What if hotels did email marketing like e-relailers?

How often do you visit a clothing or homewares website and immediately receive an email opt-in offer? My answer would be almost always. To the occasional online shopper, an email opt-in campaign is pretty common and many times expected. However, most hotel websites still wait until after the booking to utilize visitor emails.

So what would happen if hotels took the e-commerce approach to email marketing by capturing visitor information and sending relevant and targeted emails to prospective clients? We took a look a some of the main reasons why this should be a priority for many hotels.

1. OTA’s are already hitting inboxes, hard.

For some first-hand research, I signed up with a major OTA’s email marketing list without booking. Over two weeks, I’ve received an email approximately every other day promoting new deals and relevant discounts for my travels. I’ll agree that for a single property, that amount of emails would be a little overwhelming for the consumer, but it is important to acknowledge the impact that amount of branding will have on a future booker.

2. 50% of a hotel’s traffic will leave without booking, and never come back.

Individual properties on average have over half of their total website traffic come and go, never to return. The high bounce rate can be attributed to many factors including heavy competition, the elongated booking process, and the rise in mobile website traffic. Imagine if out of that traffic, a hotel marketer was able to capture emails at even a 5% capture rate- how could that affect bookings? Using the same logic and processes that many online retailers use, hoteliers can provide meaningful and relevant messaging to guest regarding special rates, original accommodations, or destination attractions they may be interested in. Allowing consumers to opt into a list with the promise of more information can not only increase second-time visitors but also brand awareness to lead to more bookings.

3. Mobile users are on the rise, mobile conversions not so much.

The stats are everywhere, mobile visitors in travel are very much on the rise. The increase in mobile responsive websites has increased consumer comfortability using devices for everyday, quick searches. Unfortunately, this increase in traffic has not correlated to increased bookings for properties. To ensure that this traffic is not lost forever, email capture and campaigns can be used to remind visitors of their mobile search findings again and again as they check their desktop or laptop devices. 

SMS and text automation technologies are on the forefront of hotel marketing, but these applications should not replace the relationship that can be built through email. What can change, is the steps of the process in which each is utilized.

Using email is great not only for reservation confirmation, pre-stay, and post-stay communication, it is also extremely effective in building relationships with new visitors and potential guests.

The How- To:

Integrating pre-booking into a hotel’s marketing strategy is relatively simple. The first is to analyze the website traffic to get a better understanding of which segments of traffic are less likely to book (think: visitors from specific sources, landing on special pages, or even using a mobile device). Then, by creating custom targeted Spring Engage email opt-in forms, visitors can receive a relevant message based on their interests. Once an email is captured the information will be pushed to a custom list within a dedicated email service provider which can offer the ability to send an automated message immediately to the subscriber.

From there, a hotel marketer can track the behavior of a website visitor to learn more about which campaigns they are responding to and what messaging can ultimately entice them to book. Over time, strong and meaningful relationships can be built with guests… before they even enter the property.