Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping holidays in the U.S. To most of us, these days are about snagging deeply-discounted apparel and electronics. However, the travel industry can also benefit from the frenzy of shopping activity during the holidays. According to a report by the American Marketing Association, travel is the top discount category on Black Friday. During these super-shopping days, consumers are in a spendy mood and a discounted vacation before year-end is hard to pass up.
The biggest shopping weekend of the year is around the corner, but you still have time to create the perfect email marketing strategy to gather your share of this weekend’s profits. Check out some best practices and tips to ensure your campaigns are top-notch for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Segment your database and personalize
Segmentation is the jack of all trades, at least when it comes to email marketing. It not only allows you to create email offers that are relevant and resonate with your recipients, but segmentation also helps with email deliverability. By segmenting your subscribers demographically and behaviorally and personalizing your message, your recipients will be more likely to engage with your emails, allowing your sender reputation to remain good and ensuring that your emails don’t go to spam.
I recommend incorporating these segments into your emails:
- Booking date
- Loyal guests (number of stays)
- Guest lifetime spend
- Stay date range
- Family travel
Once you’ve determined your segments, make sure your offers and content are relevant to that specific segment. For example, if you are targeting your California guests with a ski offer, try a subject line like ‘California, time to ditch the beach and hit the slopes.’
- Reward your loyal guests
Show your best customers how thankful you are by offering them early access to your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. By making it clear that they’re receiving the offer as a loyalty reward, you’ll make them feel valued and special. And, with early access to the deal, you can get a jump on the competition and ensure their budget is spent with you.
Here are some ideas to entice your most loyal customers:
- Early access to Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals
- Free upgrades or value-adds
- Special discount available only to them
Consider offering early access to the sale in tiers. For example, your most loyal guests and highest spenders would get access to the sales three days before Black Friday, email subscribers and past guests would get access the day before, and everyone else would get access the day of. Offering a “3rd Night Free” promotion also encourages a longer length of stay.
- Start your deals early or extend them past Cyber Monday
Competition over Black Friday and Cyber Monday is fierce, and it can be hard to stand out in a crowded inbox. Many retailers now start their Black Friday sales earlier on Thanksgiving Day or even sooner. Consider adjusting your offer dates to start earlier or extend later. However, it’s important to set a clear cut-off date to maintain a sense of urgency and emphasize that your promotions are still exclusive and limited while giving people a bit more time to make the decision.
- Your email layout needs to check all the boxes
This is the season to sell, so your subject lines should be bold and to the point. Mention your discounts (with numbers) and freebies early in the subject line. Moreover, your images should be simple but compelling and complement the deal you’re offering. All images should be tagged with alternative text so recipients know what the image is if it does not load property. Additionally, reiterate the deal in the first paragraph of the body copy to make sure recipients who don’t automatically download pictures will still see the offer.
Here are some examples of strong subject lines for your holiday hotel email marketing:
- Black Friday starts now with 50% off
- It’s tradition: enjoy 25% off rates + a bonus offer
- Jack, your exclusive Black Friday deal is here!
- Think mobile
Last year, mobile sales on Black Friday totaled $1.2 billion, according to Adobe, while mobile sales on Cyber Monday were up 34% to $1.1 billion. Your website and booking engine must be optimized to work well on the smallest screens.
Here’s your mobile-friendly checklist:
- Mobile-responsive content
- Easily scrollable
- Clear call to action
- Short and sweet
- Check list quality and deliverability
This season is too important for your overall hotel email marketing strategy to ignore the details of list quality and email deliverability. With engagement already low around the holidays, the last thing you need is an email address that bounces or a subscriber that reports your campaign as spam.
Remember that too many bounces can cause mailbox providers to downgrade or even refuse your emails. Never use a purchased list, one borrowed from another sender, or an old list. Perform a quality check for any new imports before you send to them. The goal is to only email people who know who you are and who are expecting to receive emails from you.
Make sure to follow these deliverability best practices and click here for a more in-depth look into deliverability:
- Filter for recent stays (in the last two to three years)
- Provide alternative text for all images
- Do not use a link shortener
- Make sure your links are formatted properly (“http://” or “https://”)
- Provide an unsubscribe link that’s easy to find and read
We hope these guidelines help you achieve your best-ever holiday hotel marketing campaigns. Here’s to a happy and productive holiday season… but first, check out our Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 statistics from Revinate Marketing customers!