What is a drip campaign?
Looking to make the most of your email automation program? If you’re not already sending drip campaigns, you should plan for some in 2020. A drip campaign is simply an automated series of emails that ‘drip’ information and over time, either triggered by the hotel or by an action that a customer takes, either on the website, by phone or in person.
Drip campaigns are popular today because they drive continued engagement with a segment of customers and don’t require a lot of work beyond defining goals, crafting the emails and setting up the sequence, assuming you’re using a sophisticated email marketing solution, like Revinate Marketing. And, best of all, they can be configured to auto-start, based on the customer’s action, so they truly are set-it-and-forget-it campaigns.
Three popular drip campaigns for hotels
Pre-arrival drip campaign
One powerful way to use drip campaigns is in the pre-arrival process. Some hotels choose to provide tips for making the most of their stay, including city attractions and must-visit bars and restaurants. Others focus on the amenities at the hotel and feature upsell offers that help the guest make the most of the stay. With a global open rate of 60.53% and a CTR of 30.26%, pre-arrival emails are a great way to drive incremental revenue before the guest arrives on property.
Send the first one between 7 and 14 days in advance of arrival depending on booking window – which you can see using Revinat’s database insights. This one can focus on upsells and customizing your guests’ experience.
Then send a second pre-arrival 3 to 7 days in advance, which can include the same upsells or perhaps a separate set of offers. For example, if your first email focuses on room upgrades, the second could be for amenity upsells.
Send a final pre-arrival email 1 day in advance of arrival. This one can include some more operational information, for example on parking or directions.
Website Signup> Offer > Reminder
Website signups can be a great source of potential guests for your hotel. Someone has entered in their contact information, asking to hear more from you, even if they have not yet decided to book with you. If they are comparison shopping, you want to make sure that you get them to book with you and not an OTA. If they’ve shown interest in your spa or other services, you want to stay top of mind for them in case they do decide to book a vacation.
With a tip of the hat to our friends in retail, we offer these suggestions about what to include in your first website signup offer email:
- Pictures of the hotel, ideally featuring the season the guest wants to travel
- Reviews or testimonials from other guests
- Guarantee and refund policy information
- A strong call to action to get them back to your site
The first email should be sent within 24 hours, with a follow-up email that ideally includes a special offer sent within two days. (You might offer a free breakfast or 50% off a spa treatment, for example.) A third and final reminder email should be sent with the week.
Promotional offer > Reminder > Last chance
Want to drive revenue in an easy, automated way? Launch a drip campaign.
You can run promotions exclusively to email subscribers or past guests, offering them special pricing when you use a promotional code. Well-segmented emails with promo codes promote the feeling of exclusivity and help drive loyalty.
Don’t be afraid of over-promoting (within reason): 28% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails more than once per week, and 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email.
Send the first email to share the details of the promotion, and follow up a couple of days later with additional compelling details to catch anyone on the fence. You can include testimonials or share pictures of the rooms. The third and final email should let guests know that the offer is expiring and they should act quickly to take advantage of it.
Timing and Frequency
Naturally, the number of emails you send and how often you email are big factors in the success of your drip campaign. Our 2019 Email Benchmark Report includes details about booking windows and best sending times by market to help you plan. But remember to A/B test all your emails for the best performance.
Drip Email Marketing Best Practices
Before hitting send, make sure you’ve incorporated these best practices:
- Segment. Segment. Segment – not every email is appropriate for every customer, so make sure you’ve segmented your audience, especially new guests and loyal guests.
- A/B test all of your emails – test your “from” name, send time, your CTA, subject line, copy, etc.
- Pay special attention to your subject line as it can make or break your campaign.
- Make sure the copy is compelling and the email provides value. Think would I read through this email if I got it?
Luckily, if you are a Revinate Marketing customer, you will be able to easily measure the success of each and every email, right in the dashboard. To gauge their performance and optimize their results, our clients look closely at open rates, click through and how much revenue is generated by each campaign. They also look at revenue over time to understand how their email-driven revenue is performing month over month or year over year. And, to hone their marketing ops skills, they also pay close attention to unsubscribes, spam reports and deliverability. By doing so, they are able to make email marketing one of their biggest ROI channels.
Looking for an email marketing solution custom-built for hotels? Check out Revinate Marketing today.