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Tambourine Hotel Marketing

3 Quick Ways To Drive More Bookings From Hotel Email Campaigns

November 9, 2016


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.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Want more group bookings? Tell a better story.

May 27, 2014

Tambourine: Hospitality and Tourism Marketing BlogWeddings. Family reunions. Milestone birthday weekends. Nothing fills your hotel like a group celebrating. They book multiple rooms, eat at your restaurant, and bring merriment (and revenue) to every outlet in the hotel.

If you can show them the story they will someday tell, you’ve sold them.

You’d love to book an event every weekend, but marketing to these groups is difficult and expensive. Party planners are fickle. Trends come and go so quickly, you’re forced into costly updates and repackaging. But there is one timeless, common desire every guest wants. And you can sell it over and over at little cost to you. What is it? A story they can repeat for years to come.

Whether you have all the amenities on their checklist or not, if you can show them the story they will someday tell, you’ve sold them. Of course, now the question is how to get the story into their heads. Let’s examine some ideas together.

But first, you must know what constitutes a story.

A story is not your lush green surroundings. It is not room décor or chef’s creations or cake toppings. Those are details. More than likely, you already have a website and brochures full of details. A story is grandma traveling across the state to dance with 5-year-old Johnny. A story is the bride forgetting her something blue in her suite and the best man retrieving it just in time. Stories revolve around people. When you tell a good story, guests picture their grandma dancing in your ballroom and their best man dashing through your hallways.

5 Simple Tricks to Event-Capturing Storytelling

Now, that you have an image in your head of a good story, we can uncover some ways to make them public.

  1. Start small: You need a story to tell one. If you haven’t booked a wedding in six months, you can still show your romantic side by creating a weekend engagement package. As more people propose at your hotel, use their stories. The internet loves proposal stories.
  2. Post a Treasured Memories page on your website: After an event, tell the planner you want to feature their party. Ask if you can interview a guest. It doesn’t have to be the star of the party. Somebody who traveled far or who has known the guest of honor the longest usually has a good tale to tell. Remember, people love to share these stories. You simply need to ask.
  3. Use spontaneous quotes on social media: Spontaneous comments build associations between your hotel and emotions. For instance, a partygoer says to you, “I danced so much my feet will hurt for a week!” Instantly, your property sounds like a fun place to throw a party.
  4. Take control of social media by creating a hashtag:  Business conferences use hashtags so attendees can connect. Chances are your private events will too, but learning what those hashtags are can be tricky–unless you create them. Sneak a #MarklovesMelissa or a #SamsAManMitzvah at the end of your first correspondence. Put your hashtag on welcome packages and cards. Get everyone excited about sharing their story on social media.
  5. Add-in your guest service skills: Now that you know where to find them on social media, join in on the conversation where appropriate. If everyone is enjoying dinner downtown and you know there is great live jazz next door. Use their special hashtag to suggest they check out the show. Essentially take the impeccable guest service you provide in private and broadcast it.

Bonus Tip: Don’t wait until your next event to begin. Get in the habit of storytelling today.  As you read this post, did a memorable guest story pop into your head? Share it with us in the comments. Or post this on social media with your favorite story from a past private event.

About Tambourine

Tambourine drives revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. For more information, visit


Part 1: How finding hotels has changed for consumers.

November 20, 2013

Tambourine 30th anniversaryHow Finding Hotels Has Changed for Consumers

Remember when well-worn guidebooks, dog-eared travel magazines and a friend or travel agent’s recommendation were your sole sources of where-to-stay inspiration? As we mark our 30th anniversary as a hotel marketing firm, Tambourine takes a look at how finding hotels has changed for consumers since 1983.

Today, expanded GDS reach, loyalty programs, individual hotel websites – plus mega-sites like Google, Expedia, Kayak and – have made the job of finding a hotel easier and, conversely, more complicated and time-consuming than ever before.  According to a report by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, a would-be hotel guest typically makes 12 visits to an OTA website, requesting 7.5 pages per visit and spending almost five minutes on each page. (Interestingly, that same traveler usually goes to the hotel’s individual website to make an actual booking.)

…the Internet is almost exclusively their source for information gathering and trip-planning.

The job of finding a hotel can, indeed, be time consuming, but taking a leap of faith that your travel agent is going to steer you to the right spot is no longer your only option. Further, thanks to the price transparency and sheer number of travel sellers on the web, consumers are more empowered than ever before. Sites like TripAdvisor take this empowerment to another level by allowing consumers to listen to each other rather than blindly accepting messages of travel and hotel brands.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, the Internet was used by approximately 90 million American adults to plan travel last year. Among FITs (individual travelers over the age of 35 who avoid packaged tours), the Internet is almost exclusively their source for information gathering and trip-planning. In a recent survey, nearly 70% used their personal computer, tablet or smartphone to source travel information while less than 20% were tapping the services of a travel agent.

 “The Internet has changed the way people shop for travel,” explains Tom Anderson, chief marketing officer of Grand Lucayan Bahamas, “creating a consumer who is empowered with information and able to make better, more informed decisions.” Not only are consumers window-shopping in advance of their trips, recent research shows that 44% of them are using their smartphones to research travel while traveling.

…a strong, engaged social media presence is a must in order to attract new guests and keep long-time guests coming back.

But online information is just part of the story. The old-fashioned (and often quickly outdated) hotel brochure has given way to a sophisticated array of digital wizardry that taps into the power of visualization. If a would-be guest can’t visual herself swimming in your pool or dining in your restaurant, your online presence isn’t working hard enough. Proving the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words,” Henry Woodman, president of ICE Portal helps hotels tell their story visually. “Generally speaking, people don’t buy unless they see good visuals and if hotels don’t have good visuals, they are doing themselves a disservice. They could be leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.” Not so long ago, good visuals meant professionally photographed still shots of a hotel’s guest rooms and public spaces; today the visual tool kit includes full-screen photography, 360-degree virtual tours and highest-quality video.

Incredibly, while the travel consumer is light years smarter and more sophisticated, she’s also being targeted with laser-like precision. Our firm and other digital marketing leaders like ICE Portal are increasingly data oriented, using what we’ve gleaned about the consumer to deliver unique, demographic-specific content that will resonate on a more personal level. “Where once the consumer might have been able to click through an assortment of property images, soon we will be able to deliver only the photos relevant to you. If we know you’re an empty nester, you’re not going to see photos of the kids club,” says Woodman.

And while Instagram-worthy images are a key part of any digital marketing package, it’s important to remember that a strong, engaged social media presence is a must in order to attract new guests and keep long-time guests coming back. “It doesn’t matter if a luxury hotel is based in New York City, Caracas, or Dubai. A strong social presence is needed to attract new guests and engage loyal customers, all of whom expect mobile updates and content from their preferred brands,” writes Skift reporter Samantha Shankman.

About Tambourine

Tambourine drives revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. For more information, visit

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