Suspension of the flights, compounded by lockdowns in many parts of the world, brought an unprecedented phase in the hospitality industry’s history. As per UNWTO, compared to 2019, the number of international tourists came down by (20-30) % in 2020.
As the businesses in the hospitality industry face the threat of significant declines in revenue, sustaining business operations will be difficult in the post-pandemic world. The good news is that the vaccine is ready, and the world will soon be ready for travelers to explore. That’s why businesses in the hospitality industry need to be proactive in their approach and use the best marketing tactics to earn the trust and loyalty of customers once again. One such powerful and effective marketing method is – Email Marketing.
To reap the entire benefits of e-mail marketing, it is important to have a good email marketing strategy in place. In this e-mail marketing guide, we will understand what it takes to create great e-mail marketing for hospitality businesses.
Tips for creating great e-mail marketing strategy for businesses in the hospitality sector
There are many important aspects of a successful e-mail marketing campaign; therefore, it can sometimes be hard to know where exactly to begin. By following the below-mentioned steps, you’ll have a highly effective e-mail marketing strategy in place that’ll help you connect better with your customers, inspire them to take action, and build their loyalty for your brand in the process.
1. Grow your mailing list organically
The first step to take when starting your e-mail marketing campaign is to build your e-mail list organically. Growing your e-mail list organically has the following benefits:
1. Higher click-through rate
2. Higher e-mail open rates
3. Higher conversion rates
Therefore, you should always make your e-mail campaigns permission-based and send e-mails only to those people who have shown interest in your products or services. Here’s how you can gain more subscribers for your e-mail list:
- Take a look at the e-mail list you currently have: The first step towards designing effective email marketing is to have a look at the e-mail list you currently have. Using tracking metrics, it can be determined which users are engaging with your content and which aren’t. To the users, who are no longer engaging with your content, you should try sending re-engagement e-mails, which should be designed to reconnect with your previous subscribers and win them back. Such e-mails should offer something of value to your subscribers, like exciting discount offers. Take a look at the example below to understand better, how to effectively design a re-engagement e-mail.
- Ask for consent; add a sign-up form on your website: Ask only for those details that are really necessary. Don’t make the process cumbersome. Keep it easy, to the point, and attractive, like this sign-up form from Culture Trip.
- Segment Data: Segmentation of your contact data, data based on your previous users’ interactions and customers’ behavioral data is important to better target your customers and sending e-mails that they find relevant. For example, big spenders can be sent deals for luxury hotels; budget travelers can be sent offers to help them plan vacations on a budget.
- Include a clear unsubscribe button: Last but not least, always include a clear ‘unsubscribe’ button in every e-mail you send.
2. Craft your subject lines carefully
Statistics indicate that 35% of the e-mail recipients decide to open the e-mails based on the subject lines. So, make sure your subject line is catchy enough to entice the readers to open your e-mail. Below are some tips to make your subject line effective.
- Include catchy words, like “Introducing” in your subject line.
- Add a hint of personalization by adding the recipient’s name in the subject line. As per Hubspot, it can boost open rates by 50%.
- Create curiosity: Include subject lines, like, “The (Company’s name) Holiday Deals are Here”, which would create curiosity in the readers as to what new deals your company has to offer.
- Delight your customers with exciting deals on their birthday and don’t forget to include – “Happy Birthday (Subscriber’s Name)” in the subject line.
3. Optimize your e-mails for mobile phones
With almost everyone owning a smartphone these days, most of your e-mails will be opened on mobile phones. Optimizing e-mails for mobile phones is especially important for travelers who are almost always checking their e-mails on the go. That’s why you must optimize your e-mails to look good on mobile phones as well. Here’s how you can do it.
- Take the help of an expert or design responsive templates.
- Include the receiver’s name in your e-mail. Address the individual directly.
- Make efforts to know the interests of your customers and send them personalized e-mails based on their interests.
- Make them feel special by asking for their feedback and opinion on your services. Include a simple checkbox survey asking them for their feedback.
- Send your clients ‘thank you’ and welcome e-mails for subscribing to you and ‘thank you e-mails’ if they choose to stay. It’s a good way to make your customers feel special. You can also send them vouchers and special discounts as a way of saying thank you to them for signing up.eep your paragraphs short, clear, and concise, and your image files small. Consider the example below. This is a nice and clean e-mail design from Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. The design is clean, with beautiful images and a clear message.
4. Schedule your e-mails
For a successful e-mail marketing campaign, it is very important to take the timing seriously. Find a schedule that works the best for your customers, and then stick to it. Sending e-mails too frequently or too scarcely can be bad for your e-mail marketing campaign. You can make your task easier by automating your emails. Here’s how email marketing automation improves customer experience.
5. Make your e-mails interesting
If you just keep sending offers and promotions to your customers, they might eventually get bored and unsubscribe. To keep your subscribers interested, you can send them stories, interesting experiences, images, and videos to keep them engaged and interested. You can take a cue from this visually stunning e-mail by The Rosewood Beijing.
6. Make your e-mails personalized
When it comes to e-mail marketing content, one size never fits all. If you send generic mass e-mails to everyone, your clients won’t appreciate that. To encourage new customers to join your mailing list and for your existing customers to stay loyal to you, it is important to personalize your e-mails as much as possible. Consider the following points when creating your e-mails:
In the example below, Hotel Murano has personalized the e-mail by not only addressing the guest but also by including welcome offers for their guests.
7. Track the progress of your campaign
Besides creating an effective e-mail campaign, it is very important to track its progress. From inquiries to bookings to confirmations to cancellations, everything must be tracked.
This way, you will be able to find what worked out in your favor, and you can accordingly evolve your campaign to match the interests of your customers.
Wrapping it up
Research by Hubspot and a report by the New York Times states that for every $1 spent, e-mail marketing campaigns generate $38, which is equivalent to an ROI of 3800%. Although the figures seem great for e-mail marketing, it is not without challenges.
In a research conducted in the hospitality industry, the average open rates were found to be 15.8%, while average click-through rates were found to be just 4.7%.
Therefore, it is important to ensure, you are designing exceptional e-mails for your prospective customers that would entice them to open your emails and turn into loyal, paying customers.
Robert Duke is a Marketing Manager at Blue Mail Media. With over 10 years of experience across B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, and brand marketing, Duke has helped several SMBs and large-scale organizations to elevate their marketing strategies.