Once you have worked hard to prise your guest away from the OTA and they have had a wonderful stay at your hotel, you will want to find ways of encouraging them to come back and stay again sometime in the near future. Encouraging guests who have already had a wonderful experience at your hotel to return, can be much easier than guests who have no knowledge of you. This is why your email list is extremely powerful.
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In this phase of the Direct Booking Strategy we will look at:
- Different content ideas to include in a content strategy for your email marketing campaigns over a 12 month period
- How to plan, launch and optimise your email marketing campaigns
12 Content ideas to include in your email marketing to previous guests
Here are 12 content ideas for an email marketing calendar that hotels can use to stay in touch with previous guests and encourage them to book a return stay:
Welcome Back Message:
Send a welcome back message to guests who have recently stayed at your hotel, thanking them for their visit and offering them a special incentive to book their next stay.
Share details about upcoming events in your hotel or the local area, such as festivals, concerts, or sporting events. Highlight how your hotel is well-positioned to offer an unforgettable experience during these events.
Send promotions for special offers or packages that are tied to the current season. Examples may include summer activities, holiday deals, or off-season discounts.
Highlight popular tourist attractions in the local area, such as museums, shopping centres, or theme parks. This will not only be helpful to guests planning their stay, but it will also make them more likely to book with you.
Restaurant and Dining Options:
Share your hotel’s dining options, including menus, hours, and special offers. Highlight the signature dishes, and let guests know about upcoming special events such as wine tastings or chef’s dinners.
Wellness and Spa Treatments:
Share information on the hotel’s wellness and spa services, including details about treatment options, prices, and packages. Include guest reviews and photos to make the content more engaging.
Promote your loyalty program, encouraging guests to join and outlining the benefits of membership. Remind them of the exclusive offers and rewards they will receive when they book directly with the hotel.
Testimonials and Reviews:
Share positive reviews and testimonials from previous guests, emphasising the unique features and amenities of your hotel. Social proof is a powerful motivator for future bookings.
Share how your hotel celebrates various holidays, such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Highlight what makes your celebrations special and unique, such as decorations, menus, or live entertainment.
Introduce key members of the hotel staff, such as the concierge or the head chef. Share their background, experience, and interests, and encourage guests to connect with them during their stay.
Use data from previous stays to offer personalised recommendations based on guests’ interests and past activities. For example, you might suggest nearby attractions, restaurants, or activities that they might enjoy.
Celebrate the anniversary of guests’ last stay with a special offer. This can include exclusive discounts or bonuses, such as a complimentary room upgrade or late checkout.
In conclusion, an email marketing calendar is an excellent way for hotels to stay in touch with previous guests and encourage return bookings. By offering personalised recommendations, sharing information about local attractions and events, and highlighting the unique features and amenities of your hotel, you can create content that is both engaging and useful to guests. The key is to create a diverse and balanced content calendar that appeals to a broad range of interests and motivations for travel.
How to Plan, Launch & Optimise your email marketing to your previous guest to boost return bookings
Email marketing can be a powerful tool for hotels to encourage previous guests to book a return stay. Here’s an outline for an annual email marketing campaign strategy for a hotel to target previous guests:
Plan the Campaign
Before launching an email campaign, it’s essential to plan. Start by defining the goals of the campaign and what you hope to achieve with it. For example, the goal might be to increase the number of return bookings or to promote a new feature or service of the hotel. Decide on the frequency of emails, the type of content to include, and the target audience.
Collect and Segment Guest Data
Segmenting your email list allows for more targeted and effective marketing. Organise previous guests by interests, behaviours, and demographics. This allows you to create more personalised content and improve the chances of conversion.
Create a Schedule
It’s important to establish a schedule that outlines when emails will be sent, what content will be included, and who will receive them. Ideally, the emails should be spaced out to avoid overwhelming the guest’s inbox. For example, send an initial email after the guest’s stay, followed by quarterly promotions and a final reminder before their stay anniversary.
Email campaigns should include relevant content that resonates with guests. Use the data you’ve collected to create targeted messages that appeal to the guest’s interests, needs, and preferences. Content can range from promoting events in the area, highlighting a new menu, or sharing positive guest reviews.
Calls to Action
The email campaign should include calls to action (CTAs) that encourage guests to book their next stay. CTAs could include a discount code or a limited-time offer that prompts guests to take advantage of the deal. Make sure to track the CTAs’ success rate, which will help you to understand what messaging works best.
Test and Optimise
It’s essential to test and optimise your email marketing campaigns continually. Testing different subject lines, sending times, and content will help you to identify what works best. Regular optimization will help you to improve the chances of success, increasing your campaign’s overall conversion rate.
Monitor and Measure Success
Monitor and measure the success of the email campaign by tracking metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated. These metrics can provide insights on what works best and guide future email marketing strategies.
In conclusion, email marketing is a powerful tool for encouraging previous guests to book a return stay. A well-planned, personalised, and targeted email campaign that provides relevant content, clear CTAs, and consistent optimization will help you to create a successful marketing strategy that encourages repeat business.
In the first section of this ebook, we focused on creating a compelling Direct Booking offer and optimising your website to increase the conversion rate with the existing traffic from the OTA websites, as well as the organic traffic generated by increasing your reach through your local experience network.
Now you are ready to turn your traffic up to 11 with digital ads. This section will focus on how you can create effective digital ad campaigns to help generate more direct bookings and return bookings.