Email is one of the most lucrative ways to communicate with your guests. As a hotelier, you know the importance of building relationships with your clientele. Your business pretty much depends on how much a guest likes you and your property. There are many ways you can build relationships with your guests before and after their visit, and emails are a great way to do that.
Sure discounts and promotional rates deserve a place in your email campaigns, but you should also include other content to provide value.
We came up with seven types of emails you can send your guests to build solid relationships.
1. Pre-arrival package
You can provide value to your guests before they even arrive with a pre-arrival package. If you already send a confirmation email, include helpful recommendations for their stay. More likely than not, you know why your guest is coming to your property whether it be a family vacation or a business traveler. Send information relevant to the specific guest. And if you don’t know why a particular guest is staying at your property — ASK!
For family vacationers you can include a list of family-friendly restaurants, appropriate activities, relevant discounts, in hotel entertainment ideas, etc.
For business travelers, include a list of places they may need while in town such as business supply stores, hours to your business center if you have one, nearby coffee places, appropriate client restaurants, etc.
Take the time to create several different types of pre-arrival packages and then recycle the content. Of course it is a good idea to personalize each email for a particular guest, but many of the recommendations will overlap so pool them together.
Other package ideas: adventure or excursion package, shopping package, leisure package, foodie package, etc etc.
2. The post-stay email
How often do you follow up with guests after their stay? After every guest departs, send them a follow-up email. This is a perfect opportunity to include an online survey about their stay. (Pro tip: we wrote a blog post on how to create the perfect post-stay survey, see it here)
You can also ask for your guests to share a story about their trip, whether it be about the hotel or another experience. Then, reuse these stories as we discuss below.
Thank your guest for staying with you and offer information about future events, specials, and other relevant information.
Adding post-stay communication will help build relationships and show that you care about your guests.
If the guest had any problems during their stay, this will provide a forum for them to discuss any issues.
3. Guest stories
After gathering stories from your post-stay emails, share them! Showcase your guests’ experiences and you will, in turn, sell your property.
While your property’s amenities are important, potential guests want to hear what it’s actually like to stay in your hotel and travel to your destination. No one knows what it’s like to stay at your property better than your past guests (and you of course). People joke that everyone is a blogger these days, and while that may be a dramatization, you can capitalize on your guests’ willingness to share their stories.
4. Seasonal events
Oftentimes, a guest’s experience in one season is completely different from another. Festivals, activities, and even restaurants vary by time of year, so send out emails to highlight your best seasonal recommendations. A guest who stays with you in the summer may not know that you have the world’s sickest skiing powder in the world during the winter!
Convince guests who stayed with you in a particular season to stay with you in another. For example, if a guest stayed with you in the summer, send them an email at the end of fall to showcase winter recommendations.
There are many creative ways you can reach out to past guests about seasonal events happening in and around your property. Or! Send guests recommendations for things they may have missed on their last visit.
5. Owner, manager or employee stories
You and your employees have a lot of valuable insider information to share with your guests before, during, and after their stay. If you are a property owner, share quick stories about how you began, anecdotes about your experiences, or some of your favorite moments.
Guests will love to hear about your unique journey as a hotelier as well as your employees’ experience at the hotel.
6. Promote blog content
We firmly believe that every property should invest in a proprietary blog and a content marketing strategy. Email is a perfect way to promote your blog content to extend its reach. Many of the ideas above, such as guest/owner stories or pre-stay packages, can be blog posts.
We suggest you integrate your email and content marketing strategies. That way, you extend the life of your blog content and you also share valuable content through another lucrative marketing channel.
Potential blog topics could include top to-do lists, restaurant reviews, fun facts about your property, little-known facts about your city, etc.
7. Gather interesting articles
While creating your own content is a great strategy, you can also provide value by gathering interesting articles about your destination and travel in general. Put together a newsletter that highlights all the happenings in your town or share lists that aggregate all the best places in town. Paper.li is an easy way to organize articles and videos shared via social media. That is just one example of how you can organize different information.
Thrillist is a great example of a site that compiles city-specific lists on drinks, restaurants, and top attractions. Lonely Planet, Expedia, as well as many more sources offer great content that can be shared with your email list. A great tool to find other great content is Buzzsumo, they are a platform that tells you the most popular content for any given subject.
There are many, many strategies you can use to enhance your email campaigns. The seven options above will help you build a stronger relationship with your guests by providing then with real value.
We encourage you to experiment with your emails and find out what returns the best results. Remember, sending promotional emails is totally fine. But, add interesting content to peak your guests interests and lead them to future bookings.
What type of emails does your property send that have shown success? Share with us below!