Hoteliers used to manage room inventory. Today they manage customers. What does this mean for hotel marketing? Effective hotel marketing today means gathering guest data and segmenting it in a way that lets marketers send personalized communications at every step in the guest’s journey.
Marc Heyneker, Revinate’s co-founder and CEO, and Erica Rich, Revinate’s Senior Hospitality Marketing Strategist, recently sat down with John Albano of Lodging Leaders to discuss why email marketing is the key to hotel marketing, and how it can drive direct revenue and help properties compete with OTAs.
Email follows the customer journey
“If you look at all the tools in a marketer’s tool chest, email is the only tool that works across the entire journey,” Rich said.
That journey includes inspiration, reservation, pre-arrival, check-in, on-property and post-stay. Rich advises clients just starting out with email to focus on pre-arrival because that’s when guests are most captive. These emails should go out three to seven days before arrival.
“Great pre-arrival marketing can set the tone for the trip and also provides the perfect opportunity to upsell and upgrade,” Rich said.
Benefits of email marketing done right
A good email marketing program has four main benefits:
- Email drives revenue and puts heads in beds
- Email drives traffic to the website and, as a result, drives SEO
- Email enforces brand identity, especially when the campaign sells ‘fun’ as well as rates
- Email presents a great opportunity to reward your most loyal guests
To get these benefits, it’s necessary to segment your emails to appeal to different kinds of guests.
“We want hoteliers to forget about the overall database number and instead focus on the customers who actually want to hear from you,” Rich said.
Email marketing is a forgiving medium. You can fail fast—at little cost—and try again. That’s because you can test and measure everything, from your segmentation strategy to subject lines to body copy to design and images.
“Learn from your failures and don’t be afraid to try something new,” Rich advised.
Measure campaign success
Another benefit of email marketing for hotels is that it’s trackable and measurable. Unlike social media marketing, it’s easy to track and measure ROI. This is vital in today’s competitive hotel marketing environment, where asset managers and hotel operators need to account for every marketing initiative to ownership. And this doesn’t just mean tracking opens and clicks, but understanding how your campaigns drive actual bookings and revenue. For example, because Revinate Marketing is integrated with the property management system, you can easily see how your emails convert to revenue.
According to Heyneker, “There used to be a focus on top-line revenue. Now, the focus is on profit. Costs are going up, and hotels are giving up revenue to OTAs and the sharing economy. It has never been more important for hotels to drive direct revenue.”
To learn more about turning guest data into revenue, including ideas for successful emails, powerful subject lines, messaging cadence and metrics, listen to the full podcast.