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Hotel email marketing: Examples and campaigns

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 1/02/2024

What is hotel email marketing?

Hotel email marketing is one of the most viable and cost-effective ways for your hotel to reach guests and boost direct bookings.

Marketing through multiple channels, both traditional and emerging, can significantly increase costs at your hotel. Email is a simple way to market effectively on a lower budget, and still drives great results.

On average, email marketing returns almost $40 for every $1 spent, which gives it a return-on-investment advantage when compared to other marketing channels.

Table of contents

Why do hotels need email marketing?

Hotels need email marketing to attract new guests, engage new customers, retain existing customers, and to promote and build their brand reputation.

This blog will take you through a complete guide to email marketing at your hotel. Let’s go!

Simple rules of email marketing to follow

Email marketing is a diverse discipline, but there are a few ingredients in nearly every hotels’ secret EDM sauce:

  • Clear subject line: Your subject line is your first impression. It should be concise, engaging, and reflective of the email’s content. A compelling subject line can significantly increase your open rates. For instance, using a question or a sense of urgency can grab attention.
  • Segment email lists: Tailoring your emails to specific segments of your audience can dramatically improve engagement. By categorising your email lists based on factors like customer behaviour, preferences, or past purchases, you can send more relevant and targeted messages, enhancing the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Quality content:  The content of your email should provide value to your recipients, whether it’s informative, entertaining, or promotional. High-quality, relevant content not only engages readers but also establishes your brand’s credibility. Remember, content that resonates with your audience can lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Personalisation: Personalisation goes beyond addressing the recipient by name. It involves tailoring the content to meet the specific interests and needs of the recipient. Personalised emails show customers that you understand and value them, fostering loyalty and improving response rates.
  • Clear Call-to-Action: Your email should have a clear objective, manifested in a strong call-to-action (CTA). Whether it’s to download a resource, make a purchase, or visit your website, your CTA should be prominent and persuasive, guiding recipients towards the desired action.
  • Avoid spam: Steer clear of words and phrases that trigger spam filters. Overly promotional language, excessive use of caps and exclamation marks, and certain keywords (e.g. “free”) can land your email in the spam folder, reducing its visibility and effectiveness.
  • Monitor and analyse performance: Track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to understand the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. This data provides valuable insights into what resonates with your audience, enabling you to refine your strategy for better results.
  • Get feedback: Encourage recipients to provide feedback on your emails. This not only engages them but also provides you with direct insights into their preferences and needs, which can be used to improve future campaigns.

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7 steps to building a hotel email marketing campaign

While email is a simple tool, there are still a number of requirements for you to fulfil if you want your emails or email campaigns to be successful. Here are the general steps you need to follow:

1. Build your email databases

First things first – before you can influence any travellers you need a list of email addresses which you can send your content to. The best ways to do this include:

  • Implementing a sign-up form on your homepage and in the footers of key pages
  • Creating a separate sign-up for your blog
  • Requesting guests who book with you to opt-in
  • Asking current guests to sign-up in person when they check-in or out
  • Getting sign-ups from your social media pages

2. Analyse current email performance

Looking at key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates will give you a good idea of which types of emails and content are working for and which are not.

Based on this you can try:

  • Using different types of emails
  • Changing your content
  • Altering when you send emails and how many you send
  • Switching your CTAs
  • Updating or switching landing pages

This will allow you to optimise your performance and deliver better results as your list grows.

3. Segment the members of your database

By looking at your email performance, you’ll be able to see who is engaging with your marketing and who isn’t. Try splitting these people into two different lists.

For the group who hasn’t been engaging, you could try offering an incentive like a discount or special package to get them interested in you again.

4. Personalise your emails

Following the previous point, you can go further and segment your lists based on demographics, reasons for travel, preferences and motivations, and more. The more data you can collect, the better your segmenting can become.

Personalising your emails will have a very positive result on engagement and your key conversion metrics, earning you more bookings and revenue in the long term.

Some figures say a segmented email campaign will deliver a 760% increase in revenue when compared to generic campaigns.

