of your database
By looking at your email performance, you’ll be able to see who is engaging with your marketing and who isn’t. Try splitting these people into two different lists. For the group who hasn’t been engaging, you could try offering an incentive like a discount or special package to get them interested in you again.
4. Personalise your emails
Following the previous point, you can go further and segment your lists based on demographics, reasons for travel, preferences and motivations, and more. The more data you can collect, the better your segmenting can become.
Personalising your emails will have a very positive result on engagement and your key conversion metrics, earning you more bookings and revenue in the long term. Some figures say a segmented email campaign will deliver a 760% increase in revenue when compared to generic campaigns.
5. Optimise copy and images
How you say something is often just as important as what you’re saying, so it’s important to test different messages to see what people respond to most. Regular A/B testing will help you determine the best content to use.
Additionally, we’ve all heard that the average person remembers 80% of what they see and just 20% of what they read so make sure you feature amazing images in your emails where applicable. Show off your best amenities and your destination’s most breathtaking attractions.
6. Always send follow-ups
It’s always easier to market to current customers than to find new ones. Once a guest has checked it’s vital that you keep them engaged – and they can also do some marketing for you.
Thank them, convince them to stay again with an offer or discount, and ask them to leave a positive review for your hotel if they enjoyed their stay.
7. Keep tracking performance
Constant data collection and performance evaluation is needed to know if your strategies are working. Don;t assume the changes you’ve made are the correct ones. Validate your thoughts by analysing the same key metrics we talked about at the start of the process.
What types of emails should you send your guests?
To ensure you’re never boring or spamming your email contacts, try sending a variety of marketing email types such as:
- Acquisition emails that include offers and incentives that are designed to win bookings quickly.
- Promotional emails that talk about a particular event or service that’s happening within your property or in the local area. Make it clear that it’s something travellers won’t want to miss!