Everyone knows: communications is key.
It’s vital for your business that you’re messaging throughout all of the stages of the traveler lifecycle: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing. Each stage is unique and possesses its own benefits and hurdles along the way. But one thing is certain, there are plenty of opportunities for marketing your business and email is the perfect place to start.
Email has become second nature for people as a direct line of contact. It’s no longer optional. It’s expected. And there are plenty of reasons why you should get on board: it’s incredibly affordable, it is easy to set up and send out, and best of all, it has a great return on investment. There are a few rules and best practices to follow. You’re going to want to ensure you’re following all the rules for CAN-SPAM for any marketing-related emails. You can read the full details on the FTC website, but here’s a quick summary of it:
- Be clear and forthcoming with the information you’re providing and what it entails. No tricky wording, bait and switches, or purposefully misleading information.
- Include your contact details with your business name and address, so people know who is sending the email.
- Provide an unsubscribe button in the email and ensure it works.
Pretty easy, right? For transactional emails, you don’t need to provide an unsubscribe link. As these emails are used to relay important information regarding completed transactions like booking confirmations or upcoming stay reminders and should always be delivered to their intended destination.
Now that you’re sold on becoming an email marketer, the next step is building your list. You can start by compiling all your past guests and upcoming guests. And you can add an email signup widget to your website to capture new leads who may have never stayed with you, but would like to stay in contact and learn more.
Since we are all set up with the basics, we need to start developing emails that help drive bookings. Let’s look back at the traveler lifecycle for ideas on what kind of emails we should create to drive a high ROI.
Phase 1: Dreaming
Dreaming, wanderlust, travel inspo, whatever the turn of phrase, it all boils down to planning your next escape from the drudgery of your 9-to-5. When people are in the dreaming phase, now’s the time to sell your business and your destination. Showcase all of your cities best attractions and events, and highlight your property’s best features and amenities. Your property’s best features could vary wildly: an Olympic pool, on-site hiking trails, famous blueberry pancakes, or your three pugs Larry, Curly and Moe that welcome guests upon arrival. Whatever the feature, it’s important to remember that people are drawn to experiences. So be authentic and showcase yourself.
Phase 2: Planning
During the planning phase, someone has their dates and destination picked out but needs to nail down all the details. You may have already won someone over with your dreamy, Instagram worthy property, yay! But others may be looking for the best value, the closest location to downtown, or a room with a Jacuzzi soaking tub. You should rely on your listing to sell your property and should have an expansive reach to cast a wide net. Email isn’t the primary channel for when travelers are researching their options, but you can convert your existing subscribers to guests with promotional emails like limited-time lower rates, seasonal specials or free upgrades.
Phase 3: Booking
Now that you’ve gotten a booking, you want to put your best foot forward with a welcome series. This is an automated email series
that will allow you to create triggered emails based on a milestone. A welcome series will serve to inform and stay in contact with your upcoming guest until their arrival. Your series could look something like the following:
- Upon confirmation
- A month away from arrival
- A week before arrival
- The day of arrival
These emails are set up to begin a repertoire with your upcoming guest and set the tone for their upcoming stay. This is simple and easy to do with eviivo’s My Guest Manager, which allows you to design custom emails, set-up triggered emails and manage your guest profiles all in one place.
Phase 4: Experiencing
While Experiencing relies heavily on hospitality, you can still make an impact on guest experience through email. Even though your welcome series is part of Phase 3: Booking, the day of arrival email can be included the Phase 4: Experiencing, as it pertains to a guest’s on-site experience. In this email, you should include all of the pertinent information in regards to ease of arrival. This may include check-in details, parking information or even traffic tips, or more personal suggestions like recommendations or insider tips. You could let them know to be sure to buy tickets in advance if you want to see this or make a reservation if you’d like to dine at my favorite place or this place has reverse happy hour tonight! These thoughtful suggestions can elevate a guest’s stay from good to great!
Phase 5: Sharing
After your guest has stayed, their journey with you isn’t over. In fact, this is a crucial component for you in the traveler lifecycle. You want guest reviews. You can start generating reviews by setting up a triggered email to go out after a guest’s check-out date for a post-stay review request. A whopping 99% of travelers read reviews before making a booking, which means that every review is critical in improving consumer confidence in deciding to book their stay with you.
Now that you’ve gone through the traveler journey, it’s time to rinse and repeat! The traveler lifecycle is cyclical, everyone can be a future guest. As you continue sending emails and building relationships, you can gather additional information such as recurring dates, birthdays or anniversaries to send tailored communications to your guests, all which is easy to manage in My Guest Manager. Or continue to drive customer loyalty with referrals or loyalty programs! Now that you’re equipped with how to leverage email throughout the traveler lifecycle, you’re well on your way to being an email marketing pro!