Generating an estimated $38 for every $1 spent and conversion rates three times higher than social media, email marketing is the channel that delivers the highest ROI—whatever industry you’re in. So you need to ask yourself: Is your hotel capitalizing on this affordable and easy-to-maintain marketing channel?
If it isn’t, it really should be. Here’s a closer look at three ways that email marketing can improve your guest experience as you increase your revenue, grow your brand, and encourage customer loyalty.
1. Build guest rapport
Email marketing offers you the unique opportunity to personalize your guest service and extend your brand through one-to-one marketing campaigns. Effective hotel email marketing starts the minute a guest has booked and nurtures your relationship with them long after their stay. It’s a chance for you to build rapport with your guests—which translates into positive reviews and repeat customers.
Let’s look at pre-arrival emails. You’re probably already sending your guests a booking confirmation, either from your email system or the OTAs’ you work with. But is that automated email the only time they hear from you before their arrival? The time period between when a guest books and when they arrive is critical to the overall guest experience. It’s in this time that you want to send confirmed guests a welcoming, helpful email. Let them know you’re looking forward to receiving them, remind them of their booking details, and relay to them key information about your hotel. This email ensures that your guest experience gets off to an excellent start.
Pre-arrival emails also present another opportunity: one to increase your incremental revenue through upselling and cross-selling.
Deirdre McGlone, the award-winning hotelier of Harvey’s Point, has seen great results using email marketing to this end: “We have found that a pre-arrival email is the best time to cross-sell as this has been shown to encourage impulse purchases as well as give us valuable information in terms of dinner reservations, arrival times, etc.”
2. Extend your brand’s online presence
You’ve probably created a few social media accounts for your hotel. Are you now wondering how you can grow your online audience? The answer, of course, is through email marketing. Every email you send is an opportunity to promote your social media channels and encourage guests to interact with them.
You can even can start with the pre-arrival email. Ask guests to follow you and give you a “Like” on Facebook in exchange for a special offer from your hotel. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to use email marketing to grow your hotel’s audience online. And not only does your social media reach now include this person and their followers; you’ve also given your guest another reason to look forward to their stay.
3. Discover guest feedback
There’s nothing like direct customer feedback when it comes to improving your offerings and reputation. But soliciting feedback in person isn’t ideal. Have you ever tried asking a busy guest to fill out a survey as they were checking out? An estimated 77% of consumers prefer to receive marketing messages through email campaigns. So there’s your chance to collect valuable feedback for your hotel—with post-stay email marketing.
Sending emails to your customers after they’ve checked out does more than help you discover what they thought about their experience. These emails are also a chance for you to thank your guests for staying with you and invite them to subscribe to your loyalty programs. They’re a chance for you to build on the guest-hotelier rapport you established with your pre-arrival email. And when guests subscribe to your mailing list, you can reach out to them in the future with special deals and exclusive offers.
If guests enjoyed their stay, you can also use this email to remind them about your social media channels and encourage them to share their experience online. If, on the other hand, they had a bad stay, sending them an email opens the door for you to mend the relationship and offer a win-back incentive. Both types of exchanges create loyal guests, which can lead to repeat business and referrals.
What else do you need to know?
Email marketing doesn’t have to be boring. Each email you send is a reflection of your brand and a way to build and maintain relationships with your guests—your source of revenue. So be creative, have fun, and try out different approaches. Because that’s the other great thing about email marketing, besides it being low cost, simple, and effective: it can be adapted, personalized, and optimized. You can always find new ways to make it work for your hotel and to keep up with a changing market.
If you’re ready to get the email-marketing ball rolling, keep an eye out for our next article in this series. We’ll walk you through all the best practices, from choosing an email service provider to tracking your success. If you have any questions for us, just ask them in the comment section below.
We’re looking forward to seeing your hotel’s email marketing next time we book at your hotel!