Hotel Email Marketing Tips: How to write effective emails that get results

January 11, 2023
Hotel Email Marketing Tips: How to write effective emails that get results

According to Statista, 4 billion people use email daily. By 2025, this figure is projected to increase to 4.6 billion. It's pretty amazing, isn't it? Imagine the potential that email marketing has!

Hotel email marketing is one of the most practical and economical ways for your hotel to connect with guests, increase direct reservations, and surge your ROI. Research conducted by HubSpot indicates that email marketing initiatives have an ROI of 3,800%, making them one of the highest-performing marketing methods. However, this powerful tool needs to be effectively utilized in order to reap the benefits

As you embark on your hotel email marketing journey, this article will give you insights into various email campaigns, types of emails and helpful email creation tips that you can incorporate into your strategy to engage your subscribers, increase brand interaction and generate revenue.

Let’s get going!

Lifecycle Stages of Hotel Visitor

There are various stages in a guest lifecycle and each stage requires a separate mix of automated and bulk emails. Depending on the stage and the type, the content of the email will vary. Following are the different stages of the visitor lifecycle:

1) Selection Stage

This step encourages potential guests to choose your hotel above the competition. Travelers start searching the internet for details about hotels, prices, and services well in advance. They also check social media pages, read online reviews, and compare pricing on the websites with those of the OTAs. In this stage, you can leverage hotel email marketing strategies to increase awareness about your offerings by sending emails with varying content related to seasonal discounts and loyalty programs. Try to provide as much information about your premises to prospective guests to entice them to make reservations with you instead of your competitors.

2) Booking Stage

In this stage, you have to provide all the information regarding the reservation to the guests. The information given regarding the price of the rooms, check-in, check-out dates, and room numbers should be accurate. Having clarity regarding the bookings will help customers make reservations with you more efficiently and swiftly.

3) Pre-Arrival Stage

In the pre-arrival stage, the guest has already booked a reservation with you. Upon arrival, you can send your guests multiple pre-arrival emails to excite them about your services, the nearby local events, and additional products or services they may require. In this phase, the hotel email marketing strategy aims to increase the users' interest and promote upsells.

4) Staying Stage

The guests must be informed at this point of the vital phone numbers or email addresses they may require if they have any questions or concerns. You can send them welcome emails, service contact information emails, fire alarms emails containing all the necessary information to keep them informed.

5) Post-Stay Stage

The post-stay phase is crucial since it shows whether or not the guests were satisfied with their stay. To know their opinion, you can send them a feedback email. This will enable you to keep tabs on what appealed to them and what didn't. On their next stay, you can make arrangements according to their preferences. This post-stay communication will, in turn, elevate repeat visits and loyalty.

Types of Hotel Email Marketing Campaigns

The hotel email marketing campaigns are mainly divided into these two types:

  1. Triggered/ Automated
  2. Bulk/ One-Time

Let’s shed some light on each one of these.

1) Triggered/ Automated Campaigns
    These emails are sent in response to a specific action. For these kinds of emails, marketers create customized workflows that are automatically scheduled to be sent to the target audience as they engage with the trigger. Some examples include:-
  • Subscription Confirmation Mail
  • Welcome Email
  • Pre-arrival email
  • On-arrival email

There are countless examples of automated hotel email marketing campaigns. Since these emails are exclusively tailored based on specific user behaviour, they can generate high open rates because recipients anticipate getting them in their inboxes and aren't taken aback if they do.

     
2. Bulk/One-Time Campaigns

As the name suggests, these emails are sent to a large audience at once and are the most common hotel email marketing campaigns used by marketers to spread the word. Some examples include- bi-weekly/monthly newsletters, seasonal offers, discounts/promotions, news and updates, etc.

    Note:
    To guide a consumer through every stage of their relationship with your brand, both email campaign types and ongoing informative support should be combined.  

8 Hotel Emails every Hotelier should be sending

The versatility of emails is enormous: welcome emails, promotional emails, announcement updates and many more. Considering the hotel industry, the following emails would be most beneficial for hotels to attract, engage and retain customers.

     
1) Pre-arrival emails/ welcome emails

Pre-arrival emails are great for welcoming guests and stirring their enthusiasm during the stay. This email includes all pertinent information about the guests’ stay, including their check-in and check-out dates, the type of room they are staying in, and any special requests they may have made. To increase the effectiveness of pre-arrival emails, you can also mention special offers. Doing this has been shown to increase upsell conversions by 8.23%.

Pre-arrival emails increase brand loyalty and decrease last-minute cancellations by getting customers excited about their stay well in advance. In pre-arrival emails, you can provide guests with a detailed map of the hotel and the local neighborhood, the services you offer, the list of restaurants nearby, and the number of upcoming events. This way, you are educating your guests before arrival to build trust and give them an experience of a lifetime.

     
2) Upselling emails

Upselling emails are a great way to encourage customers to purchase additional services in conjunction with the current ones or upgrade their existing ones. If the guests are interested in the listed recommendations, then they will make a purchase thereby boosting your revenue.For example, if you have a restaurant in your hotel, then you can send emails enlisting the various discounts on different cuisines. You can use this tactic of upselling emails immediately after a sale, at the end of a free trial period, or when introducing a new product or service in the hotel.

