In a blog post last week, we shared why hotels should be shifting their focus away from OTAs and towards driving direct bookings. With today’s travelers looking for flexibility and safety, hoteliers have a huge opportunity as the world slowly emerges from lockdown to capture market share from the powerful OTAs. In this blog post, we share how hotel email marketing can help boost your revenue.
Before we get into the ‘how’, let’s talk about the ‘why’.
Email may not be the trendiest marketing channel around but it remains the number one way to reach hotel guests. Studies show that 55% of consumers prefer to get permission-based promotional messages from hospitality brands via email, versus direct mail, text, phone or social media. Why? Email is far less invasive than other channels. It’s also persistent, meaning that offers are searchable and can be revisited at a later time. Second, because consumers today are tied to their smartphones, you can be certain that if you have a valid email, your customers will see your message. With 46% of all email being opened on a mobile device, a well-timed email can reach your prospect when they’re waking up, enjoying a coffee break or sitting down in the home office to work. In other words, unlike a social ad or a Facebook post, email is more likely to reach your prospect. Finally, email is the most preferred communication channel by millennials, according to our Hospitality Marketing Expert.
With a Hotel-CRM like Revinate Marketing, hoteliers can send highly personalized promotions targeted at a certain segment of traveler. This is important because HubSpot reports that Marketers who use segmented campaigns realize as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
Because Revinate Marketing integrates with 70+ PMSs, all of that data becomes available for segmentation. Our customers typically segment by trip type, family status, geo-location, loyalty and more. Revinate makes it incredibly easy to create segments using the “Create Guest Segment” feature and selecting the criteria from PMS fields. As segments are developed, you can even see an immediate count of customers to understand how many emails will be sent to that group. In fact, each time you make a change to any of the criteria or add or remove any lines of criteria, you’ll be able to update the stats to see the most current count.
These highly targeted promotional emails work! Here is a recent promotional email example sent by Northcote in the UK to past guests that generated a whopping £70,000 in revenue.
One of the best times to drive revenue from guests via email is just before they check in. At this point in the buyer’s journey, 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. 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%. Because this email sees the highest conversion of all hospitality emails, not including offers in this email would be a missed revenue opportunity.
Rather than overwhelming your guests with offers, we recommend that you present five or six upsell offers. Like all emails, you will want to test different offers and designs to optimize your results. In addition to traditional room upgrades, you can offer early check-in or late check-out, breakfast, parking, fresh flowers and more. With health and safety still top-of-mind for guests, think through any upsells that will help your guests feel safe, such as brown-bag lunches delivered to their door every day or a private cabana at the pool.
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 see some examples of pre-arrival hotel emails, visit our featured campaigns for inspiration. One example that I particularly like is Brasada Ranch. This hotel in Oregon does a great job mixing health and safety information with revenue-generating offers, proving that hotels can both provide value and drive revenue in one email.
Build Strong Relationships
Many consumer spending studies have concluded that consumers spend money with brands that they feel are meaningful. A meaningful brand typically offers three types of value to consumers: “marketplace benefits, which include the value delivered by its products; personal benefits, such as what a brand does for individual customers; and collective benefits, which include what the brand does for society as a whole.”
Hotels can use email to educate and engage consumers about the value they bring to staff, customers and the communities around them. In fact, during Covid-19 we saw great examples of this. Hotels around the world shared how they donated extra food to food banks, opened their doors to healthcare workers and lit up their facades with signs of compassion and encouragement. When hotels shared these experiences with their past guests, recipients of these emails saw how these hotels do more than house vacationers: They also saw how they take care of people and exhibit true hospitality when it counts.
When you ask a guest for feedback, either during the stay or afterwards, you’re sending a message that you care about the guest experience. Automated hotel emails asking for guest feedback can help drive revenue in a couple of ways. First, these emails drive loyalty so guests will want to book with you again. Guests will see that you care enough about their business that you want to ensure you learn and grow from their experiences. Second, online reviews are proven to drive new bookings since an increase in review volume can have a huge impact on your property’s ranking on Google and TripAdvisor. And, higher ranked hotels get more attention and clicks.
With Revinate Marketing, you can easily send automated emails timed to stages in the guest journey to capture guest feedback, such as one day after check-in or one day after check-out. And, Revinate has a way to make it easy to pump up the review volume by turning your solicited post-stay feedback into reviews on TripAdvisor, Google or HolidayCheck in the DACH region. This syndication feature is so powerful that it’s common for Revinate Guest Feedback customers to see a 409% increase in review volume.
If you’re ready to say ‘enough’ to high OTA fees, it’s time to give hotel email marketing a try. It’s easy to test, measure results and improve over time. Email marketing solutions, like Revinate Marketing, allow marketers to see open and click-through rates and compare campaigns to isolate what resonates with your audience. And, if your email solution is integrated with your PMS, you can easily attribute bookings and upgrade revenue to the successful email campaign.
Ready to get started? Reach out to book a meeting with our revenue management experts or follow our social media for more tips and examples. We would love to share how our customers use Revinate Marketing to drive revenue and win back bookings from OTAs. Revinate is easy to set up, easy to use and easy to prove ROI. Let’s talk today.