Getting direct bookings can be increasingly tough in today’s digital marketplace, however email can be a powerful tool for your hotel in driving direct bookings. Although attracting new visitors to your site is important, sometimes bringing the right visitors back can be just as valuable. Email marketing for hotels can serve as the medium by which you engage these visitors and bring them back with value they won’t find anywhere else on the web. Here are 3 ways you can drive direct bookings by using email.
Retarget your past guests
This is an easy place to start and can be extremely beneficial if done correctly. You already have their email address and will likely have additional information about their stay at your hotel. This means, you already have context to include in your emails and they have already experienced the value you provide your guests.
Segmenting your email lists by past guests and potential guests is a great way to send targeted messages and increase overall email engagement rates. This is because the “sale” has already been made and you can use a more familiar language with guests you’ve already given a great experience to.
Incentivize the booking even more by including a free room upgrade or a complimentary meal at your hotel’s restaurant. If your CRM has the capability, check out the different activities they took part in during their last stay and give them suggestions on new activities based on their interests. The data is there, you just have to cycle through it and deliver it in a way that gets them excited to come back.
Nurture prospective guests
If you have a steady stream of prospective guests inquiring about your hotel, email can be a great way to answer their questions in a personalized way. Send them emails from actual people that work in your hotel instead of just a general “info@yourhotel” email address. People like to do business with other people, and including the human element into the email marketing process for your hotel will increase the chances of getting that booking.
Focus on your unique selling point. What will they miss out on if they go to another hotel? Maybe it’s free WiFi. If you have more of a resort style hotel then maybe it’s the number of activities you provide for families. Either way, you need to get them excited for the time they could be staying with you and create a sense of FOMO if they go somewhere else.
It’s important that you collect as much information as possible when you ask prospective guests questions on forms they fill out on your website. Find out how many people they’re travelling with. Ask them about the nature of the stay. Is it business or vacation? This proactive email approach empowers you to us this information to send more targeted emails that can reinforce a booking in the future.
Email is a great way to send reminders for events or holidays as well. Many families like to get away for holidays, even if it’s just a long weekend. Remember to send these types of emails well in advance so you can make sure they have the room options they’re looking for. Incentivize these by providing holiday or event rates. If they’ve stayed with you before you can add exclusivity into the mix by labelling it as “a special rate for our loyal guests”.
If you’re hotel is hosting a business conference, your rooms will fill up quickly with business people eager to get a room right at your hotel. A great way you can capitalize on this is to get a list of the attendees and market to them. Make sure you don’t break any CAN SPAM laws by sending unsolicited emails to people who aren’t expecting an email from you.
With a little creativity, you can get around this and still drive bookings for your hotel through email marketing. Ask to be on the list of the conference’s accommodations list. After all, if you’re hosting the conference your hotel is the closest. The conference will likely send out multiple emails in the months leading up to the event, so try and get a link to your hotel’s site in those emails.
Email plays an important role in your hotel marketing strategy to connect with guests and encourage them to book directly. Not only does it eliminate the OTA middle man but it allows guests to experience the personality of your hotel before they even arrive. This holds tremendous opportunity for you to showcase your value and get them excited for a stay at your hotel.