Transactional emails are one thing, but you’re probably also doing email marketing campaigns to maintain relationships with your past guests and drive new bookings, too. According to Litmus, over 80 percent of travel email subscribers sign up primarily for promotions and discounts – and they’ve become very savvy at sniffing out what is actually a good deal and what isn’t. With that in mind, here are five ideas to help you carve out your email marketing strategy.
Pre-Arrival Email Filled with What to Do
A week or two before their arrival, send guests a preview of what they can expect – not just in terms of amenities and programming at your property, but also activities and attractions to experience in the greater destination. These shouldn’t just be links that send people to a webpage without any context, but stories that do a good job painting a picture, stoking excitement, and helping the reader imagine themselves there. For example, see what we did with this client’s pre-arrival email.
Welcome Back Corporate Guests on Their Own Time
If you book corporate events and are able to get the email addresses of the attendees themselves, send an email to that list in the week or two following the event to get them to come back as a leisure guest, with a promotional offer. They’ve seen your property (perhaps longingly) through the lens of work, so giving them the chance to come back and do it on their terms is something that’ll appeal to many.
If you’re able to categorize email lists based on what activities guests partook in during their stay, you can reach them with hyper-targeted emails. For example, maybe someone who golfed at your course during their stay receives an email a few months later with an exclusive, time-sensitive offer for a golf package. Same goes for those who have spent significantly at your spa or partook in a chef’s table dinner. The key, of course, is to not overdo these emails and define the right windows of time when they’re dreaming about having this experience again.
Locking in the Next Trip
Travel planning starts about 90 days in advance, on average, but the wider range is 30 to 180 days, and you certainly know the sweet spot for your hotel. Whatever is right for your property, send guests an email that far in advance of the anniversary of their stay last year. You want to be on their mind when the “dreaming” stage of travel starts, and people are creatures of habit – so it may be tempting for guests to go with what they know (especially if you make it easy) rather than something new. Consider experimenting with ranges of time (in anticipation of their booking) and look at what converts the best.
An After-Visit Survey
We’ve heard from one client whose post-stay survey is so valuable that it drives every aspect of their operations to respond to the ongoing feedback. Take the opportunity for what it is: a chance to get real feedback from guests who just spent a stay with you and can clearly tell you what they really liked (or didn’t like) and why. But in addition to the way it can inform updates to your operations and customer service, there’s a marketing benefit as well: For those who score above a certain threshold in the survey, add them to a drip campaign that sends them a second email encouraging them to submit feedback on review sites and Facebook. Include the links so it’s as easy as possible for them to do so. The ROI on after-visit surveys is longer-term and harder to measure, but you won’t often go wrong gathering and acting on good data.