Increasing competition in today’s online business climate has necessitated more diversified marketing and distribution strategies for hotel operators, including email marketing. Last week I discussed some key strategies for creating effective email campaigns to promote your hotel and increase revenues.
This week’s part 2, I’ll be going over ways to harness the power of technology including marketing automation and social media integration to further increase the effectiveness of your email marketing strategies.
1. Harness the power of marketing automation
Marketing automation platforms automate the lead-to-sale process. For hotel operators, this means 1:1 communication with potential hotel guests to educate, engage and book. When integrated with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system sales and marketing are on the same page. By allowing you to build out your campaigns, EDMs, and landing pages all in one place with relevant and personalised content across a variety of online channels – marketing automation software provides the missing link in your email marketing strategy.
Some of the key benefits of using a marketing automation platform include:
- The ability to create and experiment with different emails and landing pages to improve CTAs and lead generation.
- The ability to nurture your leads (guests) by running automated lead-nurturing campaigns with multi-touch communications to enhance conversion opportunities.
- A lead scoring model that will allow you to match your hotel’s offerings to the unique criteria of your guests and prospects – which in turn will give you greater insights into your guests’ behaviour to create more targeted communications and promotions.
- Detailed reports showing the performance of emails, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) broken down by campaign.
Your marketing automation platform’s tracking and reporting metrics are an invaluable resource to help you fine tune the performance of your email and nurture campaigns, increase conversion rates and bookings, as well as improve your overall business processes.
2. Integrate email with social media
Instead of eclipsing email, social media can help extend the reach and effectiveness of your email campaigns. Some ideas for integrating email with your social media channels include:
- Creating triggers through social media platforms to enhance and align lead generation and the nurturing process.
- Adding social sharing buttons to all of your emails to increase sharing online. Your marketing automation tool can provide metrics on who’s sharing your emails, and how sharing affects your opens, clicks, and conversions.
- Building a Facebook newsletter opt-in form on your hotel’s Facebook page to get customers to sign up.
3. Personalise and localise your emails
If a traveller lives in London, and regularly travels to China on business, don’t try to sell him a hotel room in Paris. Instead, use previous booking data to understand your customers’ needs, and match your email offerings to meet them. Using the built-in personalisation features of your preferred marketing automation tool, you can create marketing emails with content specifically matched to the unique interests of each guest.
To more effectively reach foreign travellers, send emails in their native language and have a translator proof your messages to ensure you are using the correct salutations, intonation and grammar.
4. Create targeted promotional offers
Travellers are interested in what is relevant to them. Are you located in the middle of a hip and trendy city such as Manhattan? If so, your marketing options are endless: send out offers to target tourists interested in the arts and theatre, fashion, shopping and spa services – they will appreciate the personalisation.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to lure former guests to come back, make sure you have a look at your records. Those who have previously eaten at your restaurant may be interested in your new seasonal menu or gastronomic events. Has a guest used the services of your hotel spa or pool? Send them a discount voucher for a facial or a massage. Your property management system (PMS) and marketing automation software can help you segment and target guests by providing data on their previous behaviours.
5. Communicate regularly and efficiently
To create a good impression, send marketing emails at regular intervals and use a consistent layout, colour scheme, and branding – and by offering clear benefits for readers, you’ll make your emails a regular, welcome inbox feature. With nearly 50% of all emails being opened on smart phones, be sure your emails are responsive and optimised for such devices. Again, your marketing automation software will help make sending regular, optimised emails a straightforward process.
Email marketing should be an important part of your hotel’s overall, and ongoing, marketing strategy. Even better, by making use of the power of automation, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ behaviours and create powerful and targeted messages to guests at every stage of the buying cycle.