Step up your hospitality email marketing efforts
Eager to improve your email marketing ROI? Download our guide, “The basics of hotel email marketing,” to find out how to plan and execute effective campaigns.
Hospitality email marketing is nothing new. Hotels have been leveraging this channel to reach guests for decades. But even if sending newsletters and promotional offers seems like second nature at this point, you probably have room for improvement.
With a more strategic approach to data collection and email marketing, you can enjoy a higher ROI of both time and money. Before getting into some specific tips that can help ensure your campaigns are effective, it’s important to understand why email marketing is so important in the first place.
Get ready for a primer on why email should be a core part of your overall marketing strategy.
What you will see here
The importance of hospitality email marketing
While email might seem outdated compared to channels like social media and web chat, it’s just as relevant as ever. Consider these stats:
- Statista research shows more than 4 billion people around the world use email, and that’s projected to grow.
- A survey of online shoppers shows that email is the best marketing channel for influencing purchasing decisions — it beats out direct mail, digital ads, social media, and text messages.
- For every $1 spent on email marketing, the return is $36.
Clearly, email isn’t going anywhere. It’s a great way to reach current and prospective guests. That said, you need to be thoughtful about your execution. While that might sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. You just need to follow some hospitality email marketing best practices.
Hospitality email marketing dos and don’ts
To help you start crafting your email marketing strategy, take a look at which missteps to avoid and which tactics to start leveraging. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these suggestions will give you a solid foundation.
Don’t send lots of generic emails to every guest
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to hospitality email marketing. Every guest is unique. While some absolutely love spa experiences, others can’t stand the thought of spending 1 hour on a massage or other treatment. Families also have far different preferences than solo travelers.
Even if you have offers with more universal appeal, resist the urge to send those emails to your entire database. Doing so can overwhelm guests with too many emails from your hotel(s). This can lead them to unsubscribe and even prevent them from booking future stays.
Do use segmentation to create personalized messages
OK, so you know that generic messages don’t work. What should you try instead? If you have a healthy database, you can break it down into smaller, more specific groups. This is called segmenting your database.
Once you’ve created different audience segments, you can craft personalized messages that your guests will find appealing. In fact, our data shows that segmented emails often see 2.5x higher open rates and 3x times higher click-through rates. Over time, this can lead to significantly more revenue.
As for how to segment, you have a lot of options. You can create different segments based on geographic location, loyalty status, demographic information, and more. And you can combine different factors to get even more specific.
Don’t be afraid to get creative
It’s always a good idea to include some standard messages in your hospitality email marketing strategy. These can include pre-arrival messages, seasonal newsletters, birthday promotions, and welcome letters. But these are just the beginning — there are so many other possibilities.
Let’s say your hotel is a family-friendly property that encourages guests to bring their children. You could run a promotion around National Ice Cream Day that includes a free sundae for all kids age 12 and under at your on-site restaurant. There are tons of national and international days like this that you can incorporate into your email strategy.
You can also get creative with the emails themselves. Explore different images, subject lines, and call-to-action (CTA) buttons. If you’re nervous about trying something new, consider A/B testing emails to find out what works best.
Do plan your campaign calendar in advance
When it comes to hospitality email marketing, planning is essential. There are so many holidays and seasonal trends to take into consideration. Thinking through all of those important dates ahead of time makes it easier to execute campaigns strategically because you won’t be scrambling at the last minute.
But be flexible. While you may not have initially included a one-time campaign that matches up with a local event, you should absolutely consider adding an email if it makes sense for your property.
It’s also important to create a master calendar that lists each of these key dates and the corresponding emails, such as holiday campaigns. It will help keep your staff on the same page and ensure you aren’t sending too many messages to the same segments.
Don’t forget to review performance
Hospitality email marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. There are always opportunities to improve, so make sure to track the performance of your campaigns. You can do this by consistently evaluating a few key metrics (our guide goes through each of these in greater detail):
- Delivery rate
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Open rate
- Unsubscribe rate
Depending on what type of email marketing solution you use, you might even be able to get additional insights with capabilities like click tracking and attribution modeling.
Once you start keeping tabs on performance, you’ll be able to get a sense of what’s working and what isn’t working. Maybe you’ll find that using questions in subject lines is especially effective. Or you might discover that certain types of images tend to encourage better engagement.
Over time, you’ll be able to refine your email marketing strategy so that it drives more direct bookings.
Make the most of your email marketing campaigns
There’s always room for improvement with hospitality email marketing. But implementing these best practices can help, especially if you’re leveraging an email marketing solution that allows you to create highly personalized offers through segmentation.
If you’re new to email marketing or want to really take your skills to the next level, you might be craving even more information. Get answers to your questions by downloading our guide, “The basics of hotel email marketing.”