Category Archives: Hospitality

When marketing for the hospitality sector, choose email

When marketing for the hospitality sector, choose email

Hotels and businesses in the hospitality sector often have fewer marketing resources and personnel than those in other industries. This means that the marketing efforts that firms in this field put forth need to be highly effective and well-targeted, as limited budgets mean a reduced number of channels for exposure.

Hoteliers for whom the main decision point is whether to market via email or another platform shouldn't put away their email contact lists just yet, as direct promotional messages remain highly relevant to the sector and can generate considerable return on investment.

The email vs. social media debate
Given that social media marketing is virtually free, it's easy to see why hotels with small marketing budgets might opt to devote their efforts to sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social networking platforms, however, still aren't offering the results that email is. According to a recent report by Web hosting provider Host Papa, email is still the preferred online marketing channel for 75 percent of adult consumers. Furthermore, the time users spend engaging with promotional messages is growing. In 2007, consumers spent 17 percent of their email time looking at commercial messages, while that figure stood at 30 percent in 2011.

Perhaps most noteworthy is that email marketing yielded a 4000 percent overall return on investment across all industries in 2012, according to Host Papa. 

Meanwhile, just 61 percent of Web users login to social media sites, but 94 percent check email, the report showed. Email is more popular on mobile, too: 55 percent of smartphone and tablet users read emails on their devices, while only 36 percent access social media.

Strategizing for hospitality
In a recent post for Hotel News Resource, marketing strategist Madigan Pratt insisted that while social media can't simply be ignored, email marketing remains essential for the hospitality sector. Rather than choose one or the other, marketers in the field should know the strengths of each channel so that they can reap their full benefits.

"Email can be a powerful tool for driving revenue, but only when database marketing best practices are applied. Consequently when developing next year's marketing plans a good place to start is by auditing your email program to see if you are maximizing its impact on your bottom line," wrote Pratt.

Businesses can optimize email by obtaining rich data about their contacts and creating segmented email marketing lists to offer promotions tailored to recipients' interests. A contact who travels internationally on a regular basis can receive promotions on hotel rooms overseas, for instance.

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Even hotels depend on email marketing to fill rooms.

Business emails help hotels reach new guests

The hospitality industry is particularly dependent on the fluctuations of the economy, as tighter pocketbooks can restrict individuals' spending on treats such as trips or nice dinners. While the global marketplace is experiencing noted growth, hotels and restaurants are still relying on timed-tested marketing strategies such business emails to offer new and existing customers deals and information.

Email marketing messages are here to stay     
Targeted email lists have proven to be viable methods for acquiring new customers, as well as turning them into repeat visitors. EyeforTravel's recent report, "Social Media and Mobile in Travel Distribution 2013," found that email is not only still an effective channel for reaching travelers, but is actually growing in popularity.

However, this growth hasn't been spurred solely by a belief in the efficacy of the medium - rather​, the growth in mobile device use for every task from shopping to opening and responding to emails is boosting open and click rates, the research asserts. In fact, it revealed that 38 percent of emails are accessed via mobile devices, while 33 percent are opened using a desktop computer.

"Unless you are booking.com or Expedia … email consistently remains the best way to drive traffic to your site," Tom Valentine, managing director of flash sales site Secret Escapes, told Hospitality Net. "We are very excited by the notifications you can get for mobile apps and the majority of emails are opened on mobile."

Transforming an email list into a targeted system      
Once an initial communication has been sent out to an email distribution list and recipients have signed up to get future messages, hotels and others in the hospitality sector can start tracking their clicks to create even more tailored advertisements and offers, Hospitality Net wrote.

For example, Valentine explained to the source that when Secret Escapes notices a customer is largely looking at weekend travel, it will send emails advertising nearby getaways that are both interesting to the consumer as well as consistent with the company's overall business goals, the news source reported. And as recipients interact more with marketing emails, the easier this will become for firms.

To get to this point, though, marketers need to send an initial email that hooks first-time recipients, rather than annoying them. One strategy some companies employ is delivering a first communication asking individuals to sign up to continue getting special offers, discounts and information.