Hotel Email Marketing: How to Avoid Four Common Subject Line Mistakes - Revinate

Hotel Email Marketing: How to Avoid Four Common Subject Line Mistakes

Subject lines are not easy to write. But, they’re one of the factors that has the highest effect on the success of an email campaign. In fact, 33% of email recipients open messages based purely on subject lines alone.

Unfortunately, far too many email marketers are still making amateur mistakes that drag down their open rates. To help you identify your hotel’s areas for improvement, here are four common subject line mistakes, and how to fix them.

#1: You Give Too Much Away

At its core, an email subject line is a teaser. It’s designed to be a brief preview of the email. But, sometimes marketers give away, or at least appear to give away, the whole message with the subject line. For example, “Book with our award-winning spa” would make many readers believe they’ve gotten everything they need to know with the subject line. If the answer is “No,” you’ve lost your opportunity to earn that click-through with the content inside the email.

How can you fix it? One way to remedy this is to create a knowledge or “curiosity gap” with your email subject line. In other words, you want to present enough of an idea or offer to catch your reader’s interest, but omit just enough that it forces them to open the email in order to satisfy their curiosity.

Try something like this instead:

  • “You’re missing the best part of [your hotel’s city]”
  • “When is the best time to visit [your hotel’s city]?”
  • “The top 6 summer events at [your hotel]”

#2: Your Subject Line is Too Long

If the popularity of Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and other micro-media sites have taught hotel marketers anything, it’s that people are mobile, and that their attention spans are shorter than ever.

The data supports the notion that shorter is better. According to Litmus, email subject lines with only 4-15 characters deliver the highest open rates. Additionally, most mobile screens can only display 4-7 words before getting cut off. So, your subject line has to say more in as little time as possible in order to make an impression.

How can you fix it? Keep your subject lines short and sweet. It’s a good idea to keep your subject lines under 50 characters in order to keep your audience’s attention and avoid the dreaded ellipses on mobile. Try a few different A/B tests to see which delivers the best open rates with your unique guest audience.

#3: Your Subject Line is All About You

Email is a personal thing. In its early days, it was a way to instantly connect with friends and loved ones. But, things have changed. Today, you’re more likely to get spam from a chain restaurant than someone you actually know. When you as a hotel marketer send your audience a self-centered subject line talking about your latest room rates, you are likely to get lost in the inbox noise.

How can you fix it? Frame your email copy in terms of the value or benefit it brings to your guests. People don’t care about your hotel. They care about themselves. So, you have to make sure your subject line speaks directly to your guests’ personal concerns and interests. Tell them exactly what they’ll get by opening your emails.

The easiest way to do this is to replace all of your “we” and “our” statements with “you” and “yours.” For example:

  • Thank you for booking with [your hotel] –> Here’s your booking confirmation
  • Check out our new spa –> Start your trip right with a massage!
  • We’ve got great news –> You’ll love this big news

You should also be sure to use your email marketing solution to personalize the copy in any way you can. Using the data you have in your CRM, you can cater your subject lines to help them appear more relevant to your audience, which will make your guests more likely to click.

In fact, addressing your guests by name increases click-through rates by 14%, according to MailChimp.

#4 Your Subject Lines Aren’t Tested

You want your subject line to be the right one, for the right guest. But, many marketers overlook the importance of the subject line and just throw something together five minutes before scheduling.

How can you fix it? While there are dozens of data-stacked best practices to use in your email subject lines, your guests are unique to your hotel. Best practices should only serve as a baseline to begin your testing.

When you first start building an email campaign, brainstorm possible subject line copy just as you would the internal message. When you’re done, test them with small segments of your audience. Pick the best-performing copy when you move forward with the rest of your target segments.


Want to drive more direct revenue and connect with guests? Download our free Email Marketing Strategy Guide. Never before has there been a more jam-packed, industry-specific guide to help hoteliers master the art (and science) of email marketing. Over 40+ topics with actionable insights, strategies, and best practices for email marketing.