Industry Update
Opinion Article31 May 2021

INFOGRAPHIC - 9 Million Hotel Emails Analyzed For Your Marketing

By Tony Loeb, Co-founder of Experience Hotel

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Dear hotel owners and managers,

Email communications with your customers should never be left to chance. Everything must be carefully considered when deciding on an efficient marketing strategy that will allow you to increase your customer retention rate and improve the quality of your customer base.

With this in mind, the Experience Hotel team decided to conduct a survey on the impact of the different types of emails you can send to your customers.

To obtain this data, we analyzed more than 9 million emails, classified according to the predefined categories and scenarios in our system. The target was specific: only customers who had checked out of an establishment at least two months ago and had not yet booked their next stay. We were then able to discover what emails work best and the subjects that interest travelers the most, especially the type of emails that generate the most bookings.

Here are the results of our survey and the different types of emails to send to your customers if you want the best results!

Happy reading!

Let’s start by analyzing the subjects that attract the attention of travelers. Among the different subjects covered in emails, here are the top five:

1. Hi happy customer, share your review!

A few months after their departure, you can ask customers who were satisfied with their stay to share their experiences (on Facebook, Instagram, etc.); and this works very well! It’s best to wait a little while before sending this email, and especially, to exclude any customers who clearly expressed their dissatisfaction while staying in your establishment. It’s obvious that these customers will not respond favorably to your emails. When these customers leave, remember to note that they were dissatisfied, in order to exclude them from your mailing list later.

2. Happy Birthday!

Wishing a happy birthday always works, if you do it at the right time. So, don’t try to send an email on their birthday: the customer has already been spammed with all kinds of emails and will delete all of them with a single click. I recommend anticipating this event by sending your message at least four weeks before their birthday. Birthday emails are clearly a good strategy, since these are the 2nd most opened type of email.

3. Happy Valentine’s Day!

It should be obvious, but Valentine’s Day emails should only be sent to people who are in a relationship. And since information on the marital status of customers is rarely available, here is my advice: segment as little as possible and only send this kind of email to customers who stayed in a double room or a family room, not in a single room.

4. Happy anniversary of your stay!

We tend to send this email one year to the day after the customer’s first stay. However, it’s better to send it a few weeks before. The opening rate of this type of email is much better if you send it two months before the anniversary date.

5. Here’s a special rate for your business trip!

Again, it’s difficult to know who’s staying in your establishment for business or non-business reasons. All you need to do in this case is to send your email only to customers who stayed in a single room, from Monday to Friday. Also, be careful to exclude from your mailing list customers who are already receiving a corporate rate.

Among the top five subjects that generate the most clicks, we generally find the same subjects that customers are most interested in, which is rather logical:

  1. Happy anniversary of your stay
  2. Happy Valentine’s Day
  3. An exclusive offer for your next holiday
  4. Happy Birthday
  5. Hi happy customer, share your review

However, there is one subject that has made its way into the top five: exclusive offers. Offering a promotion for the next holiday is a classic strategy that always works well. So, be sure to include it.

It’s also interesting to note that, in this category, the theme that generates the most clicks are emails that wish customers a happy anniversary of their stay. This shows that many travelers are repeat customers who come back to the same place on a regular basis, for whatever reason.

While the ultimate goal of emailing is to achieve a high conversion rate, it’s also important not to lose potential customers along the way! So we’ve identified the top five hot-button issues, some of which are proving to be double-edged:

  1. Happy Halloween
  2. A special rate for your business trip
  3. Happy Valentine’s Day
  4. National holiday
  5. Extended weekend offer

We have noticed, for example, that Valentine’s Day emails are both a favorite subject and a subject that causes some people to unsubscribe. Why?

This is simply because you need to have absolutely perfect segmentation to avoid sending this email to the wrong people. Couples love to receive this kind of email, while single people are less interested in it, and are certainly more likely to unsubscribe as a result. So, with proper segmentation, this subject can be very successful, but on the other hand, it can harm your customer base.

The same applies to Halloween and business offer emails. Who celebrates Halloween in France, for example? Families with children and young adults only! And you should only send business offers to corporate customers who are not yet benefiting from a preferential rate, because they’re the only ones who’ll be interested.

Segmentation that is too broad, such as for national holidays, which concerns absolutely everyone, is bound to generate a high unsubscription rate. Personalization is the key!

This brings us to the crux of the matter: the conversion rate. In other words, the number of Internet users who book a stay in your establishment after you send them an email. Here are our top five:

  1. Hi happy customer, share your review
  2. A special rate for your business trip
  3. Happy anniversary of your stay
  4. An exclusive offer for your next holiday
  5. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Number one is obviously for guests who were satisfied with their first stay. This must be a well-defined segment in your customer base. When we address satisfied guests, they are two to three times more likely to come back if our email is personalized enough.

Then, of course, are all the promotional emails that allow your customers to save money and to enjoy a discounted stay. This is usually a safe bet!

In this category, we’re no longer talking about emails sent several months after their stay, but the emails that guests receive before, during and just after their stay in your hotel.

Here are the results of our little survey:

  1. Seven days before arrival: 60% open rate and 64% click rate
  2. Two days before arrival: 54% open rate and 57% click rate
  3. During the stay: 50% opening rate
  4. Two days after departure: 46% open rate and 59% click rate

While these figures speak for themselves, it’s worth noting that the first emails generate more interest than the last. The opening rate goes down slowly, but still remains consistent over time. Travelers clearly prefer pre-stay emails, but the rest are still important: it would be a real shame to miss out on opening rates that range from 46 to 60%.

What you need to remember is this: without transactional emails, you cannot do email marketing, and therefore cannot generate new bookings. Why? These emails are there to create customer experience, calculate the satisfaction rate and collect data. Without this data, you can do absolutely nothing! Transactional emails are therefore essential and are the foundation of a good marketing strategy.

Conclusion

Finally, a good emailing strategy is based on two foundations: collecting customer data AND intelligently segmenting your guest database.

Remember to exclude dissatisfied customers from your email lists, as they are unlikely to respond favorably. Then focus on personalizing the emails you send, to maximize your open, click and conversion rates.

Thank you for reading.

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Tony Loeb

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