With new online platforms popping up all the time, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new marketing and communications opportunities. While it’s important to keep up with current trends like Instagram and Twitter, don’t forget to give a little TLC to a tried and true strategy in your communication toolbox: email.
You’ve probably been using email to interact with your customers for many years, but while the medium has stayed the same, the expectation of how it can and should be used has evolved. Today’s consumers are used to constant connection. They are open to (and expect) email attention from their favorite businesses as long as they are personalized and specific to their needs (we are long past the time of a simple confirmation email!). This is great news because a well-curated collection of automated emails can improve guest relationships, upsell products and services, and generate sales (email conversion is still three times that of social media).
Make the most of this affordable communication tool by setting up a schedule of pre-stay, on-site and post-stay automated emails.
The emails you send before the guest arrives are critical. They offer a taste of your property’s culture, are an opportunity to upsell and are the first step in inspiring guest loyalty. Consider including the following emails in your pre-arrival email strategy.
At time of booking
- Confirmation – The confirmation email assures the customer that their booking has gone through correctly. Be sure to include a heartfelt thank you message for booking with your property, a summary of the booking details, and an invitation to contact your property should they have any questions or requests.
Three weeks before stay
- Experience Planning – Send a pre-arrival email that helps your guest plan their stay. This email can include schedules for any on-site activities, options to upgrade or add packages to their booking, information about local events and an opportunity to make any special requests.
One week before stay
- Travel Information – Closer to the date of arrival, send an email with helpful travel information. Include things like directions to get to your property and the weather forecast for their stay.
People have come to rely more and more on their mobile devices. As a result, on-site communication with guests is no longer strictly in-person (with the front-desk staff and concierge). Make sure to adapt to this new climate by creating a collection of personalized emails for guests while they are at your property.
- Welcome – It’s important to welcome guests to your property once they arrive (especially if you offer mobile check-in). Use this opportunity to provide them with relevant information such as WiFi passwords, facility hours, and a means to contact staff if they have any questions or problems.
- Special offers – Inform guests about specials for on-site services and amenities. This is an opportunity to upsell that you really shouldn’t miss out on.
- Reminders – If a guest has signed up for any activities, or your property is hosting an event, be sure to send a reminder, so they don’t miss out.
- Social Media Invitations – It’s important to engage with your customers over social media (especially Millennials!). Invite guests to share their experiences at your property (and then make sure to comment, like, or share to show you care).
The relationship you have with your guests shouldn’t end at checkout. By following up, and sending out personalized emails throughout the year, you can nurture customer loyalty and hopefully score a returning guest.
- Thank you – Let your guests know how much you appreciate their patronage by thanking them upon checkout. This is also an excellent opportunity to invite them to join any loyalty programs you offer.
Three days after stay
- Satisfaction survey – Make your customers feel heard (and get helpful feedback) by inviting them to participate in a satisfaction survey about their stay at your property.
Throughout the year
- Birthday wishes – An easy way to show guests you care is to send them a short email wishing them a happy birthday.
- Insider Info – Keep your customers up-to-date by letting them know about any upcoming special events or offers at your property.
Email remains an exceedingly useful (not to mention affordable!) communication and marketing tool for the hospitality industry. Make sure you are using it to your full advantage by creating a schedule of automated emails for the entire guest life cycle.