5. Optimise copy and images

How you say something is often just as important as what you’re saying, so it’s important to test different messages to see what people respond to most. Regular A/B testing will help you determine the best content to use.

Additionally, we’ve all heard that the average person remembers 80% of what they see and just 20% of what they read so make sure you feature amazing images in your emails where applicable. Show off your best amenities and your destination’s most breathtaking attractions.

6. Always send follow-ups

It’s always easier to market to current customers than to find new ones. 

Once a guest has checked it’s vital that you keep them engaged – and they can also do some marketing for you.

Thank them, convince them to stay again with an offer or discount, and ask them to leave a positive review for your hotel if they enjoyed their stay.

7. Keep tracking performance

Constant data collection and performance evaluation are needed to know if your strategies are working. Don’t assume the changes you’ve made are the correct ones. Validate your thoughts by analysing the same key metrics we talked about at the start of the process.

Image explaining Hotel Email Marketing

What types of marketing email should you send your hotel guests?

To ensure you’re never boring or spamming your email contacts, try sending a variety of marketing email types such as:

  • Acquisition emails that include offers and incentives that are designed to win bookings quickly.
  • Promotional emails that talk about a particular event or service that’s happening within your property or in the local area. Make it clear that it’s something travellers won’t want to miss!
  • Retention emails that touch base with former guests such as by saying happy birthday or happy stay anniversary.
  • Blog emails to subscribers giving them news or information about your hotel or your destination including listicles, guides, or reviews.
  • Guest engagement emails such as pre-arrival emails that remind guests of their trip details and also offer an opportunity to purchase extras and add-ons.
  • Announcement emails to give guests the chance to participate in competitions or giveaways, or special events.

Remember: with every email you are building a relationship with your customer. By taking the time to send personalised and relevant communications, guests will feel valued and want to book with you or spend extra on their stay.

If you’re lacking inspiration, check out this post on Pinterest for a tonne of examples and templates for inspiration.

Hotel email program ideas to try

When you start thinking about the different topics and subject lines you could use for your email campaigns, you’ll realise the hotel and travel industry allows for a lot of variety and creativity.

Here are just some of the angles you could try:

1. Seasonal emails

Target guests all year round with enticing seasonal emails that convince guests to enjoy a winter break, summer getaway, or spring celebration.

2. Holiday promotions

Give leisure travellers every reason to spend their holiday periods abroad, exploring a new culture or a new part of their own country.

3. Urgency messages

If you need to quickly boost occupancy for an upcoming weekend, send an email offering travellers a limited-time discount.

4. Blog posts

Blogs offer plenty of variety, enabling you to educate, entertain, and market to subscribers and go into more detail about why your destination is a great place for tourists, or why your hotel is perfectly suited for business travellers.

5. News and updates

Any exciting developments about your property or within the local community should be communicated to your database because it could give someone the nudge they needed to finally book a stay or return for another time.

6. Sharing the love

If you get any particularly outstanding reviews or have prominent figures and influencers mentioning your property, use this as marketing material to entice more travellers to your hotel.

7. Local highlights

You could do a series of emails highlighting the top local attractions or eateries, positioning yourself as a trusted local guide and travel advisor.

8. Time for fun

Host competitions and giveaways that you can also promote via social media to boost engagement and reach while increasing your occupancy and giving you a chance to win revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel email marketing examples

Welcome email example

Subject: Welcome to [Hotel Name] – Start Your Journey with Us!

Email Body:

Dear [Guest’s Name],

Welcome to [Hotel Name]! We’re thrilled to have you with us.

At [Hotel Name], we’re committed to providing you with an exceptional stay. Here’s a little taste of what awaits you:

  • Luxurious rooms: Comfort and elegance in every corner.
  • Gourmet dining: Culinary delights to tantalise your taste buds.
  • Relaxing spa: Unwind and rejuvenate during your stay.

To make your experience even more memorable, here’s a [10%] discount on your first spa visit. Simply use the code WELCOME10 at our spa reception.

