You’ve got mail (and bookings!)

Even as I write this blog, hoteliers are trying to come with new ways to capture more direct bookings. In my experience, newsletters are a tried and tested medium when it comes to online marketing. I’m disappointed to find that not much effort is focussed towards them.

Even after all the marketing budgets to drive guests to the website, more than 97% of them drop out of the purchase channel. Email marketing can help capture and even remarket to those guests – you are missing out on a great opportunity to attract guests. A big reason why I love newsletters is that they can carry a lot of relevant information. And that’s the basic requirement from content in 2017 – engaging, trending, and informational content. Let me take you through tips to create a well drafted newsletter.

Hit the bull’s eye

Targeting relevant guests is one of the most important components of email marketing, and most businesses don’t get it right leading to failed campaigns. You need to target your guests by age, location and past behaviour. For instance if your email is tailored to women aged between 30 and 60 it can talk about spas and yoga facilities available in your hotel. At the same time you can send a separate mail to younger visitors promoting the hotel’s nightclub. If you want to target an audience from distant locations, then attract them with letters promoting the discounts, or offers for local attractions.

Keep a crispy subject line

Are you aware that around 82% of customers’ inboxes are filled with promotional emails? If you don’t want your email to be categorised as spam, then get your act together. Try to generate emails with a catchy subject line to break through the clutter and hold the attention. The emails could be categorised under newsletter, promotional email/lead nurturing, personal email, and transactional email. So depending on the type of email, you have to set the tone right. You have to offer more than what is expected from the guest from clicking through to your site.

Create a one-time compelling offer

Most of the hoteliers I know try to sell rooms by making use of urgency and paucity as people tend to make quicker bookings if they know number of rooms available is limited. But remember to create a one-time offer on your hotel rooms using either time or product limits, and don’t repeat the offer to the same visitor. For instance a hotel room could be available for a limited amount of time and product limit would mean that the offer is limited to the number of available rooms. But all such offers should be implemented after the success of relationship building exercise through emails, newsletters. You can measure the success of an email marketing campaign through open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate and revenue attribution.

Turn lookers readers into bookers

Your email or newsletters should be able to capture the reader’s attention in approximately 8 seconds or less. Like I mentioned earlier, your content should provide some value or information to the reader. For example, if your hotel is situated in Goa, you can write a newsletter on “5 kid-friendly water activities in Calangute”. If the reader looks up to you to get knowledge, chances are you’ll also be the one to get booked. Figure out interesting topics on deals and discounts, events, food and beverage, and more such things which would attract the reader to your hotel. You could also take to upselling, cross-selling through the newsletters to boost sale.

Customize the mail

Once the guest has registered with you, make sure you send a customised welcome message instead of starting a booking conversation. The welcome message may also include information on the room booking incentive for newsletter subscribers such as free breakfast, bottle of wine, room upgrades, or local travel guidebook. Even if the guest is not ready to make a booking decision, you can always stay in touch through the newsletter. Mention different ways through which the guest can connect with you and try to reinforce your brand value. It could be through a web contact form, email address, phone number, Twitter links, and more.  Don’t forget to link back to your ‘Book Now’ page so that if readers want to make a decision she should be prompted to do it at a click away.

Do share this blog with an hotelier or friend who may need it!

Meanwhile you can watch my Ask Avi Arya show here –

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