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A Guide to Email Marketing for Hotels

Learn how to leverage email marketing for hotels to boost customer engagement and guest loyalty.

With more than 4 billion daily users worldwide, email marketing is projected to reach a revenue of 11 billion by the end of 2023, and to keep pace with this growth, around 37 percent of businesses are increasing their email marketing budget this year.

Email marketing is a particularly good fit for the hotel industry as well, reaching a 10.25-20.25 percent open rate, 1.17-3.01 percent average click-through rate, and 0.08-0.35 conversion rate for hotels in Canada and the United States. This means that for a hotel that sends out 1 email to 50k people, there will be anywhere from 45 to 175 reservations as a result.

For hotels, email marketing is a great way to segment audiences, send targeted messages, and drive measurable ROI. New to email marketing but want to get your hotel’s name out there and keep in touch with your guests?

This article will give you a straightforward, easy-to-understand overview of hotel email marketing. From the benefits of hotel email marketing to useful hotel email marketing campaigns, read on to learn more.

How can hotels benefit from email marketing?

Nowadays, most consumers prefer to receive updates from brands by email, making email marketing campaigns one of the most effective marketing tools. Here’s what a successful email marketing can do for your hotel:

Build brand awareness

Email marketing campaigns allow you to communicate with your audience on a regular basis.

Over time, through sharing blog posts about local attractions, reminders about upcoming events hosted by your hotel's restaurant, and latest reviews from satisfied hotel guests, your email subscribers will get a good idea of what your brand is all about and your hotel’s products and services.

A well-designed marketing email can also contribute to your brand’s appeal. Create a cohesive look that exemplifies your brand’s standards and values, whether that’s being environmentally friendly, luxury, or perfect for family vacations.

Nurture a lasting relationship

Email marketing makes it easy for you to nurture a lasting relationship with your existing guests, so you are always at the forefront of their minds.

Having to opt-in to receive emails, the guests on your mailing list are already interested in what you have to offer. Segment your email subscribers based on their demographics and preferences and target them with the personalized content they want to see.

Email campaigns are also an effective method to increase guest loyalty and engagement. Ensure your past guests know they are appreciated by sending out exclusive deals and information about your hotel’s loyalty program.

Generate leads effortlessly

Not only are hotel email marketing campaigns capable of generating solid leads, but they are also easy to manage and set in motion.

Certain email marketing software programs, like Mailchimp’s Customer Journey Builder, use customer data to automatically send timely and personalized emails. They keep guests engaged and drive sales without the busy work.

From welcome emails for new subscribers to feedback emails, marketing automation can be a vital asset to your hotel email marketing strategy.

High return on investment (ROI)

Compared to other marketing channels, email marketing has a much higher ROI at $36 for every $1 dollar spent.

In fact, its ROI is more than 4 times higher than marketing channels like social media, direct mail, and paid search. Better yet, it has been proven that if you take the time to test your email campaigns , they are able to produce a 28 percent higher ROI.

How to build an email marketing strategy for hotels

Establish goals for your email campaigns

Running a successful email campaign hinges on a number of factors, but the most important step and first step you should take is establishing clear goals and objectives. What do you want this email campaign to accomplish for your hotel?

It’s always a good to take a look at other relevant campaigns online and successful campaign examples to get some inspiration, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Increase hotel revenue
  • Drive more traffic to your hotel website
  • Boost the number of direct bookings
  • Keep your guests informed about local events and airport transfers
  • Gather user generated content for multichannel marketing, especially social media marketing
  • Gain members for your hotel’s loyalty program

After you get a good idea of the general direction you want to take your hotel email marketing in, take your goals to the next level and make the SMART, or specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, to maximize productivity.

Choose the right email marketing platform

The right email marketing software will make all the difference. Now that you have your goals, think about how much support you need to execute your plan and what features can help lead you to success.

How much experience do you have in hotel email marketing? Do you need a platform that will guide you from start to finish? Or do you only need help with marketing automation and sending out pre-arrival emails and confirmation emails?

Do you need a way to collect customer feedback with your email marketing software? What about tools that can help you conduct spam testing? Make a list of your most wanted features and narrow down your options.

Create a sign-up form

Next, make it easier for interested customers to sign up for your mailing list. Create a sign-up form asking for the most basic information with a clear call to action. Disperse these forms throughout your hotel website, from landing pages to headers and footers. This way, site visitors are more likely to see your form and fill it out.

