One of great benefits of being an independent hotelier is the flexibility to tinker and test ways to market and promote your property. Local market advertising and strategic partnerships are some of the tried and true methods of marketing to consumers, but email still reigns as one of the most efficient and effective tactics. With dozens of companies providing easy-to-use software, hotel operators are able to manage and measure the success of their email campaigns, and most importantly, remain connected with past and potential guests.
One of the great features of innRoad’s web-based hotel property management system (PMS) is the ability to “slice and dice” historical guest data and export campaign-specific email lists for deploying targeted email marketing campaigns. Using a bit of creativity, operators can create campaigns that are designed to generate increased exposure and, of course, capture direct bookings. To help maximize independent hotel email marketing campaigns, here are a few tips:
Convert OTA reservations into future direct bookings
It’s well known that hoteliers have love/hate relationships with online travel agents (OTAs). Operators love attracting new guests, but hate paying out the required commissions. To maximize the value of reservations funneled in through OTAs, hoteliers can create email campaigns that encourage guests to book directly, via their website or mobile booking engine, on their next visit.
For example, by including a message such as, “Thanks for booking your last stay with us through our partner (insert name of OTA). We’d love to see you again soon. When you’re ready to book, simply click here to find our best available rates.,” operators are able to leverage the guest relationship that began via the OTA and hopefully capture their next booking directly through their website.
Reconnect with past guests
Past guests are incredibly important to independent hotel operators. Whether they stayed months or years ago, they’re already familiar with the hotel, likely had a great experience and are hopefully ready for a return visit. Sending them a “Haven’t seen you in a while!” message with an incentive might be the key to getting them back on-property. By updating them on what’s new at the hotel, such as a recent renovation or new amenities, and offering an enticing incentive, like 15% off their next 2-day stay, operators can give past guests a reason to book their return visit soon.
Reward loyal guests
Similar to how restaurants occasionally offer free meals to their regulars as a “thank you” for their patronage, hotels can reward their most loyal guests. Just like a loyalty program, hotels can track the visits of their most frequent guests and after reaching a determined number of nights, email them a reward, such as a discount on their next booking, a room upgrade or a free night at the hotel. Letting loyal guests know they are appreciated by rewarding them with a gift is a great way to ensure they remain customers over the long-term.
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