Five hotel marketing emails to increase brand positivity

By Jessica L on 2 September 2021

Email marketing is an essential way for hotels to drive sales, but it shouldn’t be limited to the transactional. A well thought-out email sequence should mirror the customer journey and enhance the guest experience before, during and after a stay. Anyone who is on your email list already thinks favourably of your brand – here are five ways to keep them inspired with relevant, timely content.

The pre-arrival email 

Pre-arrival emails receive high engagement. With an average open rate of 60.5% and a better average click-through rate than booking confirmation emails (30.6%), they present an important opportunity to boost revenue and set the tone for the stay.

Three to seven days before their arrival, send guests an email that not only lets them know you’re looking forward to welcoming them, but stokes their excitement about getting away. Include a preview of the amenities and current programming as well as ideas for exploring the local area. Give consideration to the copy and imagery – instead of a perfunctory reminder, the email should be visually appealing and a distillation of the experience to come. 

If you’re sending two (any more than that is a bit much), then save upselling for the second email when your audience will be most captive, to use a slightly menacing word. Data shows that wellness treatments and room upgrades are the most popular purchases in the days leading up to check-in. 

The hyper-targeted email

Personalisation is a top hotel marketing trend for 2021. By segmenting your audience and creating a bespoke hospitality experience, you’ll create a lasting impression that can’t be matched with blanket emails. Small, subtle personalisations go a long way, and can add up to long-term loyalty. Tailored touches could include a name greeting in the subject line and email body, and content curation by interests/stay patterns/demographic. When corporate events resume, perhaps this is a chance to create an email list of business travellers who could be converted to leisure guests. It’s worth the extra effort – Campaign Monitor found that personalisation increases open rates by 26%. Moreover, they reported that segmented campaigns deliver a 760% increase in revenue

The pre-emptive email

This is a chance to pique the interest of guests who might be at the dreaming stage of the traveller journey. While the pandemic may have made optimal timing a little trickier to pinpoint, use the data you have to communicate with guests in advance of their previous-stay anniversary. People tend to be creatures of habit and more than ever are looking to familiar hotel brands that they trust will meet their expectations, so it’s an opportunity to be front of mind before they begin making plans. Email is a forgiving medium – experiment with different lead times to establish what will be most effective in the new booking normal.

The post-stay survey

Consumers have an extraordinary range of options. Thank guests for putting faith in your brand to deliver a positive experience and encourage them to provide feedback via a post-stay survey. Given the power of online reviews, this is one of the most valuable emails you can send to your mailing list. Almost all travellers factor reviews before choosing a hotel: 81% frequently or always read reviews before booking and 96% consider them to be important in the research phase. When presented with a choice of competing accommodation, a higher rating can be the clincher. 

There are best practices for encouraging desirable answers: make the survey quick and simple to complete by limiting open-ended questions, and communicate how helpful feedback is for identifying areas to improve on. It’s also a good idea to send the survey around 24 hours after check-out while the stay details are still fresh, but the recipient is most likely settled at home. For those who meet a certain score threshold, send a follow-up email that makes it easy for them to submit their feedback on key review sites.

The inspirational newsletter

Though nobody wants to be bombarded with content that doesn’t serve them, there is huge value in communicating with customers when you don’t necessarily have something to sell. Inspirational newsletters are an excellent way to keep guests up to date with hotel news and connected with your brand. Content might include travel itineraries, concierge tips, local business spotlights or seasonal menu updates, perhaps directing to a blog if resources allow. 

What works for one brand might not work for another; but consistent branding, aesthetics and format are needed to create content that feels polished and trustworthy. There are also no hard and fast rules regarding frequency, but a quarterly send that’s genuinely engaging is preferable to weekly newsletters that haven’t been curated to the same standard. To keep ideas coming, join the mailing lists of your competitors and relevant lifestyle brands, and set out themes that will appeal strongly to your audience's interests.

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