Give your site visitors an incentive to opt-in to your hotel’s email marketing as well. Early check-in times, room upgrades, and promo codes can all be enticing additions to your sign-up forms.

Of course, another way to add guests to your mailing list is to look into the existing email addresses you have, whether you find them through your property management system, post-stay surveys, or customer service database. Just make sure you comply with your local email laws and regulations.

Segment your mailing list

Subscriber segmentation should always be a key part of your hotel email marketing strategy. Along with personalizing emails and email automation, it is one of the most successful tactics.

Make every email you send count, and target specific members of your audience with the information that’s most relevant and interesting to them. Some ways to segment your audience include:

  • The type of traveling they do: Are the business travelers? Or are they a part of the travel industry and book hotel rooms as a part of an agency?
  • Demographics: Are they Millennial parents who just started a family? Do they need an ADA-compliant room?
  • Geographic location: Is your guest from out of state? Or are they traveling in from a different country?
  • Expressed interests: Are they looking for a relaxing spa treatment? Did they book your hotel previously for the amazing location and access to local events?

Formulate your campaign's design and content

No matter if you want to focus on a weekly newsletter or just promotional emails from time to time, you’ll need evergreen email templates that can be customized depending on the audience and situation.

Mailchimp offers a wide range of email templates with components that can be easily dragged and dropped. These templates do all of the heavy lifting, so you can focus on creating content that attracts and resonates with your audience.

If your email design is your hotel guests’ first impression, then its content is what seals the deal. Starting from an eye-catching subject line to a compelling call to action or product link, you’ll want to have a general idea of what works for every type of email that you’ll be sending, including check-in and feedback emails. Know a few crucial draws and highlights, so you can introduce and promote your hotel in a concise manner.

Along with promotions and deals, appealing email design and well thought out email content is what increase click-through rates and conversion rates.

Test your email campaigns

Testing your email marketing also leads to higher click-through rates, conversion rates, and ROIs. Here are 2 tests you can run to improve your email campaign:

A/B testing: Find out what type of email marketing for hotels works yields the best results by sending one variation of your campaign to one subset of email subscribers and a different variation to another. Also known as split testing, you’ll be able to see what subject lines have the best open rates, whether your audience appreciates graphics, and more.

Spam testing: Image-only emails, emails in all caps, emails with too many exclamation points, and emails with subject lines that are too short are all examples of emails that can be blocked by the spam filter. See whether your email campaign will be placed correctly in your subscriber’s inbox.

Utilize automations

Email automation saves you time and effort. Use automations to send timely emails after every sign-up, room booking, and event registration to showcase your attentiveness while not being overwhelming. In the hospitality industry, where time is money, eliminate the busy work in your email campaigns with automation.

Track the progress of your email marketing efforts

Pay attention to analytics and track email performance to see how you can improve your email marketing. Some metrics of success include:

  • High unique open rate
  • Low unsubscribe rate
  • High click-through rate
  • Low bounce rate
  • High email forwarding rate
  • A growing mailing list

3 email marketing campaign ideas for the hospitality industry

Loyalty programs

Reward guests who frequent your hotel with ways to save money on their future stays. Show that you appreciate them and start building a long-standing, loyal relationship.

For example, offer a free night for every 7 nights they stay at your hotel or give all loyalty rewards members complimentary breakfast or a discount at the hotel spa. Use email marketing to spread the word of your loyalty program and persuade guests to sign up.

Local newsletters

Start a newsletter filled with information about the surrounding area. Include the stories of nearby heritage sites, events happening in the near future, and interesting daily tours.

Feature recipes of famous cultural dishes, profile artists and musicians in the community and teach your guests the local way of living. The options are endless, and you are bound to be rewarded with clicks and traffic.

Reviews, testimonials, and rewards

Showcase your social proof with social media content, video testimonials, and rewards from magazines. Let your subscribers know that there are people, celebrities, and organizations willing to vouch for your hotel. Close the gap between you and your guests and build trust.

Don't overlook email marketing for your hotel

Email marketing can be a huge asset for the success of your hotel. Whether you wish to boost bookings or gain members for your loyalty program, hotel email marketing can help you leave a lasting impression in the minds of your guests.

New to email marketing for hotels and want to learn more? Check out Mailchimp’s Marketing Library for resources on email marketing tips and best practices. Looking for email marketing tools that will make your job easy?

Mailchimp’s email marketing software provides customizable templates, targeting and segmentation assistance, convenient automations, and analytics and AI insights. Try Mailchimp today.

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