You send dozens or hundreds of emails to guests every day. You check your open rates, CTR and even unsubscribe rate and see that things are not going as good as they were before. Is there anything you could be doing differently?

Perhaps the answer is yes.

Email marketing for hotels has changed. It still remains as a tactic that drives an effective return of investment (ROI), but it is not the same as five or even two years ago. Therefore, even if you know it works, you need to adjust certain things in order to create an optimal hotel email marketing strategy.

Let’s dive into the different changes for email marketing in 2024 and how hotels can build an effective strategy.

Big changes in hotel email marketing in 2024

In 2024, Google and Yahoo changed a few things for users, to help them receive less spam and make it easier for them to unsubscribe. This means now all companies must include a one-link unsubscribe button and process the unsubscribe requests within maximum 2-days.

What does this mean? Basically, you will see your database fluctuate a lot, because now it is easier than ever to unsubscribe.

It also means that to prevent the unsubscribe rate from going up to the skies, you need to provide users with valuable content that makes them keep the subscription.

The truth is, while unsubscribe rates might seem like a scary metric, they can actually be a valuable tool. A healthy unsubscribe rate across industries is around 0.26%. This means for every 100 emails sent, you might expect 2-3 unsubscribes.

On another hand, the fact that guests now have the option to easily unsubscribe with a single click creates transparency and builds trust with your guests. After all, you don’t want to keep them in your database just because there is no easy way to get out of it.

Ultimately, having unsubscribers leads to a cleaner email list with more engaged users who are truly interested in your offerings and see the value. These engaged subscribers are more likely to convert into paying guests, boosting your hotel’s bottom line.

But is there anything other than email for hotels?

One key point to keep in mind is that email is not the only channel you should use to communicate with your guests. Just like a lot of people like it, there are others who prefer other channels like SMS or WhatsApp.

The point is, there is not one message that fits all channels, in this case you need to understand your guests in order to make the right decisions and find a balance. Email marketing for hotels is not dead, however, you need to open yourself to a multi-channel approach and reach a balance.

There are certain types of messages that are best received if they come through email, for example, a booking confirmation. However, if you want to share the wifi code or a discount code for breakfast, you could use other channels such as SMS or WhatsApp.

And the golden rule is to always ask your guests what their preferred channel is. In this way, you will be creating a valuable experience for them from the first moment and increasing their satisfaction.

Get inspired: 4 ways to step up your guest communication

3 types of email marketing

Transactional emails

Transactional emails are named so because they deal with the transactions between you and your customers. They are generally automated responses triggered by customer actions, for example, booking confirmations, room upgrade confirmations, among others.

Customers are expecting this type of email as a reassurance that everything went okay in their process. Now, is it just about confirmation? No, not really. Through these emails you also have a chance to communicate directly with your guests and transmit your brand essence, which will help you to build the relationship with them.

Promotional emails

From the literal standpoint, promotional emails help you to promote a product, service, or offer for your guests. You generally send them out in the pre-stay, for instance, to offer room upgrades, breakfast or dinner, a treatment in your spa or other special amenities.

The best way to make these campaign emails effective is by not sending the same offers to everyone but taking into consideration their profile and preferences.

Nurture emails

You might be thinking about regular newsletters, and indeed, they are part of nurture emails. It helps you stay on top of your guest’s mind by regularly providing them information or updates about your business and offerings.

These emails are about building trust and maintaining a connection, more than immediate selling. On top of it all, it’s a way to remind your customers how much you value them.

How to build an effective hotel email marketing strategy

Email marketing for hotels isn’t just about sending emails. It’s about building relationships with your guests and offering them incredible value. Here are some best practices to help you build an email marketing strategy that enhances guest experience.

1. Gather insights about your guests

The first step to any successful marketing strategy is to know your audience. For hoteliers, this means understanding your guests’ preferences or dislikes, and then tailoring the messages accordingly.

What are the services they look for the most? Do they want a spa invitation or a breakfast discount? How many of them book suites versus the superior room? What type of room is the most popular one?

The more insights you get about your guests, the easier it will be to create personalised messages that deliver value.

Tip: A Hotel CRM can help you gather demographic and behavioural data about your guests, analyse preferences and gather guest feedback
to uncover important insights.

If you want to know more about how to use data in hospitality, read the article“Hospitality Data: How to use it to increase revenue for your property”.

2. Create different audiences for your emails

Once you have a clean guest database, segmenting your guests can help you send targeted, personalised emails. Remember, there is no one message that fits all when it comes to talking to customers. This means, it’s unlikely that one single offer can meet the preference of every guest.

While some may appreciate a luxurious hotel dining experience, others may enjoy exploring local options more. Another example is a business traveller that won’t find as attractive your offer for a couple’s massage as an actual couple travelling for their anniversary.