     
3) Promotional emails

Promotional emails are the most effective way to inform your audience of current hotel promotions, discounts, special offers, and seasonal specials. You can leverage promotional emails either to attract new customers or can influence the users in the buyer's journey to go further down the funnel and complete the transaction. If you are planning to create promotional email campaigns, then it is advisable to use the FOMO approach (fear of missing out). This approach aims to develop a sense of urgency among the audience. As items are frequently deemed to be more valuable when they are scarce. This urgency excites the consumers about your offerings and influences them to purchase. Some examples of creating a sense of urgency are-

a) Santa's Brunch at XYZ hotel. Book now- only a few spots left.

b) Promotion ending in 3 days - reserve now

You can leverage promotional emails either to attract new customers or can influence the users in the buyer's journey to go further down the funnel and complete the transaction.

     
4) Emails for abandoned bookings

According to statistics on travel websites, 80.8% of customers abandon their reservations. This results in a significant loss of potential income. Hotel email marketing is one of the ways to curb this issue. You can use booking abandonment emails to regain lost customers. Booking abandonment emails are targeted follow-up emails sent to potential leads who browsed your website, started the reservation process but left before making a reservation. . For instance, a user went on your hotel's website, selected the room, filled in the personal details and went to complete the checkout section, but due to reasons like his mind suddenly changed or the website crashed; he couldn't complete the transaction. Then you can send that lead a booking abandonment email describing the status of his booking. These emails can recover anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of lost reservations.

The emails should be concise and straightforward. It is advisable to send the follow-up emails within 20 minutes after the user leaves the reservation process unfinished. It will nudge the user and will convince him to complete the booking. This way, hotel email marketing is beneficial in regaining lost customers.

     
5) Feedback Emails

The success of any hotel relies on the customer's stay experience. Hence, feedback is critical to understand what suite of services is currently well-received and which areas need work. It's a good idea to send departing guests an email asking their opinion on their experience at your hotel. These emails, often called feedback emails, will let you know the areas where you can improve. You can ask your customers specific questions in feedback emails, such as whether they enjoyed their stay at your hotel or if there is any recommendation from their side that you can implement to make their next stay more pleasant.

     
6) Reward Emails

Reward emails are often referred to as loyalty program emails. Hotels employ a lot of loyalty programs as a marketing tool to entice repeat business. Customers who join a loyalty program frequently get discounts or free stays. IHG Rewards Club, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Rewards are well-known hotel loyalty programs. These programs offer customers numerous advantages, including points that may be exchanged for free nights, special discounts, and more. These reward emails describe the loyalty programs, their benefits, the entire process of how the guest can enroll, and how they can redeem the rewards.

     
7) Event Emails

The events emails help the subscribers to know about the recent happenings either on the hotel premises or in the vicinity- festivals, celebrations, parties, conferences, seminars or some fun workshop. Utilizing event emails will help your hotel gain customers' attention. How? Let's say a three-day New Year's celebration is happening close to your hotel; in that case, you may urge the subscribers to attend the event while staying at your property. This way, you are marketing your hotel by taking advantage of local events.

     
8) Season Greeting Emails

Season greeting emails are a great way to create genuine connections with guests. It is optional to include discounts and offers in this kind of email. Wishing your guests a specific festive occasion makes them feel valued and appreciated. Sending season greetings is one of the most traditional ways to welcome guests across the nation and right in your hometown. But tradition still reigns supreme when it comes to festivals. Strengthen the bond with your guests by creating personalized season greeting emails; this will help turn your guests into your advocates.

     

Tips for writing and sending effective emails

     
A) For Writing email campaigns
    - Use Intriguing subject lines and preview texts

Use enticing subject lines and previews to grab the readers' attention in a pool of emails in their mailbox. The likelihood of the mail being opened will rise as a result. The preview content and subject line should be short, direct, and to the point. It should reflect what the email is all about, and the content should meet the expectations presented in the subject as well as preview texts.

    - Craft compelling and personalized body copy

Personalization is the key here. When writing the content, make sure it is short and simple and has some personalized elements like addressing the recipients by name; it will strengthen their ability to connect with you. Also, keep the target audience's persona in mind when you write the body copy so you can adjust the information to best suit their interests.

    - Include Images

To increase the campaign's effectiveness, your email should be visually appealing, so add high-quality images wherever possible. However, ensure to include only a few images; otherwise, the email template will look cluttered and be harder to read. Two or three images would be best, depending on the content length.

    - Add One CTA

The main goal of sending any email campaign is for subscribers to take action after reading the content. It is best to only provide one CTA, as adding many CTAs can distract readers and prevent them from taking action. Be clear and concise with the CTA. Use actionable language and phrases to grab the attention of the reader. With your CTA, try to create a sense of urgency and design the button to be easily identifiable and distinguishable from the rest of the content.

