We know a good email when we see one: A short and punchy subject line that intrigues; an easily scanned layout that prioritizes content hierarchy (i.e. most important content featured first); and a compelling design that isn’t just on brand with the business but keeps readers’ attention – email after email send.
While all these principles still apply, on account of the current pandemic, email marketing is in a bit of a strange space right now. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying email marketing isn’t currently effective. In fact, multiple email marketing platforms have reported a spike in email engagement since the start of the global health crisis – not just from boredom at home, but because subscribers, since they usually “opt-in” to receive newsletters, trust the information and are more likely to engage with it versus all the other sources constantly coming at them via social media.
Rather, the email marketing issue our clients have been pondering as of late is: What kind of emails should I be sending? After all, you want to keep your brand top of mind by sending emails, but yet you don’t want to seem insensitive. With that in mind, we’ve pulled a handful of hotel email marketing examples that sync up with the state of travel right now in order to target those ready – and those not quite ready – to travel to their destinations.
Hotel Email Marketing Example 1: Catering to Those Who Are Not Yet Traveling
FROM Omni Hotels & Resorts
While this particular email was sent back in March, its approach – to show subscribers how they can replicate the Omni hotel experience at home with virtual travel content, DIY spa pick-me-ups, and recipes – is still applicable to target those who are not yet ready to travel again. In particular, we’re talking about those guests who are flight away from your hotel. And because it has been predicted that air travel will not return to its pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, it’s essential that you are continuing to keep your brand relevant and top-of-mind with your nation-wide consumers.
Hotel Email Marketing Example 2: Catering to Staycationers
While Suiteness is not a hotel, but an OTA specializing in booking suite accommodations in major national cities, this email still applies. Here, they are specifically targeting those in their send list that live in or near Temple, Texas, by showing them the potential suites they could book for a staycation, plus a link that goes to their website with more suite options in the city. While the “Tips Concierge” section below that section is cute, we think the email would be better served with a list of some of the essential “socially-distant safe” attractions that are currently open or even a link to a blog post that caters to the segment – like “10 Destination To-Dos that Even Locals Don’t Know About” – to help entice readers.
Custom Email Strategies that Target Your Unique Guest Segments
Leverage Sales, Generate New Customers & Retain Them
Hotel Email Marketing Example 3: Catering to the Drive Market
FROM Provenance Hotels
Like the staycationer segment, for some time, the bulk of travelers to your property will be your drive-market folks, whatever that natural driving-distance radius may be for your particular hotel and destination. In this email, Provenance Hotels pushed out a road-trip series they created, which promoted various road-trips to their hotel destinations of Northwest Oregon, New Orleans, and Nashville, as well as road-trip-themed offers from their featured hotels. We’re assuming it was sent to past drive market guests to those specific destinations.
Hotel Email Marketing Example 4: Sparking a Little Wanderlust in the Meantime
FROM Opal Collection
If the act of segmenting your email lists or creating new content and email campaigns to target specific consumers is too much of a lift for your internal marketing team right now, if anything, use your pre-COVID content to provide mini-moments of escapism on a wider level (see more here “How a Hotel Can Pivot Its Marketing to Provide Much-Needed Moments of Escapism”). Because the public is looking for uplifting ways to curb the inevitable anxiety that arises every time they turn on the news – travel escapism being a valuable medium to do that.
In this email’s case, which Hawthorn Creative produces monthly for Opal Collection, we used our usual email template. But instead of driving subscribers to the Opal Unpacked blog like we always do, we shared inspirational travel stories from the recently-live digital version of Opal Magazine, including a travel influencer couples’ experience driving down Florida’s Gulf Coast and a narrative about a native New Englander’s trip up the coast of Maine. Sent to the usual list of more than 400,000 subscribers, it saw a reported open rate of 31% (to put that in perspective, the open rate for these monthly sends typical hover between 16% and 19%).
How creative email campaigns extend content reach for this hotel collection
Other Hotel Email Marketing Ideas
Segment & Deploy Re-Engagement Emails
While email engagement, in general, is healthy right now, people are still getting more emails than usual and that can lead to email fatigue. And when subscribers are not opening your emails time after time, it can lower your sender reputation and push future emails toward the spam filter. So the best thing to do is separate the non-engagers out and target them with a re-engagement campaign or even send them less frequent emails. Once you start to see they are engaging again, they can be moved back to the original list.
Create Custom Emails for the Guest Segment that Had to Cancel
Don’t miss out on re-booking a guest that had to cancel on account of the pandemic. But rather than just showcase the ways your hotel is providing a safe social-distant environment in order to entice them to book again, sell them on the destination by providing a round-up of top business and attractions that are open – and doing social-distancing well.
Pre-Arrival Emails that Shows Booked Guests Know What’s Open
Similar to the idea above, but instead targeting guests who have already booked, create a pre-arrival email that gives them a preview of what they take advantage of – not just in terms of amenities and programming at your property, but also activities and attractions to experience in the greater destination.