Getting Started with Email Marketing for Hotels
Email can be a powerful tool for businesses. Customers want to receive promotional emails from businesses they buy from, and business owners love to see the results. From a marketing perspective, emails provide some of the best ROI on your marketing investment -- up to 44% ROI.
Like any advertising avenue for your hotel, the best strategy involves some testing, measuring, and refining. In this post, we’re sharing what you need to know to get started using email marketing for your hotel.
1. Choose Your Email Program
You don’t have to make a huge investment to start making great emails. Providers like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor provide simple drag-and-drop builders with premade templates. You don’t need a graphic designer to make beautiful emails.
When choosing an email provider, you need to gather the following information:
1. How many email addresses will I send to?
Each email address is often known as a “contact”; all the email addresses you have on file are your “database.”
2. How often will I be emailing my database?
Some email providers charge by the number of contacts you have, while others charge by the number of times you email in a month (your “sends”).
3. What features do I need to access?
Different plan levels will allow you to access higher levels of analytics beyond the number of opens or clicks on an email. More advanced actions could be optimizing send times, advanced list segmentation, and automation actions.
2. Set Up Your Lists
As a best practice, you need to split up your email database into a number of lists to give email subscribers the content that’s most relevant to them. If you send too many emails to your contacts that aren’t interested, they may unsubscribe -- leaving you unable to ever win them back through email.
Create different subscription types to categorize your lists and send the content they want to see. Here are some example lists you might set up for your hotel email marketing and the kind of content you can send them:
- Past guests: promotional emails inviting them back; special loyalty offers; early access deals. Can trigger actions like an email 3 months after a stay.
- Prospective guests: reminders to books before busy holidays; special offers to incentivize bookings; features about your property.
- Newsletter list: provide info on property updates, local events, and insider information; give a promo for email newsletter subscribers whether they are previous guests or not.
- Special event lists: reminders and offers to past guests and prospective guests about recurring events, such as Christmas tree lighting ceremonies or sporting events.
3. Build Your Emails
Your email provider should have a number of templates ready for you to customize for your hotel. Choose a template you like and start designing. Replace the photos with ones of your hotel, change the colors to match your brand guidelines, and update the contact information to match your hotel.
There are a few guidelines that you must follow before sending an email -- and your email service provider will likely prevent you from sending unless you’re compliant. You must include:
- Your business’s address in the footer of the email
- A way for people to “opt-out” or unsubscribe from your emails
- Accurate “from” information for your email
In addition, you need to have received permission from your customers to use their email address to contact them. This is likely included in your terms and conditions on your website forms and booking pages but check with your legal tea first.
Once your template is built, create a new email. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but make sure that your subject line correlates to the information you’re including inside. Send test emails to yourself first to check that everything appears correctly in your inbox and on a mobile inbox. Double-check that all the links work and go to where they’re supposed to go. Finally, it’s time to send your email.
4. Send Your Email
Your email provider should take you through all the steps you need to send your first email. After you send your email, you can check back later to see how many people have opened your email, who clicked on the links, and other useful metrics so you can make your next send even better.
With the right strategy behind your hotel email marketing, you can drive reservations, maintain brand awareness, and build guest loyalty. Once you’ve set up your first email, it’ll get easier and easier to keep sending great content to your database.
If you’re not sure about getting started with email marketing, Travel Media Group can help. Our Reputation Influence program offers post-stay email campaigns that help generate positive reviews. Starting out with a simple post-stay email program can help you test if more advanced email marketing is right for your hotel.