From app-driven hotel room keys and property way-finding systems, to booking tee times and room service from a tablet, hotel technology is becoming more sophisticated. This is enabling hotel guests to experience higher levels of customization and personalization during their stay—helping them feel more in touch and in control with the services of the hotel only a click or touch away.
While this elevated, customized experience is quickly becoming the standard, it also increases the amount of touchpoints and opportunities hotels can use to personalize the email conversation to their guests across the entire spectrum of their stay cycle. In short, it’s time to level up hotel email marketing best practices to stay on par with the increasing expectations of guests.
The email marketing relationship starts when users opt-in to receive emails from the hotel. From there, several hotel email marketing campaigns can launch, including:
- Welcome Series: This series of emails first welcomes the prospective guest to the hotel brand, then introduces them to the services and amenities of the hotel. This can be one email that gets deployed within 24 hours after subscription, or a series of emails sent once a week. Hotels should use this series to also entice guests to follow the hotel on social media, interact with special, email-only promotions and offers and even request the user sign up for mobile SMS marketing messages. Email welcome series like this one can expect to receive very high open and click-through rates versus other types of email marketing messages.
- Preference Center: Upon initially opting in, present the user with a two-stage opt-in process. The first stage is where you ask for the user’s email address. Once they submit, they’ll be taken to a second page where they can enter any number of optional information including their birthdate and content interests. From this input, a user-driven messaging strategy can be devised that only delivers content that the user wants to read. Essentially, it’s allowing the user to control the content that’s being emailed to them.
During their stay, the user’s stay can be enhanced through hotel email marketing best practices including:
- Amenities Booking Confirmation: Did the guest book a tee time or spa treatment? Send them a confirmation email with a special promotion included for the pro shop or extra spa service. Go one step further, and give them another special offer if they forward an email marketing message to their friend, or opt-in for SMS messages with their mobile number. If they’re already on the property where they can experience these benefits firsthand, they’ll be more apt to provide additional information.
- Special Events Alert: Is there a special event happening during the guest’s stay? Send them an email, either pre-stay or during, that covers the event, allows them to book (if appropriate) and entices them to share on social media.
Post-stay, the hotel email marketing conversation can continue with tactics including:
- Post-Stay Survey: Linking to an online survey service like SurveyMonkey and Wufoo, send an email to users requesting they rate their recent stay at the hotel. This email should go out 24-48 hours after checkout while the experience is still fresh for the user.
- Birthday Message: Wish the user a happy birthday ON their birthday. Just create one birthday template creative, and allow the email-marketing program to dynamically switch out the date.
- Targeted Content: Utilizing the data entered by the guest in the online email preference center, present opted-in guests with a customized part within the general hotel email marketing monthly newsletter. While the guest will still receive general hotel information in this type of email, they’ll also receive a custom message personalized to their interests.
Hotel email marketing technology continues to develop and so do the tactics. Most of the recommendations listed above can be set up as automatic campaigns in both off-the-shelf software packages like Constant Contact and MailChimp, or enterprise-wide solutions including Responsys and ExactTarget.
Ready to take your hotel email marketing strategy to the next level? Dana can help. Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at email@example.com or call 609.466.9187 ext. 117.