Here at Revinate, we talk a lot about the importance of email acquisition and how much of a positive impact a collection of email addresses can have on your bottom line. And it’s true, you need to have a healthy database in order to drive more profitable revenue. But “healthy” does not necessarily mean big.
In my role, I’ve seen many a hotel customer come on board beaming with pride over how large their database is. 300,000. 600,000. We’ve even had a customer with over a million email addresses! However, while that may sound impressive, it’s not the size of the database that matters, but rather the quality of the email addresses stored within that database. Are the email addresses still valid? Are they accurate? Do they represent mailboxes still being used by the subscribers?
It’s important to have the answers to these questions because mailbox providers such as Gmail and Hotmail hate nothing more than when senders deploy messages to “unknown users.” An unknown user is generated when a sender deploys mail to a recipient that never existed, is no longer active by choice, or was abandoned by the end user.
In fact, if you don’t know who your subscribers are, you may actually be sending messages to recycled spam traps. A recycled spam traps is an email address that an individual has abandoned (like my first email address I created way back when) and the mailbox provider has retaken control of the address to use it as a trap.
Sending emails to any kind of unknown user, whether it be an invalid address or a spam trap, will dramatically reduce your Sender Score and make it very difficult for your messages to reach inboxes. Instead, they are much more likely to be delivered straight to the spam box.
So how can you make sure that you are eliminating any evil unknown users from your database? If you are sending to contact lists, I recommend using an email validation service to ensure your lists are clean. They are inexpensive and easy to use such as Neverbounce and Kickbox.
If you are sending to subscribers in your PMS, I recommend that you don’t send campaigns to anyone who hasn’t been on property in more than two years. The longer it’s been since they’ve been on property, the higher the chance is that their email address is no longer valid.
There are many other factors that go into deliverability, but sending to unknown users is one of the biggest. So kick-out those pesky strangers and start marketing to your friends only. Otherwise, no one is going to receive anything from you at all.
Want to learn more about email marketing? CLICK HERE to download our guide on the subject, The Basics of Starting Your Hotel’s Email Marketing Campaign.
About the Author
Erica Rich is the Sr. Hospitality Marketing Strategist at Revinate and is responsible for maximizing customer success through the education and adoption of hotel email marketing best practices. As the developer and instructor of Revinate's Email Marketing Certification for Hoteliers, Erica has traveled around the world, educating hoteliers on how to become effective email marketers. She joined the Revinate team in July 2015 and is based at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California.More Content by Erica Rich