When it comes to hospitality email marketing, we often treat email with a “one size fits all” approach. Come up with a snazzy message and offer, throw some links in there, and blast it out to the entire database in the hope that someone will click on it. That’s great if you’re into the load and blast method, but what about maximizing the potential of email as a conversation engagement tool, where we speak relevantly to certain types of guests, rather than all of them at once?
Carrying on a relevant conversation across digital channels is expected by savvy guests these days. By posting/tweeting social content to your followers and updating the website each week with great information and events, you’re keeping them engaged and interested with your brand/property. However, many of us still use this type of communication in the traditional “one size fits all” approach also.
Through the analysis of your email subscriber database and performance metrics, we can begin to categorize each of your guests by where they are on your customer lifecycle/journey.
To start the conversation, we need to capture the guest’s email address by getting them to opt-in to our hospitality email marketing program.
- Add a two-stage opt-in process on your website. First, present the user with an email field on your homepage where they can provide their email address. Once they click submit, they’re taken to another page where they can enter more information like their name, birthdate and mobile phone number for potential SMS marketing
- If you’re a hotel, place a card in each room that invites the user to either write their email address on it, or go to a URL where they can enter it online
- At check-in/checkout, ask customers if they’d like to enroll in your email marketing program. Remember, even though you already have their email address, they still need to provide permission to use it for marketing purposes
- Place email opt-in forms on your social media sites
- Print the email opt-in URL on dining or hotel checkout receipts
Now that you have a database of newly opted-in users, let’s convert them into actively engaged customers by sending them a welcome campaign
- Email welcome campaigns introduce the property to the prospective guest and all the services and amenities it offers
- These campaigns can either be one email, or a series of emails spread across a pre-determined amount of time
- If it’s a series of emails, the cadence of them should coincide with the other marketing emails arriving in their inbox in an effort to not overwhelm them
- Each of the emails in the series should have a booking call-to-action, and also an invitation to share the email online
Keep the conversation going by presenting the user with time/season-based messaging about upcoming offers and events.
- Through dynamic content, place the guest’s first name on each email communication they receive
- Take advantage of the unique opportunity booking confirmation emails present by listing other attractions or services the guest can experience during their stay
- At this stage, actively engaged customers have moved into loyal customers.
- If the guest provided their birthday, send them a customized message from the brand wishing them the best, and perhaps even a special offer
- On the one-year anniversary of their last visit, send them a communication that invites them back and lists some upcoming events or services they shouldn’t miss
- If you have a loyalty program at your property, consider adding the user’s loyalty number to each email message they receive. This will give them a sense of belonging and inclusion into the elite group
This segment of users hasn’t engaged with the brand, visited the property or even clicked on an email for a pre-determined amount of time (usually 6-8 months).
- Identify that you haven’t heard from them in a while, and send them a special offer to entice them to come back
- If they’re going to opt out of the email program, present them with an option to “opt down” to decrease the amount of email they receive per month
Speaking relevantly to guests at each stage of their customer journey can increase the odds of you retaining them as a customer. Reach out to Stephen Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.466.9187 ext. 136 about stepping up your hospitality email marketing campaigns.