When hotels get started with digital marketing, often the first thing they tend to look at is advertising on social media and large search platforms such Google AdWords and Bing. Email marketing is often overlooked, even though it is a vital part of a hotel’s overall marketing activity.
- Gives a much more personal approach to communication with your audience than ads
- It is less expensive than paid campaigns on AdWords, Bing, or Social
- You can target people who have either stayed with you or, have shown interest in your hotel
- It’s a valuable tool for your book direct strategy
Our client data-set showed users entering the funnel via email in the past 3-month period, stayed on the site for an average session of 1-2 quarters longer than that of users entering from Social and Display ads.
What’s more, whilst overall audiences on Display and Social ads are higher than email, the conversion rate for email marketing is more than double that of Social ads and more than 6 times higher than Display ads.
By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion, according to an Email statistics Report carried out by The Radicati Group.
Hotel email marketing campaigns are intended to engage at multiple touch points throughout a customer’s journey, from targeted booking offers and pre-arrival promotions, to post-stay email surveys and requests for hotel reviews.
At the initial stages of creating your Email campaign ask yourself: Which emails will convert into real bookings and build long-term guest relationships?
How do you measure the success of your email marketing campaigns?
There is a chain of events and steps that make your email marketing successful.
- Ideally, your email should be opened by a large number of recipients.
Your goal here: A high open rate!
The easiest way to ensure this is to build a strong and healthy email data base. You can do this by offering a discount for those who subscribe on your website – this means they’ve already been interested in your hotel as they were on your website, and they are actively “opting in” to receive your emails.
- Next, most recipients should click through to your link.
Your goal for this step: A high click-through rate!
The best way to ensure this is to have a clear call-to-action (Book Now-Button) – this gives the reader a clear “next step” that you want them to take, whether that’s to book a room, reserve a table at your restaurant, or upgrade their room type.
- Finally, most recipients should book a stay at your hotel.
Your goal here: High Revenue!
Make it easy for your recipients to book. Always link your audience to a landing page promoting the rate or to the rate plan in the booking engine that you would like to sell to them. It’s key to fulfill the promise you made in the email – don’t promote a special offer and then link to the home page where the offer isn’t visible, make the booking process as simple as possible.
For more advice on creating an email marketing campaign that generates hotel bookings, read this blog.
How indicative is the conversion rate of the success of your email marketing campaign?
Various factors must be taken into consideration here. The email conversion rate is relative to the number of email addresses as well as the quality of your database.
Example 1: 20 emails were sent out and 1 booking was made: Conversion rate is: 5%
Example 2: 5,000 emails were sent out and 100 bookings were made: the conversion rate is still at 2%.
The difference in both examples is most likely the conversion value you gained from the email campaign (100 bookings vs. 1).
How to engage with your audience
Email marketing is a great way to engage with your audience and you can get your brand in front of them at any point of the day, anywhere. The key is to grab their attention as they’re often not focusing solely on your email. This study from 2016 shows where people are most frequently reading their emails:
This study by the same company shows there is quite an even split between people who check their emails as they enter their inbox, those who check several times a day and those who check just once. With mobile users, naturally checking them the most frequently.
According to The Radicati Group, 80% of email users are expected to access their email accounts via a mobile device by 2018. Meaning email marketing should not be overlooked just yet!
Email templates must be optimised for mobile as well as desktop – chose your email provider carefully, whether it’s a free option like MailChimp, a paid solution such as Campaign Monitor, or even as part of a bigger CRM platform such as Hubspot it’s important for emails to be visible and attractive on all screen sizes and email providers.
Don’t be afraid of high unsubscribed rates! These figures can be daunting, but keep in mind that unsubscribers (people who unsubscribe) are a good way of keeping your data bases clean, targeting only those interested in your hotel!
It’s vital to stress the importance of sending out emails to healthy data bases, targeted at potential converters, as opposed to having large quantities of data bases with poor leads. You want a database full of loyal customers and those with a strong potential for conversion.
And lastly, always optimise for mobile-first!
Mobile devices can’t be ignored by hotels and email marketers as they account for the majority of email interactions. Mobile email opens have grown by 180% over the last three years and mobile represents 54% of all email opens (source).