Why Pre-Arrival Emails are An Email Marketer’s Secret Revenue Weapon

All marketers want to show that their efforts are driving revenue. Today’s revenue reporting and attribution tools ensure that marketers get the credit they deserve for driving hotel awareness and consideration. But the fastest, quickest and more effective tool in a marketer’s arsenal to drive direct revenue is email. And, the workhorse of emails is the pre-arrival email. 

Let’s discuss the pre-arrival email for a moment. Your guests are a few days from checking in. They are getting ready to travel and anticipating a good time ahead. Your hotel is top of mind and they’ll open any email you send since they know it will pertain to their trip. This is the time that most hoteliers send an email with details of the stay to ensure that guests know what to expect when they step on-property. Today, these emails typically include details of health and safety policies, directions from the airport and check-in time.

But, there is no better time to encourage your guests to upgrade or purchase additional amenities than in this email, especially given the average global open and click through rate. As we reported in our 2019 Hotel Email Marketing Benchmark Report, open rates of pre-arrival emails are 60.53% and CTRs are 30.26%. In fact, this email sees the highest conversion of all hospitality emails so it would be a missed revenue opportunity to not include offers in this email.

Rather than throwing the kitchen sink at your guests, we recommend that you present five or six offers in this email so as not to overwhelm them. Like all emails, you will want to test different offers and designs to optimize your results. In addition to room upgrades, you can offer early check-in or late check-out, breakfast, parking, fresh flowers and more. Not surprisingly, according to our benchmark data, amenity selection differs considerably based on region. 

In the United States and Canada, the most popular amenity is early check-in. In DACH, the UK and Ireland it’s breakfast. In Benelux, dinner is popular. In APAC, guests most often select late check-out. 

To understand how much money you stand to make by upselling guests who are days from checking in, consider this fact: If your guests purchase just three $50 upgrades daily, you will increase revenue by almost $57,000 a year. Regardless of the upgrade cost, you’re adding additional revenue without doing much extra work, and you’re creating more value in your guests’ stay.

To see some examples of pre-arrival emails, visit our featured campaigns for inspiration. One example I particularly like is Brasada Ranch, which does a great job mixing health and safety information with offers, proving that you can both provide value and drive revenue in one email.

If you’re looking for a refresher course on driving upsells, check out Lesson Six of Revinate’s Email Certification course. This lesson explores popular upsell ideas and provides best practices for creating your emails and measuring results.

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