We recently hosted a workshop about collecting your guest’s emails and why this is so important to the hospitality industry.
There are many forms of marketing, the most effective one, however, is email.
Many hospitality businesses collect and store their guest’s information but do nothing with it. Worryingly, a large number don’t collect anything at all!
Boostly’s recent workshop on this topic was a great success. I went through the simple steps necessary to start collecting the right information and how to use it to help boost direct bookings. If you didn’t attend the event and want to use email marketing to boost your bookings, read on!
Guest registration form
Do you give your guests a registration form when they check in? Do you ask for their email address?
A good registration form makes all the difference in the long run. If you don’t currently have one and need some help, ask me for a templated guest registration form. My email is email@example.com.
What information to collect
Collect your guest’s name, address, postcode, phone number (ideally their mobile), and email address. Also, ask them how they heard about you. With these 6 pieces of data, you’re on your way to improving your marketing for years to come!
What to do with the information
The possibilities are myriad. I’m going to cover the most important in this post, but get creative! Information is very powerful and you’re going to have a lot of it.
Sort your forms by postcode
When you organize your guests’ addresses, ensure that you can sort them by S for Sheffield, L for Liverpool, WF for Wakefield, and so on. This is the easiest way to tell where your guests are coming from; if out of 100 people you had 70 from Wakefield, 10 from Sheffield and 5 from Liverpool, obviously the majority are from Wakefield. Now use that information for both your offline and online marketing.
Seeing that we have worked out that the majority of our guests are from the Wakefield area, we can now approach the local newspaper to place an advert promoting your property or a special offer. You might also consider asking if you could place a voucher somewhere in the paper.
‘Facebook ads’ is a fantastic tool. With it, you can specifically target an audience. For example, we could create an advert designed to show for people aged between the ages of 20 and 60 in the Wakefield area. If you wanted to go a bit more advanced, you could experiment by choosing different interests that Facebook has already associated with them. For example, you could try to appeal to people who like staycations, or who like your hometown or a restaurant in your local area.
When you do this, your advert will be placed directly in the eye line right where your audience’s attention is. Better yet, Facebook will also show them if any of their friends like your place too. When Facebook says, “Your friends like this page”, it’s actually saying, “your friends like this page, why don’t you?” Your potential customers may not have thought about taking a holiday recently, but because of your marketing, you will be in their thoughts the next time they do.
Mobile phone number
Send them a text. It should be short and friendly. For example, “It was great to meet you! If you’d like to stay with us again, please contact us directly. We’ll give you a better rate than you can get online”.
Finally, but most importantly, the emails
Because your guest knows you, the chance of them opening your email is 70% or higher. Want to find out more? Read on.
What to do with an email address?
You can reach 500 to 1000 guests at the touch of a button using MailChimp, the most user-friendly and effective email software out there. Here’s how you do it.
- Create a list called “Hotel Guests”.
- Import your guest information by exporting your registration data to a CSV file and then importing it to Mailchimp. (For help, read this).
- Create a campaign called “Guests who have stayed with me”.
- Choose a template. Mailchimp has hundreds to choose from.
- Write a title. This is important, it’s what makes someone decide to open that email. MailChimp provides tips on how to create a fantastic title. Click here
- Write your email. Do you want to get more TripAdvisor reviews? Do you want to send a special offer? Whatever you decide, pick one thing to push and stick with it; keep the email short and sweet.
Did you know?
MailChimp can schedule a campaign to go out at a time that increases its chances of being opened. Read Nathan Ellering’s blog about the best times to send an email.
What to do next?
Don’t just send one email. Keep at it. Schedule in your diary to send a monthly email, or bank newsletters a few weeks or months into the future.
This is the clever bit!
An advanced MailChimp feature is that you can send emails based on recipients’ past engagement. That means that if you only want to send to people who are opening your emails, you can! Let’s say I sent an email to 100 people. Three people opened it and clicked to book a room. I can track to see if they went through with the booking via my booking manager. If I can’t see their booking, I can send them a quick personal email: “Just to let you know, we have a special rate for the room if you book with us directly.”
This is the difference between getting a booking and not, and that’s why email marketing is the most important marketing tool you will use.
Now it’s your turn!
Let’s test this method. Take a sample of 100 guest emails. Send them an email, following my tips from above. Then, give it a week and let me know how you got on!
Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.