Technological improvements provide hoteliers with a great deal of opportunities and tools to streamline their sales processes and simultaneously enhance guest experience.
One such powerful tool is email automation.
Automated email campaigns are, in a way a triple threat.
Not only are they efficient and cost-effective, but also enable you to personalize your messaging and tailor it to each specific guest.
In this article, we delve deeper into different types of automated email campaigns, explore why they are so effective in the first place, discuss the dos and don’ts, and even provide some specific examples you can replicate for your own campaigns.
Let’s get into it.
Room Upgrade Email
When you have available rooms to spare, consider surprising your guests once in a while and offering them personalized room upgrades through email.
Such gestures not only make the entire experience that much more special for them, but they also benefit you by boosting your reputation, fostering guest relationships, and potentially increasing your hotel’s occupancy.
After all, in the hospitality industry, the power of a happy guest should never be underestimated.
For starters, investing in guest satisfaction through actions like room upgrades cultivates loyalty and increases re-bookings.
If a traveler remembers your hotel as that place that offered them a room upgrade, ideally suited to their preferences and needs, they are more likely to return in the future.
Given that three out of four travelers prioritize online reviews when selecting accommodations, testimonials from other happy customers can significantly impact your business and draw in more visitors.
The logic behind this is pretty simple: travelers are more likely to trust establishments that have already proven themselves as reliable.
So, if this sounds like a good strategy for you, consider using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to gather information from past guests' stays or details provided on their booking forms, such as the purpose of their visit, in order to personalize room upgrades.
Is the person traveling for business?
Extend to them an upgrade to your serene "Remote Work Room," outfitted with amenities tailored for remote work requirements, such as a spacious desk and high-speed Wi-Fi.
Below, you can see an example of such an email.
In any case, a complimentary room upgrade strategy can serve as a simple, yet effective way to offer an unforgettable experience to your guests.
Getting an email offering such a thoughtful surprise will surely make your customers excited and leave them eager to book with you over and over again.
Pre-arrival emails are a great way to get the guests excited about their stay at your hotel.
They offer the perfect opportunity to:
- Remind guests of their upcoming journey
- Educate them on local attractions and activities
- Offer any other information that could make their stay more pleasant and memorable
Injecting phrases such as “We can’t wait to have you here” or "We're counting down the days until you visit us!" are a must here.
They add a bit of that personal touch and help foster anticipation.
Pre-arrival emails also present the chance to upsell your services and boost revenue.
During this phase, travelers are still planning their journey and are often more receptive to suggestions, making it an ideal moment to introduce them to your amenities and perhaps offer discounts on pre-booked services.
This could look something like this:
To make the most out of these emails, use your Property Management System (PMS) to create targeted offers.
Such software often provides email templates made specifically for this purpose and can automatically pull guest names and preferences from the system, tailoring special offers unique to each guest.
For Hotel Van der Valk Leusden in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, personalized upselling emails worked like a charm.
According to Nienke Rusticus, front office manager at the property, they enabled them to provide their guests with unique experiences and, in turn, significantly boosted their profits:
“Using digital upselling has allowed us to give our guests more freedom to design their stay. They take full advantage of that and often treat themselves to one or even several of our offers. We benefit from this in a few ways: our guests are delighted with their stay, they leave great online reviews, and we generate incremental revenue.”
Talk about a win-win situation.
All in all, pre-arrival emails’ role is two-fold.
They not only set the tone for guests' upcoming stay and provide them with valuable information but also enable you to offer additional services and increase income.
Abandoned Booking Email
Believe it or not, abandoned booking emails can be quite effective in recovering customers who seemingly gave up on their room reservation, thus preventing missed sales opportunities and maximizing your property’s occupancy.
But, you need to do them right.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is to never rely on a single email, but to implement multiple automated reminders to maximize the likelihood of re-engagement.
In fact, according to data from SaleCycle, sending a few abandoned cart emails is 25-30% more efficient than sending just one.
The simple fact is that people sometimes get busy, distracted, or forgetful, and multiple messages serve as gentle reminders, nudging them back to their reservation.
Another strategy worth considering is sweetening the deal and offering discounts as an incentive to complete the booking.
Accommodation price significantly influences travelers' decisions, so a well-timed discount could influence their choice in your favor.
However, if this is a route you decide to pursue, make sure to instill a sense of urgency to prompt action.
This can be achieved by imposing a narrow time frame for the offer or emphasizing limited room availability, like in the example below.
At the end of the day, booking abandonment doesn’t always signify travelers’ final decision. They may still be open to returning.
So seize this opportunity by crafting compelling emails that can sway the outcome in your favor.
The relationship between a guest and a hotel doesn’t end at the conclusion of their stay.
That’s why appreciation emails should be an integral part of any hotel’s automated email strategy, serving as a great way to express gratitude for the guest’s patronage and to nurture loyalty, thereby increasing the likelihood of rebookings.
Did you know that, according to findings from Hubspot, thank-you emails can actually be more efficient than regular marketing emails?
As it turns out, they generate much more engagement compared to other generic marketing emails, with double the open and click-through rates.
In other words, these emails are not just a formality, but an effective way to ensure you stay on top of your visitors' minds, even after they leave your property.
They should, therefore, be treated as such, too.
Personalized and a genuine, warm tone, incorporating details like the guest’s name or an aspect of their stay, are a must.
