Email is a powerful tool for hotels and is one of the best ways to share news, special offers, and other information about the hotel and area to boost sales and build long-lasting relationships with their guests. However, the power of email can also be its downfall. As customers have their inboxes flooded with messages, offers, and advertisements, how do you ensure your emails stand out? The answer starts with segmenting.
What Is Segmenting?
Segmenting is a way to target your email campaigns. In the past, many hotels used a broad approach. Every customer would get the same generic email. While this approach certainly does have a broad reach, it is not necessarily effective at engagement. To get more out of each email, the hotel industry has started to shift to intent-based marketing.
In other words, hotel email marketing campaigns are customized to appeal to specific groups. Emails designed in this fashion will have higher conversion rates with hotel guests. Sort the pool of email addresses into groups to build this appeal. These groups will feature a unifying characteristic. Personalize the email content and subject line to appeal to the group.
This personalization means that you are segmenting your pool of potential customers. You already have a list of email addresses. Now, you just have to break down that mailing list by different criteria to create more refined marketing campaigns.
What Segmenting Is Effective?
The concept behind segmenting emails makes sense. You can improve your email open rate and your click-through rates. Therefore, your real issue is figuring out how to segment hotel mailing lists. Here are a few options to consider before you send emails.
1. Business or Leisure
People travel for all sorts of reasons, but there are two main categories of travel in general. Some people travel for personal reasons. Others are traveling for business. The preferences of these travelers will vary. Business travelers are probably not going to be very interested in tourist attractions or family amenities. On the other hand, leisure travelers are not likely to be as concerned with workout facilities or conference rooms. By targeting your emails to each type of traveler.
You can also segment your mailing lists by crucial demographics. Criteria like age and gender can inform a successful marketing campaign. You have to rely a little bit on generalizations, but the facts hold up. Young singles are going to have different needs than families. Families are going to be attracted to different perks than retirees. When you actively market to these segments, you are likely to see better email engagement. You have services and attractions to appeal to these demographics. By segmenting, you can make sure that you feature the right things to encourage clicks.
3. Room Preference
When someone stays at your hotel, you have information at your fingertips. Data collection is imperative in the hospitality industry, and even basic metrics can help you segment effectively. Just consider room preference. When you segment by the size and style of rooms previously booked, you can create targeted marketing. For travelers booking small spaces, you can promote economic deals and streamlined perks. However, you can play up other luxury amenities and posh discounts for guests who booked luxury suites. Be sure to include photos of rooms to promote upcoming stays, and these photos should feature rooms that appeal to each segment.
4. Seasonal Travelers
Another easy metric to leverage is timing. If you look at a guest's history in your hotel, you should be able to see when they visited. From this information, you can figure out a few details regarding their travel patterns. Are they spring break travelers? Do they seem to be going on big summer trips? Could they be snagging off-season spots? You can segment your list to advertise deals and promotions based on the timing of their previous stay. Therefore, if they are thinking about traveling again at that time, your hotel will be at the top of their list. Always be sure to play up special seasonal deals to get the attention of each segment.
5. Customer Feedback
When you start to segment, remember you can actively seek new data points. You should already be asking your customers to provide feedback about their stay. If customers have filled out feedback forms, then be sure to use that data for segmentation purposes. For example, if the guest ranked your facilities highly, then be sure to send out emails that promote new improvements or enhancements. If the guest enjoyed the continental breakfast, then provide segmented emails about the latest menu additions. This feedback is a goldmine for your marketing needs.
6. Loyalty Emails
Email lists are always about building loyalty with customers. However, as you start to develop relationships with certain guests, you need to start segmenting for them accordingly. In other words, one segment should be targeted at valuable returning customers. Use this segment to build a loyalty program. Offer special perks just to returning guests. Promote this loyalty program on social media and through your hotel's other marketing materials. Then, be sure to stay in steady contact with these loyal customers. They are already inclined to revisit your hotel. It is up to you to help them remember.
7. Local or International
You should also look carefully at where your guests are coming from when they book a room. The needs of local travelers are different from the needs of international travelers. Segment your lists accordingly. You will need to play up distinct features for each group. Local travelers may be interested in local attractions or events. However, international travelers are more likely to be planning more extended, more expansive trips. Therefore, they may be interested in a comprehensive hotel experience to support their travels.
If you are thinking about segmenting hotel mailing lists, then look at your history of guest engagement. Some hotel guests check-in and check out, and they are not interested in more. However, if guests fill out response forms or leave reviews, they are interested in more engagement. Moreover, look at your previous email metrics. If guests are responding to your emails, then you know you have an interested customer. Segment out customers with more engagement levels.
9. Price Point
Another tip for how to segment hotel mailing lists is the price point. You know how much your guests have spent at your hotel. This data includes the size of the room and the length of their stay. You can also look at additional investments. Did they order room service? Did they upgrade with any other perks? It is not that you should only go after your highest-paying customers. It is just a matter of fine-tuning your marketing lists. For travelers who spend less, you can send out emails that talk about discounts and deals. Offer your big spenders the luxuries.
10. Timing, Timing, Timing
Finally, use your segmentation to time your emails. First, provide a confirmation email. Then, close to their check-in date, make sure that pre-arrival emails streamline the process. After guests have checked out, send a follow-up, inviting guests to leave a review. You can also include a subscription form to allow them to sign up for more promotions. This flow guides your guests through the process, and the call to action makes additional, ongoing segmentation easy.
Get More Out of Your Email Marketing
Email is already an essential part of your marketing. If you want to get more out of your email lists, try segmentation. To learn more about marketing websites and creative ways to boost direct bookings, schedule a 15-minute discovery call with one of our business growth experts today.