82% of all travel bookings are made online.
This is all you need to know to understand how important your online email marketing strategy can be for your hotel business.
While you might already be familiar with how important doing hotel email marketing is, it’s now more imperative than ever that you know how to do it right too.
Through this guide, I’ll help you put together a step-by-step guide to creating your next hotel industry newsletter.
The benefits of doing email marketing for hotels
To establish your own goals for your hotel newsletter, you must first consider each benefit of email marketing. This will help you create your first list of elements to include in the next email series you’ll send to your future guests.
Here are the top 4 main benefits of email marketing in hospitality:
Drive revenue, profit, and awareness 😍 for your hotel
An email marketing campaign immediately extends your hotel’s online presence. By starting an email list you’re already creating a straight path to possible guests who are genuinely interested in your hotel or destinations. An email is in many ways similar to a one-on-one advertising experience. You’ve got your potential guest (commonly referred to as a lead) and your offer.
A perfect chance for you to put your best foot forward, highlight unique experiences, and differentiate yourself. All this results in extra revenue and possibly higher profits if you’re able to showcase your top-tier facilities. Add in a couple of contests or just an article that’s worth sharing and you’re instantly boosting the awareness of your hotel.
Some hotels even keep their hospitality newsletters online so you can check any updates at all times if you’re interested.
Note: For an optimal brand awareness campaign, combine your email and social media marketing efforts. Spread the Instagram love!
Showcase unique experiences or accommodation opportunities you offer
There’s a very slim chance that your future guests will check out every nook and cranny of your website for fun events, exclusive offers, optional trips, and all the like. Even more so when guests are working with an agency. They might now even know about that gorgeous room you offer with a private pool and seaside view.
Sending regular emails as a small reminder will help you get all these in front of them.
Room and tour opportunities for potential guests, recreation and spa facilities for the ones who’ve already booked. And once you catch their attention, they’re likely to inquire about the offer too.
Start building relations with your future guests
Think of the hotel emails you send as a direct communication channel with your guests. Place yourself in the shoes of your potential guests. Would you rather go to a resort you’re slightly familiar with because you’ve been updated with the latest changes and events or just go for an accommodation choice you haven’t heard that much from?
This though remains an art you need to master in order not to seem like you’re just advertising something. Instead, consider what guests’ needs are and cater to them through educational information that’s of value to them. Think of an email for your hotel as if you’re sending it to a friend. Show them what stay options they have, what tours they can get, at which restaurants they can eat, if you have a renowned chef or top spa services, etc.
Here’s an example of an email Rocco Forte Hotels send where they mention all the information their email updates are going to include:
Nurture leads to convert them into guests and repeat guests
Just like with your website or social media, the emails you send as a representative of your hotel convey the voice of that accommodation and its staff. How welcoming it is, how responsive the staff will be, and just if there’s anything else to do at the hotel besides sleeping and eating. This being said, if you talk to your leads as if they’re already long-term VIP guests, you’ll be able to use your hotel email marketing campaigns as a lead nurturing tactic or to loyalize existing “hotel clients”.
Not all of your email list will book a room at your hotel. Some people just like to dream of a destination. But if you can tailor the content you share to their own liking, they will in return recommend your hotel to someone else, keeping the guest stream rolling.
Best practices – from the hotels that are already nailing their email marketing strategy
There’s no secret to doing email marketing for hotels right. You just need to look at what other successful hoteliers are already doing, tailor the campaigns to your needs and your guests, maybe add in your unique newsletter hotel offers, and you’re set. So next are the best practices you’ll need to go through.
Yes, all of them are mandatory for a successful hotel industry newsletter.
Don’t neglect the importance of content
For hotels, in particular, you’re not just teaching something to your email list. You’re using the newsletter to give ideas. Consider what people might want: stories, articles, guides, videos, ideas, discounts, loyalty programs, or events, and provide valuable information on it.
Don’t be a stranger. Use the client’s language. Take it from your past reviews, social media comments, or even reviews left on competing hotels. Here’s an example of a Booking.com review left for a Maldives resort:
You’ve got memorable keywords such as “absolutely non-boring Maldives” or “add some ambiance to your meal” along with the ideas which you can focus on in your future hotel newsletters such as a welcoming hotel team or sea life activities.
Don’t leave out transactional emails as they can increase trustworthiness. Just compare receiving an email such as the one below to getting a simple text confirmation or none at all:
Keeping it fun
You’re not a hospital. No need to put on an overly serious face. Hotels are all about unwinding and entertainment. So your email newsletter campaigns should be just as fun. At least if you don’t want potential guests to think your their stay will be boring.
You’ve got lots of options here: add in jokes, funny images, or just content that can showcase all your exciting activities.
Hoxton is one of the hotels that are just brilliant at this:
Branding and design
The whole point behind branding was to make your business easily distinguishable and just add that “unique touch” to it. So why wouldn’t you want to brand your emails?
