What is hotel email marketing?

Hotel email marketing is an online marketing technique that helps hoteliers automatically send emails to promote their hotel, announce new discounts, request feedback from previous guests, and share news about their property.

It has been done in the hospitality industry for decades now, since email has become a normal part of our everyday lives.

Hotel email marketing is not a new hotel marketing tactic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t revamp the way that you are using this technology.

Hotel email marketing can be a powerful and useful way to generate bookings, increase customer loyalty and engage your target market segment.

Why is hotel email marketing important?

Hotel email marketing is important because it is one of the best ways to generate repeat business and reach new travellers. It can also be used in a variety of different ways at your property, including:

  • To offer reminders and keep your guests informed: Your guests will want an automatic confirmation from you after they have booked their stay, and they’ll also appreciate additional information as their trip gets closer. Packing lists, information about things to do in the area and reminders about your procedures and protocols can be sent via automatic emails.
  • To make announcements regarding your brand’s growth and development: Using your customer data, you can send out personalised emails that will meet their specific needs. You should use email marketing to announce new discounts, to provide information about your new amenities and to offer insights into the latest happenings at your hotel.
  • To stay in touch and remain engaged with past, present and future guests: Email is a primary way of contacting your guests, and you should send out automatic emails frequently so you remain at the forefront of their mind.

How to build an hotel email marketing campaign

Ready to build an email marketing campaign that keeps your hotel top of mind for guests? Here’s how:

1. Create and grow an email database 

What’s the use of an email marketing campaign if you don’t have anyone to send it to? Your first job is to build an email database, which can be done by collecting customer emails at checkout, with newsletter or blog subscriptions, or in return for a downloadable asset, like a guide to your local area.

2. Segment your database

As your database begins to grow, you should group your audience by characteristics they share, a practice known as segmenting. This allows you to send more targeted and effective emails to each segment.

3. Understand the ‘why’

What is the purpose of the particular email you’re about to write? Understanding the ‘why’ is critical if you are to write a compelling email. A great place to start is by working out what stage of the sales funnel your audience is in: awareness, consideration, transaction or follow-up.

4. Add essential copy

There are three key written elements to an email:

  • Subject line: This text essentially decides whether your email will be opened. Make it clear, punchy, compelling, and a maximum of 60 characters.
  • Body: The body of your email shouldn’t be too bulky, lest the audience get bored or overwhelmed. Consider using bold or italics to draw the reader’s eye to the most important bits.
  • Call to action (CTA): What action would you like the reader to take once they’ve read the email? Usually you’ll want them to visit a web page, so ensure the link is eye-catching.

When writing your email, keep the ‘why’ in mind, and put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Will they find this email interesting? Will it inspire action?

5. Add high-quality imagery

Make your email beautiful through eye-catching photographs, and make it yours by featuring your logo and brand colours.

6. Test your campaign

It’s wise to create two variations of your email, as this enables you to conduct A/B testing. You can send email A to one half of a test audience and email B to the other half, and see which one performs better. Do this over and over again, and you’ll gradually optimise your email and make it as effective as possible.

7. Track performance

The two critical performance metrics for email marketing campaigns are open rate and click-through rate, and they measure exactly what they say they do. The hotel industry has an average email open rate of around 26%, and an average click-through rate of around 3%. If you’re doing better than the average, you’re doing well! If not, consider optimising with A/B testing.

Hotel email marketing best practices

  • Collect customer data: Customers are comfortable with the fact that they need to offer up their contact details in order to book a room. Always collect this information and insert it into your database.
  • Segment your audience: As you build your customer database, begin to segment your customers in all manner of creative ways: by age, location, traveller type, rooms booked and more.
  • Target repeat customers: Guests who have already stayed with you will be more open to receiving your emails and will be more likely to action them.
  • Focus on peak periods: Craft highly targeted emails in the lead-up to peak periods, explaining why each customer segment should book with you.
  • Keep subject lines punchy: We all love a pun, but avoid the temptation of making your subject line funny if it dilutes the message. Aim to be clear and concise – tell the reader why they need to open this message.
  • Always include a CTA: Every email you send should have a clearly defined purpose, and your audience should be fully aware of what you want them to do. Always include a CTA, and make it clear and compelling.

Top hotel email marketing strategies

Here are a few email marketing strategies you may want to consider at your hotel:

  • A time-sensitive email strategy: Many hotel managers do not realise that when you send a marketing email makes a huge difference in its overall success. For an email that is designed to increase bookings and revenue, consider scheduling a Monday send out. For an email designed to increase engagement on social media, perhaps opt to send it on Thursday or Friday.
  • A holiday email strategy: Holiday emails are particularly enticing, as travellers love to get into the spirit of the season. Consider sending holiday emails that coincide with a booking promotion or discount.
  • A mobile email strategy: Remember that most of your guests are checking their emails on their phones. Utilise a responsive design for your emails, keep them short and always include a call-to-action.

Hotel email marketing made easier with Little Hotelier

Well-crafted email campaigns are critical if your hotel is to present as an alluring and trustworthy option to your guests, both potential and current. And with the help of the Little Hotelier property management system, you can get email working for you:

  • Guest profiles: A key feature of our all-in-one hotel management software is the Guest Page, which securely logs every guest who stays at your property. These ‘guest profiles’ offer up their email addresses along with other necessary information, allowing you to easily build your customer database and craft personalised emails.
  • Email templates: We’re all about bringing efficiency to your hotel business, even enabling you to save up to 35 minutes per booking. Hotel email marketing automation plays a key role by customising email templates that you can then quickly personalise for each guest, and use pre-arrival and post-departure.
  • Safe and secure: Little Hotelier is GDPR and PCI DSS compliant, so you can be confident that all guest info is securely stored.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).