The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive businesses which means, effective marketing is absolutely essential for the success of a hotel. But, like any business, hotels have a limited marketing budget, and simply throwing money at marketing won’t deliver the key results you want unless you have a solid strategy in place.
That’s why email marketing is crucial for the hotel industry: email marketing returns $38 for every $1 spent, making it the channel with the best ROI.
Of course, that kind of exceptional ROI doesn’t come without good planning and a great marketing strategy.
In order for you to get the most value out of your marketing budget, you need to master the most important facets of a successful hotel email marketing campaign and Campaign Monitor wants to help.
With this knowledge, you can create email marketing campaigns that deliver the best results for your business.
Everything you need to know about email marketing for the hotel industry
Read on to learn the eight key tips that will make your hotel marketing stand out:
1. It all starts with a list
Before you can turn email subscribers into loyal, paying customers, you need to build a strong email marketing list.
Sure, that sounds easy, but how do you actually go about creating a great email list?
Evaluate your current list
First, look at the email list you currently have. Starting with the people that have already agreed to receive contact from you is a great way to evaluate the quality of your email marketing list.
If you have been tracking metrics like open rates, you should know which subscribers are engaging with your content and which ones aren’t. You now have two clear segments within your existing list.
Try sending a re-engagement campaign to your subscribers who are no longer opening your emails in order to remind them why they subscribed in the first place. This campaign should include an exciting offer like a large discount or even a free night’s stay. However, if you decide to pull out all the stops, remember the point is to reconnect with your subscribers and win them back.
The reason for sending a re-engagement campaign is twofold: you either get unengaged subscribers to re-engage, leading to more opens and ultimately more conversions, or, if they don’t re-engage, you can drop these contacts from your list and focus on the people that will actually deliver results.
Though it might be difficult for you to cut hard-won contacts from your list, but doing so will drastically improve your open rates, which in turn will lead to better inbox placement, and you’ll end up with even better results.
Grow your list
Including a simple, easy-to-use subscribe form on your website is essential. Ask for basic, important details, but don’t make the subscription process a long, complicated endeavor.
Also, asking guests to subscribe in-person when checking in or out of your hotel is another great way to grow your email list with quality contacts, since you know these people are already engaged with your brand.
Best of all, you’ve already made a positive impression on these subscribers through your services and hospitality.
2. Don’t forget the branding
Far too many businesses—in the hotel industry as well as any other—only push sales messages with their email marketing campaigns.
While the entire point of marketing, in general, is to increase sales, there are more ways to convert subscribers into paying customers than just pushing discounts and special offers.
Branding is important for every business and it can set your hotel apart from the other nearby hotels that may offer similar amenities and pricing. In addition to being a great place to spend a night, you want your hotel to be known for its care, hospitality, and attention to detail.
Highlight what you have
One great way to do a hotel branding campaign is to highlight local tourist attractions that guests may be interested in through a blog-style email to your subscribers. In turn, they’ll see you as a trusted advisor when planning their trip rather than just a place with beds, pillows, and bathrooms.
Personalization is essential
Understanding your subscribers in more detail and segmenting them accordingly allows you to deliver more relevant branding campaigns. For example, weekend travelers may appreciate information about local events or points of interest while business travelers may want to discover the top 10 restaurants for an after-hours business dinner.
Personalization increases email open rates by 26%. By delivering personalized, relevant content, you’re increasing the likelihood that your customers will engage with your business and see your emails as a trusted, must-read source.
The example below is a confirmation email from a hotel and it includes far more content than just a receipt or confirmation of booking. While it may seem small, customers who are excited about their stay will appreciate the extra effort to offer some local info.
3. Share beautiful images with your subscribers
The average person remembers 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. Don’t be afraid to share stunning images of your hotel, landscape, and amenities to make your marketing more memorable!
Email campaigns are perfect opportunities to capture the attention and imagination of subscribers with images.
If you operate a hotel on a beach, then you may want to include an image of an oceanfront landscape to get subscribers dreaming of sand between their toes. A mountain resort could use beautiful landscape shots and people heading out for a day of skiing to reach their target market.
You could even show off new renovations, amenities, or restaurant offerings with images in your email campaigns.
4. Segment your email list for better personalization
As email marketing continues to grow in popularity, people receive more and more emails from the brands and businesses they interact with. This means your emails need to stand out and grab the attention of your subscribers with content that speaks to them.
While marketers have found that segmented campaigns deliver a 760% increase in revenue, generic campaigns just can’t deliver the same results.
This means businesses need to build better lists, segment those lists for better personalization, and then deliver the content that will most appeal to your unique segments of subscribers.
In order to determine what content your subscribers most desire, put yourself in their shoes. A business traveler probably won’t respond well to news of an upcoming special event, since they aren’t in town for sightseeing. However, they may be interested in a calendar of trade shows or conferences in your city, evening dining specials for guests, and frequent traveler rewards points.
Segment your lists and watch the results to learn what kind of content your segments prefer.
5. Track your campaigns and measure success
At the beginning of every campaign, you should be setting a goal. Once the campaign is complete, you need to evaluate whether or not you reached that goal and where improvements can be made for your next campaign.
There are some important metrics that every marketer should be tracking during every email marketing campaign. These metrics can reveal what you did right and what areas could use improvement as well as what content performs the best. Once you know what works, you can tailor your content to replicate and then improve those results.
Additionally, tracking the metrics an also show you the weakest point in your customer journey.
For example, if you find that your open rate is very high but your click-through rate is low then you may need to ask whether the offer is compelling enough. Is the offer relevant to the subscribers you are sending it to? Perhaps the call to action was not clear.
Whatever weakness you discover, you can address before your next send in order to improve your KPIs and feel good about what you’re sending.
6. Write the right copy
Though we talked about the importance of images in emails, copy also plays an important role in the success of your email marketing campaign.
First, you want to begin with a strong subject line that entices your subscribers to open the email. After all, that’s the first hurdle to getting your email acted on.
Once someone has opened the email, what kind of offer are they being presented with and how?
Your ultimate goal should be to grab their attention early, keep it throughout the email, and then wrap it all up with a quick but compelling call to action. Short, punchy copy with a minimalist design is one of the biggest trends in email marketing right now.
Remember, you want your subscribers to receive some information, get excited, and then move on to your website to actually complete a booking.
The email below is not for a hotel but it illustrates the effectiveness of short copy and minimalistic design. Your eye jumps down the email quickly, and you are presented with a short call-to-action that is simple to digest and understand.
Email marketing for the hotel industry is essential for building repeat business and earning the business of new travelers.
With email marketing, you can get the best return on your marketing investment while better targeting your subscribers with offers and information that is relevant to them.
With these tips at the ready, you’re ready to create your most successful campaign yet.