With 89% of marketers using email as their primary channel for lead generation, consumers are being inundated with messages from brands. Will your messages be ignored or deleted or opened and clicked? The answer depends on how good a job you do at segmenting your database and sending relevant, timely emails.
Generic email blasts are as passe as requiring bathing caps in the pool. These blasts not only contribute to low open and click-through rates, but they make recipients more inclined to unsubscribe, delete emails, or worse, mark unwanted messages as spam, which hurts the future deliverability of your email campaigns. Consider these statistics from Hubspot:
- 68% of consumers delete unwanted email
- 58% of consumers unsubscribe when they get unwanted email
- 49% of consumers mark unwanted email as spam
With so much noise cluttering email boxes today, it has never been more important to segment your audience and ensure recipients are only getting content that is meaningful to them. Keep reading for common mistakes hoteliers make when segmenting emails and how you can avoid them.
1. Collecting “dirty” data
An expression commonly heard in marketing operations meetings when discussing email performance is, ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’ If your database isn’t clean, you can segment your audience to your heart’s desire but it’s not going to help your email performance. “Clean” data is data that has been collected from the guest at check-in or on your website or via a double opt-in email campaign, which ensures that your email recipients want to get your emails. “Dirty” data is typically purchased from a list vendor or collected years ago and never updated. It includes people who either didn’t sign up for your emails or no longer want to receive them.
While having a big database is important, the quality of your data is more important than size so focus on capturing data from guests who want to hear from you versus chasing numbers. For great tips on ways to keep your data clean, see this blog post.
2. Not segmenting throughout the customer journey
Hoteliers should be personalizing every pre-stay, on-site and post-stay email they send. To do this effectively, you need access to guest data. Some great sources of guest data are the PMS, survey responses and past campaign engagement. With these three sources of data, you should be able to effectively segment and personalize emails to drive engagement throughout the customer journey.
3. Ignoring the details
The most powerful and engaging campaigns are segmented based on guest preferences, behavior, and history. The amount of data in your PMS allows you to create a wide variety of segments that can help you reach all your guests. Some popular segments to use for one-time campaigns include:
- Geolocation: Target local, domestic, and international travelers. Localized campaigns, such as last-minute staycation offers, are extremely effective in driving engagement and direct bookings. Our Revinate Marketing customers have found success by including the city or region in the subject line of your location-specific offer.
- Demographics: Segment by attributes such as gender, birthday, families or couples, etc. A family might receive an email with kid-friendly activities, while a couple on a romantic getaway might receive an email offering an in-room bottle of champagne.
- Loyalty: Segment by lifetime spend or total nights stayed. This is a great way to identify your best, most loyal guests and send them relevant offers so they keep coming back.
- Channel/market: Target direct bookers, OTA bookers, or corporate clients with a book-direct promotion. This is an easy way to keep guests booking direct, win over guests who previously booked with an OTA, or entice corporate groups.
- Room type: Segment by room upsells, amenities, and suites.
- Survey score: This Revinate exclusive allows you to target promoters or detractors based on survey responses for Net Promoter Score. Use these segmented emails to ask for referrals, share to social media, or ask for a second chance.
- Check-in/-out: Segment based on when guests will be on-property. Target specific dates of the year as well as guests who stay two nights or less to upsell them on a third night, for example. This has proven to be extra successful with Sunday to Monday check-out extensions.
- Remove future stays: When sending last-minute offers, don’t forget to remove guests with future stays during the promotional dates.
4. You’re not automating your segmented emails
Marketing automation makes segmented emails more effective. Automated emails, when segmented properly, have 71% higher open rates than one-time campaigns, on average. Some popular automated campaigns include pre-arrival, on-property, and post-stay emails as these messages are dependent on stay dates. Revinate Marketing customers can leverage their PMS data and existing segments to send relevant campaigns based on where the guest is on the customer journey.
5. You don’t have the right software
Make sure your email marketing software provides everything you need to be a successful email marketer, including automation and integration. Hospitality-specific solutions transform the way you connect with guests to create segments that leverage data stored in your PMS. Horizontal solutions and legacy hotel email marketing platforms offer few or no PMS integrations, leaving you with a data gap and a competitive disadvantage.
To learn more about email segmentation, download our Email Marketing Strategy Guide. It’s packed with tips and tricks for the hospitality industry and, more importantly, can help you drive real revenue for your hotel.