Properly employing hotel email marketing best practices can be all the difference between convincing guests to convert and your messaging being buried between a Bath and Body Works sale and an auto pay reminder in a guest’s email inbox. With more than 105 billion emails sent every single day, it’s easy to see how brands risk easily becoming lost in a sea of subject lines.
The challenge of standing out begins long before it reaches a consumer’s inbox. You need to craft a strategic message that speaks to what consumers care about most.
What does the consumer care about? Value. For a hotel, showing value is not as simple as just sending out blanket emails marketing special rates and discounts.
The people receiving your emails are already interested in your hotel. They have likely stayed there in the past, or signed up for email updates from your website. They are engaged guests, and email marketing is a key way to get the consumer to recognize your value.
It all starts with using the right guest messaging solution for hotels that tailors timely marketing campaigns to your guests. From there, you’ll need to test, test, test. Here are 23 hotel email marketing best practices to improve your email marketing strategy.
Two words: Subject line.
This small collection of words plays a pivotal role in the success of your email.
- Create a succinct, attention-grabbing subject line that sparks the consumer’s interest.
- Keep it short – most email providers cut off lengthy subject lines, so aim to keep your subject lines under 60 characters.
- Personalize it. Personalized emails, such as having a guest’s name in the subject line, improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. (Aberdeen Group). This is an easy way to make the message feel special, like you wrote it just for them. To do so, your email marketing platform must be able to read this information directly from your property management system to create personalized subject lines.
- Stand out by using friendly, relatable language.
- Take a risk! Don’t be afraid to experiment with rhymes, phrases and even emoticons. You want your subject line to be eye-catching in their inbox!
Mix it up.
Add variety to the value of your messages to keep the consumer engaged. As a hotel, you have the unique opportunity to tap into people’s desire to getaway. Email people with a more enticing message than just “discounted rates.” Send emails that engage the imagination to get people planning.
- Give someone an excuse to take a sick day or start a new tradition.
- If you have weather on your side, remind past guests in colder climates about the sunny stay they could be having.
- Tie in local events, whether they’re famous or under the radar events guests could enjoy.
- Promote an exclusive special or giveaway with distinct calls to action.
- Design your email with the thought that no one is reading anything, ie, good photography is essential.
- Be sure that the overall design and feel of your email, even down to the basics of colors, matches the intent and tone of your message.
- Your hotel or business may have many deals going on at once but choose only one at a time to market in your email. Fewer choices mean less time needed to grasp what you are trying to convey and a higher chance that a user will do what you are trying to get them to do.
Minimize unsubscribes and maximize click-through rate.
- Do your research: most unsubscribe requests come on Tuesdays (0.52% unsub rate)
- Use captivating and personal call-to-action phrases such as “see the photos” or “read the article” in place of more generic phrases like “click here”.
- Think about timing: are you primarily targeting guests in a specific time zone? Weekday mornings between 9 and 11AM are when most people are signing on and checking their inboxes.
- Consider Fridays: while most marketers avoid Friday because people are more likely to be checked out and dreaming of the weekend, you can use this to your advantage. People are still more likely to check their email during the work week, and you can make the most of their weekend-ready mentality with a well-timed email.
- Test it out. Email marketing stretches across all industries and consumer types. Determine exactly what your consumers want by trying out different techniques. Send the same message to different groups of your database at two different times in the week to find a time and day that your particular audience engages most.
Don't forget to evaluate.
Your email marketing platform should make it easy to track performance.
- Take full advantage of everything your email-sending platform has to offer. Make sure to schedule time after a campaign to analyze its success. Review deliverability, open rates, click activity and revenue generated.
- Change future email designs based on how consumers interact with your past sends. When you find a subject line that resonates with your audience, create similar versions and compare performance.
- When you find an email format that generates a lot of clicks, use that formatting style in future sends to determine if success was based on format or content. Test what kinds of layout and image perform best.
Proper segmentation means sending the right message at the right time.
- Often, marketers send messages because they feel the need to keep contact with their consumers. Be sure to only send if your message benefits the consumer.
- Segmentation is just the practice of splitting up your customer data based on specific criteria, such as guests who stayed in the last year, guests who spent above a designated amount, or guests who live in a specific region.
- Connect your email marketing platform to your PMS so you can create accurate guest profiles and avoid over-communicating with guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is email marketing for hotels?
Email marketing for hotels is an often-used strategy used to reach and convert new guests and past guests. When done correctly through triggered hotel messages, automation, and proper segmentation, email marketing can become a successful, revenue-generating marketing channel. Get inspired and improve your email marketing strategy with our list of hotel email examples.
Email marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. Getting it right requires time, effort, and a bit of patience.
Done well, this inexpensive, customizable and easily measured marketing method can increase revenue and create customer loyalty. Hoteliers should take full advantage of minimal effort for maximum return with increased email marketing efforts.