Therefore, instead of overwhelming your guests with email offers that are left unopened, you need to segment them and send only the right messages.

Again, a CRM designed for hospitality is very useful here, because you are able to categorise your guests in different ways, like based on demographics, past interactions, booking history and more, and even combine a few traits to be more detailed and tailored.

Some examples are: first-timers, returning guests, millennials, bookings with no breakfast, high-spenders.

If you want to get more ideas of other audiences, read this article: 9 audiences you can create for better hotel marketing campaigns.

3. Create engaging content

As mentioned before, this is key to avoid getting too many unsubscribers. While most emails are generally skimmed over, emails with engaging content often tend to stand out and get people to remember your brand.

It is not enough with providing valuable information during the guest journey. It also means creating catchy headlines, showcasing beautiful pictures of the property, or simply being aesthetically pleasing. Create a design that embodies your brand identity. Use pictures, infographics, or illustrations that speak about your services and properties in the email.

After that, you should always add that personal touch. It goes beyond addressing them by their real name in the subject line. With the segmentation you have created, you can personalise email campaigns and send the right messages via the right channel.

Use the insights you already got from your guests. Now you know what they like and you can create a message that portrays the same idea. For instance, for returning guests, consider offering them a 15% discount at your other hotels in different locations.

Learn how to get the most out of personalisation in hotel marketing in this article.

4. Make use of A/B testing

A great feature of email marketing that hoteliers can also use has to do with A/B testing. That means, some of your audiences will receive an email with subject A, while the other part will receive it with subject B. Then you can evaluate which subject had the best performance and use it for the rest.

You can apply this testing not only to the subject, but also to the actual content or images in the email. Then you will understand what makes your guests react and gets their attention.

5. Analyse and optimise

Your work doesn’t end with sending out emails. Analysing the effectiveness of your campaigns by tracking open rates, click-through rates, engagement rates, unsubscribe rates and conversions is vital. Use these statistics to refine your approach and improve future campaigns.

Remember to constantly update your email list since unengaged subscribers could negatively impact your overall email deliverability. Therefore, to ensure its quality and relevance, regularly clean your email list to remove inactive subscribers.

Discover how Bookboost helps to boost marketing operations in your property.

6. Plan ahead and embrace automation

Email automation can be a game-changer! Not just for your guests but for your team. Fir example, you can schedule welcome emails for new customers, thank you emails post-checkout, and reminders for abandoned bookings.

Imagine how much time your marketing team can save by forgetting about manually sending each email? As for the guests, automated emails will arrive at the right time, making it easier to develop a strong interaction and relationship with your guests.

Read this articleto understand what more automation can do to help you save time in your property: Automation in your hotel: Best practices to save time on your property.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Bombarding your guests with generic offers can come off as annoying spam. As we highlighted the importance of personalisation above, take the opportunity to customise your offers for each guest and make them remember you.

Don’t send emails for the sake of emails. Sending too many can lead to unsubscriptions, but sending too sparingly, your audience might forget you exist.

Try to find a balance and what your audiences prefer and plan your guest journeys in advance. Remember that is not about how many touch points you have, but if you are actually delivering value on each one of them.

Finally, don’t forget to make your campaign desktop, mobile and tablet friendly. Study indicates that 41% of people view emails on their phones, 39% on desktops, and the remaining 20% on tablets and other devices. With the increasing use of mobile devices, optimising your emails for mobile viewing is very beneficial.

Conclusion

More than just a way to communicate with your guests, email marketing in the hospitality industry will continue to be a powerful tool in 2024. However, not all guests will have the same preferences, that is why you should aim for multi-channel communication, finding a balance between email marketing, SMS and WhatsApp.

Regarding email marketing for your property, an effective strategy helps hoteliers to personally reach out to guests, grow brand awareness, and build long-term relationships. As the landscape evolves, following the best practices we provide, staying up-to-date with improvements in technology and changing guest behaviour will empower your business.

Remember, every email you send contributes to the perception your customers have about your hotel. Make each one count!

Here’s to more bookings, more revenue, and better customer relationships. Ready to take your hotel business to new heights in 2024 with email marketing?

Follow us on Linkedin to stay up to date with the new hospitality trends, and subscribe to our newsletter to get more tips and hacks for hotel marketing and operations.

Johanna Bernuy
Marketing Manager
Bookboost

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شركة النمر هي شركة متخصصة في تصميم وادارة المواقع الالكترونية والارشفة وكتابة المحتوى والتسويق الالكتروني وتقدم العديد من خدمات حلول المواقع الالكترونية والتطبيقات وهي شركة رسمية ومسجلة منذ عام 2015.

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