Hotel Online  Special Report


Get Smarter with E-mail and Direct Mail
and Youíll be Rewarded
October 10, 2005 - How fortunate we are to be witness to another great technology shakeout. I am, of course, talking about e-mail and direct mail as marketing tools. As a long-time marketer from the hospitality industry, I share everyoneís enthusiasm over the promise that e-mail brings. But at the same time, Iím starting to get the feeling that something is not right in the world of marketing and that we need to start making a change right now. 

It all started when I began reading more and more about declining click through rates for e-mail campaigns and banner advertising. All of which are attributed to an ever-increasing amount of SPAM. A Recent study conducted by Executive Summary Consulting, Inc. and Quris concluded that unwanted e-mail marketing messages comprise 37% of users mailboxes, more than permission based messages at 24%. This canít be good. To make matters worse, the study concluded that respondents deleted 39% of their permission e-mail without reading it.

The simple fact is, weíve got to get smarter about what we are doing. That means being smarter about who we market to, when we contact them, what we say and the medium we use to deliver the message. In hospitality, thatís a tall order. Itís not like hotels have a staff of a dozen people who spend all day creating response models and managing multiple versions of campaigns. 

But the fact remains, to use direct marketing successfully, youíre going to want to send fewer messages to a group of more responsive people. I hear you saying, ď yea, and Golf is an easy game, all you have to do is hit the ball straight!Ē The good news is, itís not that hard. First we have to change two things: 

  • Stop mailing large quantities of the same message at the same time. Itís wishful thinking that the same message can be relevant to all those people at the exact same moment. 
  • Stop e-mailing thousands of offers that your recipients could find anytime, anywhere. 
As someone involved in the marketing activities of many hotels, resorts and travel companies I get a pretty close look at whatís going on, whatís working and what isnít. Permit me to share some interesting observations with you:

The MOST successful e-mail and direct mail campaigns are those that are smaller and hence more targeted. Investment returns run anywhere from 300 to 1,000 percent when a lot of thought is applied to selecting which past guests or meeting planners will receive an offer.

I see a lot of homemade e-mail campaigns doing disservice to brands. The effort to save a few dollars now can have a huge impact on your customerís impression of your product over the long term. I also see a lot of over mailing. The fact is, when e-mail frequency drops, we see click rates double.

I also see a lot of guest information go completely unused. Hotel managers often intend to engage in direct marketing activities but get sidetracked because of a lack of resources or funds. Most of the time itís simply the difficulty of getting their data that stops them.

Finally, I frequently hear the statement, ďwe tried direct mail and it didnít do anything.Ē Itís hard to say why something did not work without digging into it. Itís safe to say that direct marketing executed well does work, and to find something that works, you will make some mistakes.

What can you do about these things? First of all, donít be a hero. Get some help. Find someone experienced and competent in direct marketing. Find someone that can help you with the complexity of database issues, design ideas, campaign management and tracking. After that, get a plan and build that plan around your budget. Finally, establish the procedures to carry out the plan, preferably procedures that require very little of your own time. You need to be away from the tiny details in order to objectively evaluate the results of your efforts and change direction if necessary. 

About David Metze:

A former travel industry, marketing executive, David has spent the last 17 years in management and marketing luxury hotels and resorts in a diverse range of markets and segments. David is now the President of Incite Response, a direct marketing agency specializing in highly personalized marketing communications. David can be reached at dmetze@inciteresponse.com.

About Incite Response:

Incite Response is the hospitality industryís direct marketing department, supplying turn key direct mail and e-mail services for a wide range of hotel companies that include, Marcus Hotels, Pelican Bay at Our Lucaya, Preferred Hotels, and Sonesta Hotels among many others. 

With a sharp focus on developing and managing extremely targeted direct marketing programs, Incite Response is able to achieve higher than average returns on our clientís marketing dollars. Call us today to find out how we can generate the revenues you need to stay on top. 

.
Contact:

David Metze
720-493-1020
dmetze@inciteresponse.com
www.inciteresponse.com


Also See: How Can You Get Your Customers to Behave? / September 2005
The New Print Technology that Will Change Your Direct Mail / September 2005
Creating a Marketing Success Story / August 2005
Incite Response Partners With CallMe Corp. To Give Hospitality Clients New Sales Tools / May 2003
Incite Response Introduces PressStart, First 100% Customized Online Direct Mail System / November 2003
Incite Response Introduces 'My Boomerang' Personalized Web Page Service for Hospitality Marketing / Dec 2002


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