I don’t know about you, but it’s very rare that I deliberately sign up for hotel’s newsletters – even if I really like the place. The reason is simple; I don’t really care about a hotel’s new indoor pool or breakfast menu if I’m located far away from it and don’t have the chance to visit often.
Most hotels today don’t leverage the huge potential in email marketing, which is a shame – cause if done right, it can be a gold mine in terms of lead generation. In this post, specifically written for hoteliers and hotel marketing managers, I’m diving into the topic of email marketing for hotels and HOW a hotel can turn their monthly newsletters into a customer magnet while staying true to their brand’s DNA.
First things first: are you already sending out newsletters?
If not: great! Now is the time to get onboard email marketing and do it right from the beginning! If yes, keep reading to learn how to optimize it! There are tons of reasons why you should think about investing (time) in creating a monthly newsletter: the first one would be to keep your current guests engaged in your property while attaining new potential guests along the way.
The conversion rates of emails are three times higher than social media (THREE TIMES!). Need I say more? It’s such a powerful ressource in today’s digitalized world that it would be a shame to miss it!
I recommend using a platform like Mailchimp, Drip or Convert Kit. I personally use Mailchimp for my clients and my own business and can honestly say that it’s very intuitive and easy to use. There are more complicated (or shall we say sophisticated) programs, but Mailchimp is definitely the best version for beginners and intermediates.
So, assuming you already see the value of email marketing, I’m gonna jump right into the lead magnet part. What’s a lead magnet? It’s basically something you give away for free in exchange for your customer’s contact information (a name and an email address, typically). Of course, you’re not just giving away anything for free – it has to be valuable to the recipient. You can say that getting more people onboard your newsletter is the first step in creating a succesful customer relation. When they’re in, it’s your time to keep feeding them value – not just random content and useless information! And this is where it gets fun.
“A lead magnet is something (valuable) you give away for free in exchange of a customer’s contact information”
What kind of lead magnet can hotels be using?
Think about it; how do most hotel’s get customers onboard their email marketing train? For example by giving percentages off drinks, dinners, spa deals, parking, you name it! In many cases, people sign up because they’re interested in certain deals or if they visit a specific hotel chain often and wish to be loyalty members. But what if they never return to that specific hotel (chain) again? What if 10% off a spa package was only truly interesting that one day – and never again? Then people will start signing off the newsletter plus you’ll loose a whole segment of travelers; families with kids, Gen Z travelers – basically anyone who’s not staying at your hotel for business purpose.
Start producing engaging content for your hotel’s newsletters and you’ll quickly see the difference. If you produce something of value (a broader sense of value), more people will engage with your newsletters and your audience will increase. It’s as simple as that. Quality content always wins!
Here’s a handful of lead magnet ideas for your hotel:
- A travel checklist. Depending on the season, what does your guests need to bring when visiting your hotel? Specific clothes, electronic essentials etc.?
- A curated city guide. Nothing wins travelers over like offering them a free city guide – or even better: a curated guide to your specific neighborhood. At Room22, we’re specialized in creating tailormade local guides offering hotel guests the opportunity to create unforgettable memories in the local sphere.
- A fun guide to your hotel. What separates your hotel from others in the area? Are you pet-friendly? Do you have special interior design or amenities? Interesting stories about the employees that your guests will find interesting? Is your hotel located in a historically interesting venue? Tell it in a short guide and give your guests the opportunity of getting to know you from the inside before even visiting you!
- A language guide with commonly used phrases. This is of course more interesting if you’re located in an “exotic destination” (hint: not UK or US!) Who wouldn’t like to learn a bit of Hindi, Japanese or Swedish?
- An activity planner for families. If your hotel is specifically child-friendly or catering to families, why not create an activity planner with the most popular family-friendly activities in close proximity of your hotel? From water parks and children’s cafés to animal parks and painting workshops – your area is probably full of fun activities!
There’s a lot more where that came from, but these are just a few of my own favorite ideas.
How to set up a lead magnet?
If you’re already sending out newsletters, this is a no-brainer. Simply plan and schedule your ideas at least 5-6 months in advance. You need to think about the following:
- Which email provider will you be using? (see my recommendations above)
- Where should people be able to sign up for your newsletter? This can be through your website (preferably in a pop-up or entire page) or via social media.
- A call-to-action button. After explaining your lead magnet (which should be reason enough for people to sign up!), the call-to-action button should ensure the very last step: to get people to actually sign up! Keep it short and sweet, e.g. “Yes, I want to receive a free e-book!” or “Sign me up for the good stuff!”