Email marketing is a tried-and-true advertising tool for lodging companies big and small, but small hoteliers use it more than most – and to strong effect.
Still, as customers’ inboxes fill more each day with promotional messaging, how can hotels rise about the rest? How can their voices be heard above the din of shoe stores offering coupons and airlines touting their discount tickets?
It takes a little extra effort, but hotel owners will find the work is worth it. Check out this list of simple-yet-effective ways to use emails to increase hotel bookings.
Customization Still Reigns
By now, many companies have moved toward including the customer’s name in the salutation or even subject line of the email. That’s no longer the best strategy.
Today’s customization trend is to use what you know about the client – travel date preferences, for example, or favorite amenities – to grab his or her attention. Did they use the fitness room every day last time they stayed at the hotel?
Be sure to let them know about the new elliptical machine or the remodeled pool in the subject line of the next email promotion.
Respond to Feedback
Many hotels send out satisfaction questionnaires after guests leave. But how many respond personally to that feedback or, better yet, pledge to address any concerns?
Then, they must be sure to notify the guest that the problem has been remedied, which can be announced in the same email that offers a 10 percent discount off the guest’s next stay.
People are more likely to patronize companies they know value their opinions, and they will feel good knowing they made a difference for other visitors as well.
Subject lines are sometimes the only places where you can get readers’ attention. Pique their interest with what’s written there. Exclusive offers or deals with an expiration date often are the most effective.
Make your guests feel as though they getting a deal that no one else is being offered or create a sense of urgency that they will miss out on the discount if they don’t act within the next 48 hours. This tactic may keep them from looking at other travel sites and instead booking directly through the website link on your promotional email.
It’s even better if you can target a feature you know they are interested in, such as spa services or happy hour in your on-site restaurant.
Make It Easy
Considering the proliferation of travel websites, small hoteliers have to be more proactive than ever in getting people to book their stays directly on the company site. If you are lucky enough to grab readers’ attention with your email marketing and they actually click through to the company page, don’t lose them by forcing them to go through a complicated booking process or making room rates too tough to find. Studies show that half of people who visit a hotel site will not book and won’t return.
Owners and managers also have to be on their game in order to capture site visitors who opt in to receive email messages.
Provide a “Later” Option
Many people who receive your promotional emails might not be ready to book right away. They might peruse your deals and then come back to them later after they’ve solidified their plans. You can offer them a sign up opportunity that will allow them to enter their expected travel dates so you can notify them special discounts, events and promotions will be happening during that time.
Even if you don’t want to offer discounts, you can still present ideas for entertainment around the hotel or deals for rental car companies you partner with. It’s your opportunity to get creative, so no idea is a bad idea when it comes to innovations that can lead to bookings.
Email messaging is a lucrative tool. These five tips can help you get more direct bookings with helpful, logical and inexpensive strategies.