There’s no doubt about it. Email marketing is an awesome tool to whip out of the tool box when demand is low, there’s been group wash, and/or it looks like you’re not going to hit your forecast for the month. Blasting out a last minute offer or a 48-hour flash sale may be just what it takes to achieve your revenue goal (and elevate you to hero status among your team). But if you want to unleash the full power of email marketing, you must have a more proactive approach.
As we are in the throes of a new year, now is the perfect time to start planning your 2017 email marketing strategy. A proactive email strategy can help reduce your hotel’s dependency on OTAs while creating stronger relationships with your guests.
Below are three simple steps to help guide you in crafting your 2017 plan.
1. Pick a Time Period
Planning for the whole year in one sitting can be overwhelming, so start with smaller chunks. I prefer to attack one quarter at a time. If you really want to get ahead, you should plan for the upcoming quarter and not the current one. That way you can you stay ahead of your booking window.
2. Organize Your Content
First ask yourself if the coming season is low- or high-demand. If it’s low-demand, you want to think about who travels to your property during the off-season and target them with aggressive deals and discounts. If it’s high season, target your most lucrative guests with value-added offers. In the shoulder season, you want to be more assertive. Rates are strong and occupancy is available, so you’ll want to hit your database hard with compelling and frequent offers.
You also want to consider what holidays and other demand generators are taking place over that time period and build campaigns around those topics.
For example, if I’m planning for next quarter, March – May, I can denote the following: it’s springtime, it’s shoulder season, and spring break and the Easter holiday are both demand generators in my market. With this information, I can create a strategy that leverages these opportunities and provides content that my guests will find truly valuable.
3. Create a Schedule
The first part of scheduling is deciding on an optimal email frequency. You don’t want to neglect those in your database and at the same time you don’t want to harass them. The answer varies from hotel to hotel but we do recommend a minimum of one campaign a month. Once you decide on an optimal frequency, we then encourage you to use our 2017 Email Marketing Planner so you can start assigning dates and recipient lists to your email campaigns.
The best part about applying this proactive approach to your email strategy is that you can use the same calendar year after year. After all, holidays and seasonality are always the same. With a few simple tweaks, you’ll be able to keep the content fresh and relevant for your guests.