Here’s a look at a hotel newsletter that nails simple design:
Or just create email marketing campaigns for your hotel that have their own personality:
By far a more memorable layout people will want to have a look at each month.
Personalization works like a charm for hotels too
Simply customizing your hotel’s email subject lines will increase their open rates by as much as 50%.
You know those emails Booking.com sends to help you choose a destination depending on your recent searches? You want something like that but definitely not sending them as often.
Since you’re representing a hotel, it’s much easier to find customized offers to present. Send a few questions to find out guests’ expectations or just a survey after their stay is over to use that data for your future campaigns or just to loyalize your past guests:
In case you have hotels in multiple locations, just guide people to check a box with the location they’re interested in upon sign up.
Consider the best time to send out your hospitality email newsletter
Multiple options to keep in mind here:
- Throughout the entire year
- Before peak seasons
- At the beginning of the year
- A few days before each guest’s arrival
- After the guests leave
- Even during their stay
Don’t forget to also segment your audience by location to send the newsletter when they’re most likely to be online. As a general rule email marketing strategy for hotels, stick to sending email after 12pm, preferably during the 2-5pm time span. And, of course, don’t schedule them for Monday morning when everyone’s caught up with work and not able to think about their next vacation.
Use one main CTA
This is a general landing page optimization rule that helps email receivers choose exactly what to do next without wasting time picking the right button to click. But unless you have a single goal with your email [like the survey example above], you’ll probably have multiple buttons sending people to hotel offers, articles, or just your social media accounts:
Note: Notice above how they start their email with a friendly letter-like approach, making sure they’re always building a relationship with the guest and not just selling something to them.
When you’ve got just too many things to talk about and announcements to make, your best bet is to stick to highlighting your main CTA as follows:
Create segments for your clients
Closely tied to my personalization point, different guests will want to receive different offers. Because you know, singles or couples won’t be interested in “family time activities”.
Also, consider the stage of the funnel the client is in. That is how familiar a person is with your hotel, if they stayed with you before, or if they’ve just finished their stay. You can always stick to a safe nest and target multiple segments like in this example:
Don’t forget about the technicalities
All pretty templates aside, you also need to make sure guests will be able to correctly view the newsletter.
How mobile-friendly are your templates? As long as you don’t plan to change your templates often, you’ll only have to do these fixes once. If you work with a developer who codes your template, this won’t be such an issue.
Otherwise, the key factors to pay attention to are:
- image sizes
- how large your CTA buttons are [readers won’t be able to properly click buttons that are too small]
- limiting the number of elements in a newsletter
- placing your CTA as high as possible
- the size and color of your text when compared to the background color
- keeping any text with lots of white space and short paragraphs just like you would organize it with a regular article but much more concise
So you’ve got the template tested but are your email delivered? Keep emails out of spam folders. The first natural step, if you haven’t covered it already, is to start building your email list instead of [illegally btw] buying emails or paying someone else to create them for you.
Other factors to pay attention to if you want your hotel from appearing in the doomed Spam folder:
- Don’t use spam trigger words
- Always ask for permission before you send anything to avoid getting blocked or reported
- Don’t use misleading subject lines
- Increase your engagement rates
- Make it easy for people to unsubscribe or change their email preferences
- Include your physical address and other contact info in the email’s footer
Finally, fun analytics! 🤖
Track your success [or falls] to better optimize future newsletters for your hotel. I’m sure you have at least one goal or reason for sending out these emails in the first place. Take these goals and turn them into measurable metrics like:
- Average email open rate – a low open rate instantly suggests you’re not getting the subject line correctly or people just don’t remember signing up to your newsletter
- Email click-through rate – a low CTR indicates the content you share is just not valuable or you have issues with the accessibility of the email as I’ve mentioned in the mobile-friendly section
- Number of people who unsubscribed – too many emails, sending unsolicited messages, or crafting newsletters with content that’s not relevant will result in more unsubscribes
- Share rates – although most marketers neglect this metric, it’s of top importance for the hospitality business where referrals are a must
- Conversion rate – I’m sure 100% of you want more guests or event attendees so keeping an eye on your conversions will help you tailor your offers and make sure the content you promise is appropriately connected to what you actually offer
Where to take your hotel email marketing efforts next?
You can’t do all this alone. Choose the right email marketing software to build and grow your first email list along with helping you create your campaigns. Next, all you have to do is put down all of your goals, accommodations options, and offers you have and want to bring more attention to.
Here’s a checklist of email marketing ideas you can use for your own hospitality business:
- Location newsletters
- Culinary newsletters
- Subscription confirmation emails
- Transaction updates
- Event promotion
- Discounts or loyalty/VIP programs
Based on these, you’ll craft an email sequence like Confirmation email -> Guide -> Discount -> Event promotion or just stick to sending one email each month or every other month to keep potential guests updated on the fun they’re missing out on. 😉
Already doing email marketing for your hotel? Share your best tips in the comments section to help other hoteliers!