The rise in email volume has created a challenge for hotel marketers. According to Return Path, over 80% of your guests’ inboxes are promotional or transactional in nature. Consumers’ inboxes are flooded with communications, and as a result, hotel marketers face the challenge of delivering relevant, quality messaging to ensure their guests continue to open emails.
Why is this important? Because engagement is more than just a measure of the success of your campaigns. It also affects your deliverability, or the success with which your emails actually make it into your guests’ inboxes. If the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) notice that your emails are getting low engagement, they may give you a low sender score and start marking your emails as spam. So, it is critical that you get the highest possible engagement on your email campaigns so that there are no barriers between you and a relationship with each guest.
To increase engagement and overall effectiveness of email campaigns, hotel marketers need to deliver personally relevant communications to their guest database. Here are five tips to make sure your emails reach the right guest with the right message at the right time to keep your hotel’s email marketing engagement rates high.
1. Create an email schedule
Like all successful campaigns, a great email marketing program begins with a plan. Create a schedule with themed emails so your subscribers get in the habit of receiving content.
One successful way to introduce subscribers to your email program is with welcome emails that greet new additions to your guest database as part of a community. Manage their expectations by explaining what kind of messages you will be sending, and highlighting your value prop or the benefits that guests on your mailing list will receive.
You should also consider creating a recurring email series that provides valuable insights relevant to your audience. For example, your hotel can deploy “travel spotlights” that highlight popular local activities or the best restaurants in your city. This approach keeps consumers interested and opening, and it will encourage them to purchase when they’re ready to do so.
According to a Yesmail case study, such welcome messages and survey campaigns achieve 50% higher open rates than typical promotional messages, proving the importance of a strategically planned email program.
2. Segment your audience
Keeping active subscribers (guests who have recently opened or clicked in an email) is critical for maintaining and improving both engagement and deliverability.
By creating audience segments based on information in your CRM, you can more closely engage your guest database. For example, you can segment by recency of stay (i.e. guests who have stayed within the last six months, 6-12 months, and 12-18 months). You can also segment by interests (guest who have previously booked with the spa or who like a local sports team on Facebook).
Since more emails are being sent, keeping your audience satisfied with personal, relevant messages is essential. Selectively sending emails based on segmentation can lead to 39% higher open rates and a 24% increase in revenue.
3. Introduce a secondary domain
Once you’ve sent each segment a couple of emails to your database, you can start gauge how engaged members of your audience are by whether or not they’ve opened or clicked through on any of these campaigns. You can then further segment your database by engagement and use your primary domain to send messages to guests who are more consistently responsive, and create a secondary domain to “activate” the less engaged.
By creating multiple sending domains, hotel email marketers have a great opportunity to increase deliverability. Domain separation helps maintain a consistent deliverability rate by setting the expectations for the type of frequency, volume, and engagement ISPs will be getting from each domain. Also, multiple sending domains offer a useful “Plan B” in the event that a deliverability issue—like a temporary block or blacklisting—impairs deliverability at one of your domains.
4. Clean your data
Clean subscriber data and opt-in processes are essential for avoiding spam traps or invalid accounts (recipients with closed accounts, incorrectly spelled addresses and other issues) that can threaten deliverability.
A clear opt-in process enhances inboxing rates by protecting the integrity of your mailing lists and increasing visibility into the way recipient data was collected and validated. Best-in-class marketers clean their data on a monthly basis, according to a study completed by Infogroup Targeting Solutions.
5. Deploy triggered campaigns
Triggered campaigns’ timeliness and relevancy assist in engaging the selective consumer. In fact, they garner 2.5 times the open rate of regular marketing campaigns and twice the unique click rate. Triggered messages are deployed based on an action or current event, like abandoned shopping carts, reservation/booking reminders, and thank you emails sent when guests leave positive online reviews.
A best-practice for deploying from multiple domains is to have at least one triggered communication going out of each domain. In almost all cases, the triggered campaigns perform significantly better than the rest of the mailings and keep deliverability rates high.
Want to learn more?
We’re hosting a webinar with Tnooz and Whitney Peak Hotel next week on how to Fine-Tune Your Hotel’s Marketing Communications. CLICK HERE to join us to learn more about delivering personalized, relevant communications and experiences.