We’re here to ensure your stay is nothing short of perfect. If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Looking forward to welcoming you in person,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Hotel Name]

Special offer example

Subject: Exclusive Offer Just for You – Discover [Destination] with [Hotel Name]!

Email Body:

Dear [Guest’s Name],

Ready for your next adventure? We’ve got an irresistible offer for you!

Stay at [Hotel Name] and explore the wonders of [Destination] with this exclusive package:

  • 3 nights in a Deluxe Room
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • A guided tour of [Local Attraction]
  • Late check-out at 2 PM

All for just [Special Price] – a saving of [Percentage]!

Book now and create unforgettable memories in [Destination]. This special offer is valid until [Date], so don’t miss out.

Start planning your escape today!

[Hotel Name] – Where extraordinary experiences await.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Hotel Name]

Loyalty program email example

Subject: Join Our Loyalty Program – Exclusive Benefits Await!

Email Body:

Dear [Guest’s Name],

As a valued guest of [Hotel Name], we’re excited to invite you to our Loyalty Program.

Join today and enjoy a world of benefits:

  • Earn points with every stay and redeem them for free nights, room upgrades, and more.
  • Exclusive access to members-only offers and events.
  • Priority check-in and late check-out upon availability.

Signing up is easy and free. Plus, receive [500] bonus points as a welcome gift!

Become a member today and start enjoying the rewards.

[Hotel Name] – Where your loyalty is valued.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Hotel Name]

Hotel email marketing best practices

To ensure you aren’t falling prey to common mistakes or missing any must-dos, here’s a helpful list of best practices to keep in mind when creating your hotel emails.

Target repeat guests whenever possible

It’s always easier to win bookings from guests you already know and have a relationship with.

Send your more targeted emails in peak periods

Guests are more likely to look for rooms in the run-up to peak periods, so use this time to remind them why they should book with you.

Never miss a chance to collect and use customer data

Every customer who books a hotel room online understands they must be willing to provide their email address (in order to receive their confirmation email and other important information from the hotel).

Always collect this data at the time of booking or check-in and use it to follow up with your customers in a timely fashion.

Optimise send times

Personalise and send emails that relate directly to your guests’ needs and preferences. In particular, be mindful of which time zone they’re in and send emails when they’re most likely to be receptive.

Keep subject lines short and direct

Your subject line can make or break you from the start. Outline clear benefits and messages in the subject line so guests are more encouraged to open and read it.

Always include call-to-actions

A friendly CTA combined with a personalised message helps to encourage click-throughs and responses.

Don’t spam

If you start sending communications too regularly, your audience will become annoyed and disengage, deleting your emails without even giving them a chance.

Put yourself in your customers shoes

For example, don’t send a local attractions email to a traveller who you know is coming to town for business.

Continue to segment over time

As you collect more data on guests and performance, you can expand segmenting to include geographic locations, room types, purchasing behaviour, stay dates, and more to further personalise the emails you send to each guest.

Always remember your emails should offer your guests value at all times and be interesting and relevant to them personally – rather than only serving to win your hotel revenue.

Best email marketing software for hotels

Software can play a huge role in helping to automate, personalise, and simplify your hotel email marketing.

By harnessing the power of marketing automation software, you can analyse metrics such as your CTR and others in order to help fine-tune the timing of your email campaigns, as well as test subject lines and CTAs.

Email marketing tools will help you send a lot of emails at once, and segment your send lists to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Some of the most popular hotel email marketing providers currently include:

  • Duve
  • Fidelity PreStay
  • For-Sight Guest Engagement
  • Guest Connexxion
  • GuestPro
  • GuestTalk
  • HelloGeorge
  • HelloShift
  • Kai
  • LoungeUp
  • MyStay

You can also send automated guest emails through your hotel management software – such as your hotel booking engine.

Your booking engine will let you easily send confirmation emails, reminder emails, post-stay emails, and other custom emails to help you enhance guest experience and own your relationship with the guests who book with you directly.

To take full advantage of hotel automation and booking engine software consider adopting a hotel commerce platform such as SiteMinder, which allows you to control all aspects of your property from one simple interface.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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