With 2016 coming to a close, we decided to take a look at some of our email marketing data to see what worked well for Revinate customers this year. I wanted to share a few key learnings that will help guide you as you begin to plan your 2017 email marketing strategy.
1. When it comes to pre-arrivals, three and seven are the magic numbers
Focusing on the stage between booking and arrival, pre-arrival letters offer hotels the perfect opportunity to build relationships with guests. This is when they are most excited about their trip and the most receptive to opportunities for enhancing it.
At Revinate, we’ve seen pre-arrivals achieve an average open rate of 57% and click-thru rate (CTR) of 15.5%. Looking at 2016 data, we found that pre-arrivals sent three days and seven days before check-in got the highest open rates, 59% and 60% respectively. The lowest average open rate was when campaigns were sent just one day in advance at 45.65% (which is still a very high open rate). To determine what schedule works best for your property, we recommend that you do your own testing.
2. Upgrades and upsells up engagement
Data from the past year also showed us that pre-arrival letters with upgrade and/or upsell offers perform better than those that don’t. Campaigns with the word “upsell” or “upgrade” in the subject line achieved an average open rate of 61.3%, 5% higher than those without the promise of an upsell or upgrade. Furthermore, campaigns that included an upgrade call-to-action (CTA) received a CTR of 30.2%, a whopping 17% higher than those that didn’t include an upgrade CTA.
Based on this data, it’s clear incoming guests want upsell and upgrade offers. If you’re not including them in your pre-arrival letter, you are leaving money on the table.
3. Winbacks that win big
Just like arriving guests, departing guests represent a very engaged audience when it comes to email marketing. This is why we recommend all customers send out a winback campaign within 30 days of checkout.
On average, the winback campaigns Revinate customers sent over the past year achieved open rates of 33% and CTR of 2.41%. After analyzing the data from the past year, we saw that campaigns sent seven days post-checkout achieved the highest average open and CTR of 44.7% and 6.6% respectively. In second place, was two days post-checkout with an average open rate of 43.9% and a CTR of 4.2%. Again, to determine which works best for your property, we recommend that you test, test, test.
4. To hit the target, you have to target
One of the core principles of email marketing is delivering campaigns with content that recipients find valuable and relevant. To achieve this, database segmentation is key, but for many hotel marketers, this can seem like an overwhelming task. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. We looked at data from the last year and found that by merely targeting past guests who were or will be on property over specific dates can increase engagement on average by 6% as opposed to blasting your entire past guest database. These targeted campaigns also generated an average of $5000 more in revenue attribution. If you’re looking for an easy way to improve campaign performance, consider sending campaigns to guests who were on property over specific dates i.e. a winter offer to those who were on property the previous winter or an event promotion to those who were on property for the same event last year.
5. Make it personal
It shouldn’t come as much surprise to anyone that email recipients respond to personalization. In fact, after analyzing our 2016 data we found that subject lines that included the subscriber’s first or whole name received a 7% higher open rate than those that didn’t. This doesn’t mean that every email you send should include the person’s name. That can dilute its impact. But for your most important communications, you might want to consider employing this proven tactic to increase open rates and engagement.
With planning for 2017 in full swing, we hope these insights are helpful to you, and we are so excited to continue helping our customers reach even higher levels of success in the year ahead.