To amplify the impact of appreciation emails even further, consider offering a discount for the guest’s next visit.
Remember, they selected your property from among numerous others, so a small token of gratitude can truly go a long way and demonstrate how much you value and care for your guests.
The bottom line is this: when it comes to automated email campaigns, appreciation emails shouldn’t be overlooked.
They can do wonders for your reputation, guest satisfaction, and loyalty, as well as your overall occupancy rates.
Special Occasion Email
Using email to acknowledge and celebrate your guests' birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant events can showcase your commitment to providing an unparalleled customer experience.
Generally speaking, one of the biggest strengths of automated email campaigns is their ability to provide personalized messages and offers to each individual, and special occasion emails are the prime example of that.
Nothing screams personal like recognizing your guests’ important milestones.
However, the benefits of these emails extend beyond guest satisfaction.
Research indicates that such customized sales efforts also significantly contribute to repeat business.
As it turns out, companies investing in personalized sales consistently experience increased customer retention and spending.
Who knew that a simple birthday wish could be such a game-changer?
A short yet heartfelt message should be more than enough to surprise the recipient and make them feel appreciated.
Still, you can also take it a step further by providing a discount for the next booking or offering free amenities like a birthday cake, bottle of champagne, or a massage for those celebrating a special occasion at your property.
Whatever the gesture, the email will undoubtedly brighten the recipient’s day and show that you put your guests above anything else.
Overall, special occasion emails aren't just about saying "Happy Birthday"—they're about showing that you're here to celebrate life's moments, big and small, right alongside your guests.
It's the little touches like these that set your hotel apart from the competition and keep guests coming back for more.
Promo Offer Email
A promo offer email is used to inform your customers about any special offers, discounts, or promotions you may currently have, making it an excellent tool for boosting sales and revenue.
The key consideration with such emails is to instill a sense of urgency, says Thom de Graaf, an online marketing specialist and brand marketer at Orange Studio.
In this case, promoting winter offers as early as summer just won’t do.
Instead, you should aim to ignite a spark of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to maximize the impact of your promotional emails.
The idea behind FOMO marketing is to capitalize on the fear that if someone doesn't act quickly, they will miss out on a great deal or opportunity.
So, to trigger a bit of FOMO, incorporate phrasing that conveys the offer's limited availability; such as:
- "Don't miss out on our exclusive weekend getaway deal! Limited availability, book now!"
- "Last chance to lock in your summer escape at unbeatable rates!"
- "Act fast and secure your spot for our New Year's Eve celebration package!"
- "Limited rooms left! Grab our special offer before it's gone!"
- "Hurry! Early bird discount for spring break ends soon!"
The purpose of these phrases is to emphasize your product’s exclusivity and scarcity, incentivizing your guests to jump on the bandwagon, feeling like they secured their spot among the lucky few who snagged the deal of a lifetime.
Moreover, you can utilize social proof FOMO phrases, highlighting the popularity of your property and suggesting that others are already reaping the benefits of reserving a room at your hotel:
- "Over X guests have already taken advantage of our exclusive discount—don't let it slip away!"
- "Join the hundreds who've saved big with our limited-time promotion!"
- "Act now to join the growing number of guests enjoying our special offer—it won't last long!"
- "Join the satisfied customers who've snagged our special deal—book now and save!"
This not only validates the quality of your service but also cultivates a desire to participate.
Below, you can see FOMO in action.
Of course, there's a fine line between being persuasive and being pesky.
It's crucial not to overdo this type of messaging and bombard recipients with overly frequent or "salesy" emails.
Otherwise, they just might end up frustrating potential guests and land in the dreaded spam folder.
Still, the universal truth is this: everyone loves a good bargain.
Therefore, with the right email strategy, you'll not only capture attention but can also drive those sales through the roof.
Special Events Email
Special event emails serve as a great tool for promoting events at your hotel while also offering enticing package deals that extend beyond simple room reservations.
Through these emails, you not only optimize your occupancy and revenue but also set yourself apart from competitors by providing captivating experiences that can even attract new clientele.
For instance, a wine-tasting event package comprising a ticket to the event, a guided tour of your hotel’s wine cellar, and a complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival, would surely draw wine enthusiasts' attention.
Don’t worry if your property doesn’t have any extravagant amenities like a wine cellar, though.
Compelling offers can be crafted around local attractions or natural wonders.
Take, for example, Japanese hotels capitalizing on the cherry blossom season, offering packages featuring flower-viewing parties, accommodations in sakura-themed rooms, as well as menus and beverages inspired by the famous cherry blossom, and more.
You too can take advantage of natural phenomena in your vicinity to organize special events and promote unique packages.
Regardless of the occasion, though, make sure to use great visuals in your emails to captivate the audience.
Surveys show that high-quality images significantly influence travelers' booking decisions, so refrain from employing blurry, distorted, or grainy photographs.
Instead, opt for images that showcase your hotel in the best light possible.
All in all, special event emails provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that your property isn’t just a place to sleep over, but can also be the focal point for social gatherings and memorable experiences.
All these examples only go to show just how powerful of a sales tool automated email campaigns can be.
If done properly, they can help you increase customer satisfaction, build loyalty, provide unique experiences, and, ultimately, increase room sales.
You too can unlock these benefits. All you need is a bit of creativity, a set of high-quality images, and proper phrasing to make your emails more enticing.
And if anything else fails, a good discount here and there often works wonders.