Set It and Forget It! Five Campaign Ideas to Help You Reach Automation Domination
You’re a hotelier, and that means you’re busy. Despite your best efforts, you can never seem to find enough time to check every item off your “to do” list. And even when you do, it’s quickly replaced by three new tasks.
That’s why we recommend making automated campaigns the centerpiece of your email marketing strategy. These “set it and forget” campaigns only require your attention one time while you set them up. They then go out automatically based on the triggers you’ve selected. So not only do they help save you precious time and resources, they are also timely, personalized and hyper-relevant to the recipient. As a result, they are opened and clicked more frequently and help drive more direct bookings.
To help you reach automation domination, we recommend you setup the following five campaigns.
Pre- Arrival Email Campaigns
The stage between booking and arrival is one of the best times to connect with your guests. They are excited about their trip and particularly receptive to opportunities for enhancing it. Amongst our hotel customers, we see that pre-arrivals sent seven days prior to check-in have the highest open rates at 60%. Three days in advance is a close second at 59%.
Use pre-arrivals to:
- Create a personal connection with incoming guests. Include a personalized note letting them know that you are looking forward to their stay. You can include helpful details about their visit, such as dates, check-in time, room type and directions.
- Upsell/upgrade. Including relevant upsell options is a great way to enhance your guest’s stay and boost incremental revenue. In addition to room upgrades, you can upsell amenities like spa services, in-room extras and transportation, or offer to make restaurant reservations. Pre-arrival emails with “upsell” or “upgrade” in the subject line see a 5% higher open rate than those that don’t.
- Be helpful. Inform guests about onsite amenities they might find useful, and local events and attractions. Link back to specific information on your website, like your blog or calendar of events page.
On-Property Welcome Email
Greeting guests with a personalized welcome email is a surefire way to make sure their stay is off to a great start. We recommend that these automated campaigns are delivered the evening of or morning after check-in. In our recent analysis of Revinate customer email data, on-property welcome emails had on average an open rate of 47.6% and a click-thru rate of 3.5%.
Use on-property welcome emails to:
- Strengthen your personal connection with guests. Include a warm welcome note from the GM or Guest Experience Manager. Share how excited you are to have them on property. Include details on how they may get a hold of you should they need anything to make their stay more enjoyable.
- Upsell. Include details on what they can experience now that they are on property. Consider adding a special promotion to encourage them to patronize one of your onsite amenities such as the bar or spa. Just make sure your message sounds genuine and not too salesy.
They came once, so how do you get them to come return? More importantly, how do you get them to come back and book directly? The winback campaign is an excellent tactic for engaging with guests post-checkout and incentivizing them to book directly. Winback campaigns saw the highest open rate, according to our data analysis, when sent two or seven days post-departure and have an average open rate of 33% and CTR of 2.4%.
Use winback campaigns to:
- Thank guests for their visit. Include a “thank you” message to show your gratitude for their business. Make the message feel personal and exclusive.
- Encourage direct bookings. The discount doesn’t have to be larger than what is posted on other sites. But it should include an amenity that is not bookable anywhere else i.e. an automatic upgrade, guaranteed late checkout, complimentary parking, etc.
We Miss You Campaigns
“We miss you” campaigns offer an excellent opportunity to engage with guests who haven’t been on property in a while. It is recommended that these campaigns go out up to one year after the guest’s most recent stay. You want to make sure you are connecting with them during the booking window, so you catch them when they are in the midst of holiday-planning.
Use “we miss you” campaigns to:
- Re-engage with guests. Stay top of mind with guests who haven’t visited the property in 6 months – 1 year. Include a message with an invitation to return to your hotel. Make the offer feel exclusive and personal.
“Bleisure” travel seems to be all the rage these days. Many corporate travelers are choosing to extend their stay and enjoy a leisure vacation. Capitalize on this trend with an automated bleisure campaign where you target your corporate travelers with an “extend your stay” message.
Use bleisure campaigns to:
- Drive demand over weekends when occupancy may be lower. Offer to extend their corporate rate or provide a flat discount off weekend rates.
- Encourage business travelers to bring their families. Provide details on what your hotel can offer for the whole family.
The ability to send very relevant, timely emails directed to individual recipients makes automated email a uniquely powerful tool for building and nurturing guest relationships, driving direct bookings, and freeing up your time so you can focus on the 800 other items you have on your “to do” list.