Building long-lasting relationships with guests is critical to the success of independent hotels.
NB: This is an article from Aro Digital
This process isn’t limited to the time a guest is staying in your hotel.
Maintain communication with your guests and build a loyal customer base (and email database) with pre-stay and post-stay emails.
Repeat guests spend the most money, so building a strong relationship with them is a critical factor in your book direct strategy.
Here are our tips for driving loyalty and revenue with post-stay emails.
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1. THE THANK YOU EMAIL
After checking out, the usual guest expectation would be an email with their final bill receipt and thanking them for their stay.
Take this opportunity, while the joy of the stay is still fresh in the guest’s mind, to inject some personality into the message.
Don’t use a boring template email typical of corporate hotels. Your guests had a broad range of choices when booking and they chose your hotel.
Thank them for selecting your property.
If there was an event on while they were there, mention that you hope they enjoyed it.
Tell them how much you liked having them to stay and that you look forward to seeing them again, maybe with a small teaser about an upcoming offer.
2. THE FEEDBACK EMAIL
Online reviews are word of mouth marketing.
Feedback emails are the most powerful emails you could send the guest as they will build your brand and increase your online reputation and brand.
90% of travellers check online reviews prior to booking a hotel.
Send this email within a week of their departure, preferably around 3 days after their stay.
Immediately after they get home is too soon but you also want to ensure the trip is still fresh in their mind; and that they don’t forget the small details which made their stay so special. Make this email easy and quick for them.
Include direct links to Your Google My Business and TripAdvisor listings, Facebook page and Instagram page.
It’s better to let them choose wherever they prefer to share their experience.
In the event your guest didn’t have a good experience, ask them to contact you directly for your immediate attention and provide a specific email address e.g. email@example.com.
3. THE SOCIAL MEDIA INVITATION EMAIL
User generated content is magic dust for marketing your hotel.
Invite your guests to share their own pictures on social media and let them know your social media handles and any hashtags for tagging. You can also invite them to follow you on social media to access special offers and provide a direct link to do so.
Great posts can be shared on your own website too, acting as testimonials for your brand.
4. THE LOYALTY EMAIL
Guest loyalty is one of the most powerful tools hotels have against competitors and rising distribution costs.
The loyalty email is an invitation to stay at your property again and increases the chances of them advocating for you.
In this email, while you are encouraging the guests back to your hotel, you also show your appreciation for their loyalty in staying with you.
The timing of this email can vary and you need an email provider that syncs up with your CRM.
Look for accommodation patterns among your repeat guests.
- Do they come to your city for business 2 times a year?
- Do they come to your hotel every year on a special occasion like their anniversary?
- Do they come to your hotel each summer?
If a couple stays with you on their anniversary, reach out to them 11 months after with an exclusive offer.
If a guest stays with you 2 times a year, offer them an incentive to add an extra visit.
Email marketing strategy is vitally important for a great book direct strategy.
The effort involved in building your customer database will repay you hundreds of times over.
There is no exact script but remember to be creative, personal and human in your communication, emphasising experiences and your hotel’s story.