Even with all of the attention and focus given to Facebook, Google Hotel Ads, metasearch and other tools du jour… let’s not forget the tried and true workhorse of hotel marketing – email!
Smart hospitality marketers know that email marketing is still an essential method for driving bookings. However, it’s just as easy to be complacent with email marketing, using “spray and pray”techniques that only result in fatiguing your list and encouraging people to opt out. Here are three essential components that every hotel marketing email must have to drive conversions:
ESSENTIAL 1: Be Mobile Friendly
Statement of the obvious right?
Think about it: What is the first thing you do when you wake up? If you’re like most people, you grab your phone to sift through your email inbox. In fact, more than 65 percent of emails are now opened on a smartphone or a tablet. Hotels that don’t optimize marketing emails for mobile devices face a steep penalty. Research shows that 71 percent of people will immediately delete an email if it’s not displayed correctly for their mobile device. Ignore the needs of mobile readers and you’ll likely lose them for good.
Not only should the email design be mobile-optimized, your content should also be created with the mobile audience in mind from the very beginning. Think short copy, bold headlines and images, large call to action buttons and plenty of white space for easy scanning.
ESSENTIAL 2: Craft an Irresistible Subject Line
Your guests’ email inboxes are overcrowded places these days. While it may seem like a small part of your hotel email campaign, your subject line has the biggest impact on that email’s success. You either win or lose with your subject line, there is no "good enough." Afterall, an email is worthless if it sits unopened, and the best email is the one that actually gets opened.
Studies prove that 35 percent of email recipients will open email solely based on the subject line. Not only does your subject line have to be compelling enough to grab attention, it has to be relevant and worthy enough to be opened. Keep them simple and clear, convey urgency and resist the urge to be too creative and ambiguous. Instead, you have to hint at what is waiting for the guest inside. If you’re promoting a "3rd night free" special, then your email should say just that. Use a subject line such as, “Limited Time: 3rd Night Free,” instead of a confusing “3 Times the Fun!”
Also, subject lines are most effective when you segment your email list. You should already have a separate email list for travel trade, transient and group business, however it’s best if you keep drilling down. So, build niche lists by geography, travel type (romantic, family, business, etc), or even meeting type. This way, you’ll be able to tailor your subject lines to match these audiences.
ESSENTIAL 3: Have a Compelling Call to Action
A common failure of unsuccessful emails is the lack of an obvious and meaningful call to action (CTA). A CTA is a no-nonsense, clear message that tells your audience what you want them to do. Think about what you want your guests to do, then tell them that explicitly. This can include, "Book now," "Explore our suites" or “Start your adventure.” Otherwise, the email will sit there, languish or be immediately deleted. Never assume your audience will know, want, or feel propelled to take the next step on their own.
Further, make sure your CTA is correlated to the recipients level of interest: if you are blindly emailing people who have never heard of your property before… its doubtful they will respond to a “Book Now” CTA. Instead, gently invite them to “explore the property” or “check rates.”
It’s also important to make the CTA stand out from all other text and graphics in the email. Many people scan their emails on-the-go. So, place the CTA prominently, with a compelling graphic or button.