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News for the Hospitality Executive

New Email Marketing Tactics
For Hotels To Use in 2010

November 13, 2009 - With the growth of email marketing bombarding inboxes, it's time to get smarter and more creative as to how you use this marketing method. Here are a couple of ideas to think about coming into 2010 that will help you generate some other ways to look at this medium.

Promote Guest Reviews:
Travelers today are placing more value on user-generated content than ever before. This means they are spending more time on review sites like TripAdvisor to see what other people are saying about your property, and using this intelligence as the basis for making a reservation or not making a reservation at your property. As hotel email marketers, maybe it's time to ask your guests what they thought after their stay, and use these results to build more targeted messaging as well as increase brand loyalty.
So how does this work? To build up a database of guest reviews, set up an automated system that sends a message requesting a guest review of your hotel two weeks after their stay. This gives you an opportunity to connect on a couple of different levels. First, you get some honest feedback as to how you are performing as a hotelier, and secondly you learn more about individual personality traits that can help you craft more targeted and engaging messages in the future. Asking guests for reviews after their stay can also increase brand loyalty because you are demonstrating that you care about their experience at your hotel.
Web Analytics:
As hoteliers, do you really know how many guests you lost while they were trying to make an online booking? Did they leave because they thought the booking process involved too many steps? What are you doing to try and reach them before they totally abandon the booking process? This is where web analytics and email can be used in conjunction with one another. Let's say a guest comes to your property website and abandons the transactions before completion. You can use your analytics to trigger an email message asking them to return and try again, or refer them to an online help option. Studies have shown that being there for the guest and reaching out at that point of need will increase conversion rates.
Examine your Database:
Take another look at your email database and don't assume that you can treat everybody the same. You are guaranteed to have different levels of engagement. But to further engage and generate improved return on investment, you will need personalized messaging that targets specific segments. Here's where you need to start. Try splitting your lists into three separate groups each with unique goals that align with guests’ mindsets.

  • New guests:  email recipients who have expressed some desire for communication. You will need to develop messaging to welcome them as new guests, and provide them with useful information and promotions for their first stay.
  • Repeat guests:  guests who are already actively involved with the brand. They have stayed at the property many times, have signed up for the newsletter, and have received information on special deals. This group needs an email that is more transactional-based. The message needs to focus on more up sell or cross-sell offers and special promotions for loyal customers.
  • Lost guests: People who have stopped opening and clicking your messages and who no longer stay at your property. This group needs surveys that identify reasons for lack of engagement, incentives to visit the web site again, and promotions to encourage future bookings.
Predict when the recipient is looking at their inbox:
When is the best time to send an email? This question has been on the minds of hotel email marketers for years. Is Tuesday better than Thursday? I think everybody has a view on this but it really is nothing more than a view. Now there is technology out there that can analyze recipient behavior and predict the ideal email delivery time for each address on your mailing list. The system then delivers your message to the recipient’s inbox at the precise day and time they are most likely to be looking at their inbox. By reducing the chances of an email getting lost you will increase your chances of increasing your open, click-through and conversion rates.
Hopefully, these tips will help you think about email marketing in a different way as you approach 2010. It's not just about crafting a great offer and sending it out to the universe, it’s about using this tool in a more ‘social way.’ Use it in a way that's helpful to your guests. Be there when they need you and you will increase your bookings naturally.

If you would like to learn more about Internet Marketing please call us at 978-465-5955 or send an e-mail to


O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
44 Merrimac Street
MA 01950

Also See: How can Social Search Impact my Hotel? / November 2009

Sir Martin Sorrell’s Forecast for 2010, Is Your Hotel Looking Ahead? / November 2009

Chris Brogan Interview - Hotels that Listen to Social Media Generate Business / October 2009

Create Videos about Your Hotel - Your Guests Already Are! / October 2009

Thought, Reason, and Emotion Affect Consumer Decision / October 2009

Southwest Airlines is Riding the Blogosphere Like a Wild Horse! / October 2009

Don’t be Invisible Online - Learn which Websites Travelers Use to find Hotels and be Seen! / September 2009

What can a Blog do for my Hotel? The General Manager from Hawthorne Hotel Shares Insight! / September 2009

How to Edit, Export, & Upload Your Hotel Videos – Easy Technical Tips / September 2009

How Hotels Can Build Links by Leveraging their USP, PR, and Organic Growth; an O’Rourke Video Interview / September 2009

Will Google Caffeine Affect my Hotel SEO? / August 2009

Don’t Hide From Trip Advisor Reviews! / August 2009

5 Ways Hotels can Improve and Track Return on Investment from Twitter – Oh wait, there is no investment! / August 2009

Leverage Blended Search and Boost your Hotel’s Search Ranking Position / August 2009

How to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Natural Search / August 2009

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