Email may feel like an antiquated channel, but its longevity is undeniable. It’s been around for decades, making it one of the most used communication systems on the web. In fact, email marketing is still a useful approach for the hospitality industry. As an IBM email marketing study found, hotels and other travel services rank in the top quartile (at nearly 57%) for unique email opens.
Email is an excellent way for you to develop strong relationships with your guests. Let’s look at how you can optimize your direct email marketing efforts.
Back Your Campaigns With Data
As with any marketing campaign, collecting and using data is crucial. There are many potential data points you can collect about your customers, but one useful set is RFM:
Recency: How recently a guest has stayed with you.
Frequency: How frequently they visit your hotel.
Monetary: How much they spend during their stay.
These points in particular can give you a snapshot of your most profitable customers.
A/B Testing and Metrics
Tracking your email campaigns and using A/B testing can also give you valuable insights. For example, try running two separate but similar campaigns with different subject lines, and track how each one performs. To measure the success of your campaigns, you’ll want to monitor key metrics, including:
Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that weren’t successfully delivered.
Clickthrough rate: The percentage of links clicked within an email.
Conversion rate: The percentage of recipients who clicked a link within an email and completed an action.
These metrics can provide a quantified base for judging what is and isn’t working.
Set Up Email Automation
Automating your email marketing efforts helps you deliver your messaging much more efficiently. Email scheduling is easy when you use email automation services like MailChimp, which allows you to reduce the potential for human error while sending emails that still feel personalized.
Email automation goes hand-in-hand with gathering and using data. Many services enable you to collect and analyze analytics after a campaign, so you can repeat the success of your most effective campaigns. In order to capitalize on the best timing, you can specify events to trigger an email, such as a customer’s birthday or peak booking times at your property. While automation can save you a lot of time and energy, it’s still important to check the system regularly to ensure your efforts are making a positive impact—recipients might unsubscribe if they receive too many emails or ones that are irrelevant to their interests.
You can create more relevant marketing campaigns through audience segmentation. Split your audience into small, specific groups based on their similarities—such as demographics, interests or travel reasons—and then launch campaigns that appeal to these smaller segments. For example, before summer arrives, you might send an email to your seasonal bookers about warm weather activities available at your hotel, so that your property remains top of mind when your guests start planning their trips.
Offer a Compelling Message
Quality content is crucial to creating emails that generate leads and drive conversions. Elements like the subject line and message body require thoughtful consideration to motivate recipients to continue reading and follow through with your call-to-action. Here are a few tips to strengthen your emails:
Create intriguing subject lines: Ones that address a recipient’s interests will encourage email opens.
Keep your messaging brief: Succinct content that uses compelling storytelling and statistics will create an effective statement.
Present a clear call-to-action: A concise and direct approach (e.g. “book a room today”) lets your recipient know what they’re being asked to do.
Other Email Marketing Best Practices
There are a few essential practices that can help you manage your email campaigns and build a meaningful relationship with your audience.
Update your contacts database: Keep your mailings lists clean by removing old/duplicate/invalid email addresses on a regular basis.
Optimize your emails for mobile: Check if your email system includes mobile optimization as over half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices.
Offer a visible unsubscribe option: Ensure your recipients understand how to opt out of future emails, as this is a legal compliance issue for all commercial messages.
Email continues to be a strong component of an overall marketing strategy. By optimizing your content, structure and targeting, you’ll make the most out of your direct email marketing campaigns.
Besides email marketing, your hotel guests can be a great way to improve profitability. Learn how you can turn your customers into brand ambassadors.