    - Add an Unsubscribe Link

It is advisable to include an "unsubscribe link" in the footer of the email while developing the template. By including this, you give readers the option of choosing whether to receive emails from you or not. Instead of forcing your subscribers to receive emails they don't want to receive, you are letting them choose, demonstrating your concern for their preferences.

     
B) Before sending email campaigns
    - Implement a sign-up form for an email subscription

The presence of an email sign-up form is necessary to collect the details of the people who want to receive your emails. The details will include information like the person's name, email address, country (optional) and other fields depending on the requirements. You can embed the sign-up form either on the first page of the website or on a separate page solely dedicated to email subscriptions. The motive here is to gather contact details of guests to send them emails.

    - Update your email list

Before sending out any campaign, ensure that your email list is updated and has the contact details of only those guests who have permitted you to send them emails, as it's crucial to only send emails to people who have given you their consent before doing so. In addition, the database may occasionally be loaded with information of inactive contacts, making it necessary to filter out the contacts to maintain list health and positive open engagement rates.

    - Select the objective of your email campaign

At this stage, you have to choose the objective of your campaign, whether it is for promotion, festival greetings, pre-arrival mail etc. Before going any further, deciding the goal for which the email campaign will be created is crucial. A defined objective helps to tailor the content and enables sending the message to the right audience at the right time.

    - Segment your target audience

This is the essential step in creating hotel email marketing campaigns. Segmenting the target audience enables you to craft an email template keeping in mind the personas of the target audience. Different personas will need different content in the email. A definite target segment allows you to create an email campaign favoring their interests. For example, you can segment your audience by whether they are leisure or business travelers, or by the type of room they book.

    - Keep a check on recipients and sender

Since the database is massive, you must have different contact lists of subscribers. After designing the email and selecting the target audience, ensure to send the right email to the right audience. In addition, make sure that your campaigns should be sent from your hotel’s mailing address. These two steps are crucial to increase the authenticity of the emails and they will escalate the opening rates. Imagine, just for instance, you design an email campaign and send it from the wrong email address instead of the hotel’s email address, it will create a negative impression on the viewers, and there is always a possibility of them marking the email as spam impacting your overall deliverability.

    - Avoid Spamming

Avoid spamming at any cost to stand out and get a good CTR. You want your subscribers to open your email and take action; you don't want your emails to go to spam. To avoid this, restrain yourself from sending multiple emails and focus on quality over quantity.

    - Test your emails before sending

Before sending the email, always do a once-over on the copy to make sure there are no grammatical errors. You can send a test email to yourself to ensure that your email is mobile and desktop friendly. Check spacing, sizing, images, links and your footer to ensure all elements are loading and working as needed. Additionally, it's crucial to make sure your email functions properly in dark mode.

    - Schedule the appropriate timing for the campaign

Timing is very important in email marketing campaigns. If you send the emails at the right time, the chances of opening rates will be drastically higher. The challenge that occurs when sending email marketing to a global audience is the various time zones. You can send email campaigns in the recipient's time zone by using one of the many hotel email marketing softwares available. Here are a few of our favourites:

    1) Mailercloud
    2) HubSpot email marketing software
    3) MailChimp
    4) SendinBlue
     
C) After sending email campaigns
    - Track your campaign’s performance

Tracking the campaign’s performance helps you to know the strategies which are working best and how you can improve them. Acting without first reviewing your stats would be like shooting in the dark. Hence, it is advisable to track and analyze the performance of your campaigns based on metrics like open rates, CTR, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate, conversion rate, spam complaints, time spent on the email etc.

    - Send emails at the right time

Build new connections and maintain the existing ones by sending out emails when there is a high likelihood of them performing well. Ensure that you send the emails to the right audience at the right time. When it comes to timing for emails, the important thing to highlight is sending it when engagement is high (based on past performance) or at the most reasonable time based on their timezone. This is especially important for hotels since their guests come from around the world. It is observed that more people open emails during the day from 11 am to 2 pm than at night. With respect to subscribers, they prefer opening their emails after 12 pm in their respective time zones. Therefore, the most effective hours for subscribers are 2-5 pm. When talking about days, most emails are sent on weekdays rather than on weekends. Among the weekdays, the preferable days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (with the highest open rates). So, if you are planning to send your email campaigns and want effective responses, please refer to our suggestions above!

    -
    A/B Test Email Components

After sending out hotel email marketing campaigns, it is necessary to know whether the one you created is performing well. A/B testing is advised in these situations when a particular design template or content is not performing well. In A/B Testing, you create multiple variations of the originally designed email and then you can track which one of them is performing well. You can do A/B testing of headlines, subheadlines, the layout of the email template, the placement of the form (if present) and CTA button placement. The email that has higher opening rates and encourages users to take the desired action can be used for future hotel email marketing campaigns.

     

Conclusion

Email Marketing has a lot of potential in every industry. Taking into account the hospitality industry, it plays a pivotal role in bringing in new customers, keeping them around, nurturing connections with the ones you already have, and converting them into ambassadors. We hope you enjoyed this read on hotel email marketing tips! Which one was your favorite?

     
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