Email marketing is a great way to build a relationship with the guests in your database and convince them to book with you again. It can be easy – send a timely, relevant message to the right segments of guests, and watch the bookings roll in.
But, it’s not usually that easy. The step hotel marketers often overlook is just how difficult it can be to get your email into a guest’s inbox in the first place. This may seem basic, but there are tons of moving parts involved in email deliverability. Sender reputation is the most important factor. In fact, 83% of email delivery failures are caused by reputation problems.
Email service providers (ESPs) use many different metrics to determine sender reputation. A few of these include:
If a guest marks your email as spam, it doesn’t just mean that this particular guest won’t receive your emails again. Your ESP will note that the guest has clicked this button and report it to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It will also show you how many spam reports an email got, and remove these subscribers from your list so they can’t complain again.
If a lot of people are complaining about your emails, that indicates that something is wrong with your emails. An ESP can keep subscribers from complaining again, but they can’t fix WHY the guest marked the email as spam to begin with. That’s up to you. Here are a few things you can do:
- Set expectations: Be upfront about what you’re going to send to your guests, and how often you are going to send it. Unrequested content qualifies as spam, so it’s important to send information that your guests expect to receive.
- Send relevant content: Be sure to properly segment your database, so that the right guests get the right emails. For example, guest who lives a thousand miles away from the hotel probably won’t be interested in events happening on property this coming weekend. But, a guest who lives 200 miles away may decide that weekend getaway is just what she needs.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe: Make sure the option to unsubscribe is easily visible for your guests. ESPs will automatically add an unsubscribe link on the bottom of the email, but you you can make it even easier by including a small link at the top of the email as well. If your guests aren’t sure how to unsubscribe, they’re more likely to mark your message as spam instead. This can affect your sender reputation and impair your deliverability to other guests who are still interested.
- Clean your list: Sending emails to invalid email address can raise red flags with ISPs. Many ESPs can automatically flag invalid emails in your database.
You won’t be surprised to hear that spammers send emails in high numbers. ISPs flag large volume sends because of this, making it harder for your hotel’s emails to get through. Not only this, but your own ISP may flag you for violating send limits. Here are the limits for a few major ISPs:
- GoDaddy – 100 emails/day
- Gmail – 500 emails/day
- Comcast – 1,000 emails/day
This one is a pretty easy fix. To get around send limits, you can use an ESP like inGuest. One thing that ESPs do is ensure that you can send all the emails you need to without it hurting your sender reputation. Revinate’s inGuest sends from multiple IP addresses and automatically spaces your email sends out over time, so that you can send to larger segments of guests without impacting your sender reputation.
(But, please keep in mind that it’s still a good best practice to send more targeted emails to smaller guest segments, so that your guests continue to get content that is most relevant to them.)
Email authentication acts like a signature on a credit card receipt – it verifies your identity and allows you to claim responsibility for the mailing. Spammers often forge their email “signatures. Authentication helps you avoid being labeled a spammer by telling ISPs that you really are the sender you’re claiming to be. This is another reason to use an ESP – some email service providers like Revinate do the authentication for you.