For hoteliers, email marketing is a powerful way to connect with guests, nurture future guests, and keep them interested in their property. Not only is email marketing profitable, but it is also one of the best ways to generate revenue by providing customers with offers such as upgrades, cross-sells, and experiences. But more emails don’t necessarily mean more revenue. Getting your email cadence right will have a big impact on your overall conversion performance.
The power of email marketing can be abused
The one who made the first statement, “You can never have too much of a good thing,” obviously didn’t live in the age of emails. Few would dispute the value and importance of email – it consistently delivers the highest ROI of any marketing channel. In fact, hotels can win as as $44 for each dollar they spend on email marketing – with conversion rate 3 times higher than social networks. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no surprise that hotels – or any business for that matter – want to use email communications to capture as many additional revenue opportunities as possible. But it is not that simple.
A common mistake hoteliers make is not understanding how often their guests want to hear from them. The average consumer receives many emails every day. So much so that many consumers feel overwhelmed. According to a study by Activist, nearly half (49%) of consumers say they receive too many emails from business owners and marketers. In fact, according to survey results, many consumers would like to receive significantly fewer emails than marketers send on average. the Activist researchers found that about three in 10 consumers (29%) would like to hear from a brand once a month or less.
Hotel email marketing cadence should reflect the guest journey
Effective email strategies are not only timely, but also highly personal, targeted, and designed with customer goals in mind. Personalization increases email open rates by 26% – whereas emails that are too general and/or contain too many offers, links and multiple calls to action (CTAs) are confusing and dilute their potential for success. By aligning your email cadence with your customers’ needs and with personalized content, you increase the likelihood that your customers will interact with your hotel.
The customer journey spans from travel inspiration and research to booking, pre-arrival, check-in, the stay experience itself, and even post-stay. These journey milestones represent opportunities for you to reach out by email, but remember that the “what” and “why” of sending emails are intrinsically linked to the success of individual messages and of the overall campaign. While multiple email communications may be warranted during the initial inspiration phase of customer acquisition, once a customer has made a reservation, the content of the emails becomes more important than the frequency. Between booking and payment, email efforts such as pre-arrival and in-property communications should focus on providing the guest with additional value-added services that complement their stay.
But that doesn’t mean blitz the guest with a million offers of all types. To create emails that get results, hoteliers need to be narrow and precise in their offers. For example, once guests have booked their stay and received their booking confirmation, closer to arrival, hoteliers can enhance the guest experience with a personalized pre-arrival upsell email. The purpose of a pre-arrival email is not just to prepare guests for their stay, but also to get them excited. Pre-arrival emails provide a great opportunity to offer room upgrades and early check-in. Once a guest has arrived and is on the property, messaging should focus on promoting relevant on-site services and events, such as dinner reservations and golf, and should be communicated within a timeframe that reflects the typical booking window for these sites. Likewise, additional communications such as “enroll in loyalty” should be sent from the middle of the stay and if you are promoting other locations, these should only be communicated after payment.
Ultimately, the goal of email marketing should be to reach the point where communications no longer feel like marketing, but rather where every interaction brings value to the recipient. And while many different communication possibilities can seem overwhelming and nearly impossible to achieve, marketing automation eliminates the stress and provides a simple yet effective way to improve the customer journey every step of the way.
Successful email marketing that mutually benefits hotel and guest
There is no doubt that email marketing is a cost effective and powerful direct marketing method. However, it can also be extremely difficult to get it right. Email marketing is not about filling inboxes with marketing ads. Email marketing is about serving your audience. Smart hotels that provide timely and relevant content with targeted offers and information not only stand to gain from increasing guest satisfaction, but also increasing revenue.
About ROOMDEX, INC.
ROOMDEX Hotel upsell software, “Upgrade Optimizer”, automates, monetizes and ultimately simplifies the hotel room upgrade process by empowering hotel guests with the power of choice. Automation is the cornerstone of our pioneering hotel optimization platform. ROOMDEX uses hotel booking, guest data, and its proprietary personality and price algorithms to deliver personalized digital offers, dramatically improving the guest experience. The hotel upsell tool relieves hoteliers of the labor time required by other upsell solutions while delivering high margin revenue and substantial ROI.
The company was founded by Jos Schaap, Pierre Boettner and Denis Bajet, three industry veterans (Ex. MICROS-OPERA (now Oracle Hospitality), StayNTouch, Shiji and Nor1) who together bring over 90 years of hospitality software innovation experience in PMS, integrations, revenue management, BI, mobile, self-service and upgrade optimization software. Since its inception in spring 2020, ROOMDEX has signed over 90 hotels with 8,500 rooms in the US, UK and Europe.