Customer stories

How Van der Valk – Sassenheim Leiden Hotel doubles leisure revenue


SOLUTIONS USED: Revinate Marketing



Increase direct revenue from leisure segment during pandemic business travel downturn


Leverage smart segmentation to convert business travel database into direct leisure bookings


200% increase in leisure revenue

The brand

When Juliette Hilders joined Hotel Sassenheim at the end of 2019 as the marketing and communications manager, she immediately saw an opportunity to drive direct revenue from the email channel, through better management of the hotel’s guest database and optimization of campaigns. Based on her experience, she knew that success hinged on both improving data health, as well as creating and optimizing strong email marketing campaigns.

The solution

Two years later, the commitment she and her colleagues made to building and maintaining a healthy, engaged database is paying off with a solution that allows her to pivot quickly, putting them in a position of control when most hotels were at the whim of dramatic shifts in demand. As a result, they saw their direct revenue thrive!  Van der Valk increased their direct share in 2021 by more than 12% by establishing a new direct revenue source in leisure. While focusing on this segment, revenue from email marketing grew 22% from 2019 to 2020 and 200% in 2021 and direct share grew to be significantly higher than OTA share in both 2019 and 2020.

Database health

The team focuses on the health of their database for a number of reasons. First, they can reach more people if the guest profiles have accurate contact information. Today, 71% of the hotel’s guest profiles have email addresses and 81% have phone numbers, well above industry-average.

Second, complete profiles provide more data to leverage for segmentation and personalization. During the pandemic, Juliette used this data to learn about her guests, create new segments, and successfully transition their traditionally business-focused guests to leisure bookings. As a result, Juliette’s campaigns saw open rates at 27% and click through rates about 15%.

Finally, because Juliette focused on keeping her audience engaged with targeted campaigns that resonate, she sees a 0.2% unsubscribe rate.  Guests are very receptive to hearing from the hotel, which was very valuable during the pandemic as Juliette pivoted her focus from business to leisure travel to drive direct bookings.

High direct booking ROI for email campaigns

With strong deliverability and successful engagement rates, it’s no surprise that revenue per campaign is high. For example, a ‘72-hour deal’ campaign drove 800 room nights during the summer season. When the time came to run the campaign again in the fall, the results were shockingly similar. The campaign out-performed the previous summer campaign, driving 926 room nights during a shoulder season.

Easy to use & built for hoteliers 

Juliette attributes her campaign success to a number of factors. The first is Revinate’s ease of use, which allows her to quickly pivot her focus from business to leisure travelers. Revinate’s simple segmentation feature and email design tools enables her to target a new segment and develop new promotions, without sacrificing the brand. She says, “With Revinate, it’s really easy for me to create an email that I know will resonate with our guests. There’s so much flexibility in the design, allowing me to leverage hotel photography, our fonts, colors, languages and CTAs to craft just the right email that I pair with the right segment.”

The second factor is Revinate’s focus on hospitality. Juliette explains, “I used MailChimp in my past career and it’s very clear that Revinate was built for hoteliers. The automated campaigns in Revinate Marketing follow the guests’ journey and ensure we’re engaging at just the right time. As a result, it’s very easy for me to maximize the channel without needing additional resources or to work around the clock. The base of a successful guest marketing campaign is a hospitality specialized program like Revinate.”

Finally, Juliette notes that not only does the visual appeal and messaging she so easily is able to create play a big role in her campaigns performance, optimization is a major factor to her success. She now spends more time evaluating campaign results and testing segments, offers and CTAs and the results are clearly visible.

During COVID her business guests were all but non-existent, with the exception of flex workers and a few small groups in between lockdowns.  Her clean database allowed her to understand her guests well enough that she could successfully create segments and messages that would appeal to them as leisure guests and drive direct revenue.

Side effects may include team alignment

In addition to serving as the foundation for direct revenue growth at the hotel, Revinate has provided the hotel with other benefits. Juliette notes that by aligning the hotel teams around the campaigns, there’s a feeling of cooperation and unity as team members share the promotions beyond just marketing campaigns. She noticed a similar feeling with Revinate Guest Feedback, which the team also uses. She explains, “Every week, my sales colleague shares feedback from our post-stay reviews and surveys. It gives us the opportunity to discuss what’s working and what we can improve upon.  It brings the teams together in a powerful way: We’re one team working to provide the best guest experience we possibly can.”

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