Email Marketing for the Hospitality Industry: A Comprehensive Guide
The hospitality industry is uniquely positioned to take advantage of email marketing, from affordable lodgings offering basic comfort to luxury hotels providing memorable experiences.
As a digital marketer and regular traveler, I observe firsthand the strategies hotels employ to attract and retain customers. This article will explain how to navigate the challenging yet rewarding realm of hotel email marketing.
1. The Impact of Email Marketing on Hotels
Pre-arrival emails and reservation reminders are standard in most hotels, with the potential to influence future bookings. According to Think With Google, contemporary consumers plan their travels well in advance, allowing hotels a more extended period to attract bookings through email campaigns.
Direct sales to consumers (B2C) present a significant challenge in the hospitality industry. With numerous alternatives, like Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Hotels.com, competing for customers, direct bookings become a tricky affair.
Moreover, since vacationing habits vary considerably among consumers—many prefer visiting new places each time—retaining customers via email marketing can be challenging but not impossible.
While B2C sales are a hurdle, B2B sales present ample opportunities. By nurturing relationships with business travelers, travel agents, and online travel agencies (OTAs), hotels can secure repeat business via strategic email marketing.
Owners of multiple properties can use email marketing to cross-promote their different offerings. Garnering new clients is also possible with an essential tool—less than 10% of travelers reportedly know their preferred brand before commencing their research.
2. Developing an Email Marketing Strategy for Hotels
Step 1: Commence with Content Creation
Powerful email marketing begins with high-quality content. Providing region-centric mid-funnel content will attract and engage potential customers. This could be SEO-optimized articles, social media copy, or paid ads.
Step 2: Use Content as an Incentive
Transform your engaging content into an attractive lead magnet to convert visitors into email subscribers. Ensure that this ’email freebie’ is of high quality and of substantive value.
Step 3: Implement Landing Pages, Sign-Up Forms, or Pop-Ups
To get potential customers to subscribe to your email list, you could use an embedded form on your website, pop-up sign-up forms, or dedicate an entire webpage (landing page) to gather email subscribers.
Step 4: Select the Right Email Marketing Software
An effective hotel email marketing strategy requires a reliable email service provider. It should help you manage email subscribers, send marketing emails, and grow your list.
Step 5: Deploy a ‘Welcome’ Email Sequence
Immediately after a subscriber joins your list, trigger an automated welcome email sequence. They should receive their free gift promptly, followed by a series of informative and engaging emails.
Step 6: Maintain Consistent Email Communication
Consistency in communication is key to retaining an engaged subscriber base. However, ensuring high quality and value delivery in each email communication is paramount.
Step 7: Leverage Peak Booking Periods for Sales Push
During the period when customers are most likely to make bookings, send persuasive sales emails. This usually occurs at the beginning of the year.
Step 8: Integrate a Loyalty Program
Creating a feeling of exclusivity helps. Many hotels offer discounts and special deals to loyalty program members. It’s an effective method to secure repeat bookings.
Seven Effective Tips for Crafting Your Email Marketing Strategy
1. Aim to Help Through Emails
Your email marketing strategy should target the entire customer journey timeline: from booking confirmation to post-stay follow-ups.
2. Use the Power of Storytelling
Make your emails a visual delight for customers, painting a vibrant picture of the experiences they can look forward to.
3. Harness Email Segmentation
Segment your email list based on criteria such as solo/budget/family travelers or planned travel dates, to send personalized and relevant content.
4. Personalize Emails for Subscribers
Personalized emails go a long way in inducing repeat bookings. They create a sense of being cared for and valued.
5. Utilize Customer Reviews
Positive reviews from past guests can be one of your most potent marketing tools. Highlight positive customer experiences to establish credibility and attract bookings.
6. Be Clear with Calls to Action (CTAs)
Use CTAs to guide your subscribers on what steps they need to take next. It can be ‘Book Now’, ‘Consider our spa treatment’ or ‘Join our loyalty program’.
7. Align With Wider Marketing Plan
Consistency across all your marketing initiatives is essential. Emphasize your brand message uniformly across email, social media, and website content.
The Role of Web Design in Hotel Email Marketing
Why Web Design Matters.
One often overlooked aspect of successful hotel email marketing is the need for a professional and aesthetically pleasing website. A well-designed website with simple navigation and engaging multimedia elements can effectively draw potential customers in and encourage them to subscribe to your email list.
In the age of digital revolution, it’s clear that a solid online presence not only builds credibility, but also plays a significant role in customer acquisition and retention. Therefore, web design should be a crucial consideration alongside email marketing in your hotel’s overall digital marketing strategy.
Feedback Forms and Direct User Engagement.
Incorporating a feedback form on your website can be beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, it gives you direct insight into what your customers are thinking, allowing you to address their needs and concerns more effectively. Second, it gives you an opportunity to gather email addresses and expand your subscriber list.
Social Proof and SEO.
Showcasing positive reviews and testimonials on your website is an effective way to provide social proof for your hotel. This not only bolsters your reputation in the hospitality industry, it also enhances your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, helping your hotel’s website to rank higher in search engine results.
How MKTG Plan Bridges the Gap Between Web Design and Email Marketing
As a leading marketing agency, MKTG Plan understands the importance of a comprehensive approach to digital marketing. We know that a solid email marketing strategy is only as effective as the website that backs it up. That’s why we offer a suite of services that covers both areas.
Our Web Design Services.
At MKTG Plan, we offer top-notch web design services tailored to meet the needs of the hospitality industry. Our team of skilled designers ensures that your website is visually compelling, easy to navigate, and optimized for search engines.
Our Email Marketing Services.
Beyond web design, we specialize in the development and execution of effective email marketing strategies. Our team ensures that your hotel’s email marketing campaign is personalized, engaging, and, above all, aligned with your brand’s identity.
An Integrated Approach.
In a digital landscape where every click counts, the connection between web design and email marketing is key. We apply an integrated approach here at MKTG Plan, making sure that every aspect of your digital marketing strategy works best to meet your goals.
In conclusion, email marketing is an effective tool in the hospitality industry, but it doesn’t work in isolation. Incorporating solid web design elements alongside your email marketing efforts can enhance the overall effectiveness of your strategy to attract and retain customers. Through a comprehensive, integrated approach to digital marketing, MKTG Plan takes the complexity out of email marketing and web design, ensuring your hotel’s online presence is robust and competitive.