Creating email drip campaigns for hotels and hospitality is one of the most effective and customer-centric changes you can make for your business. Despite its pandemic setbacks, the hotel and hospitality industry or accommodation and food service sector is still a 1.1 trillion US dollar industry. Embracing digital transformation helped the industry bounce back while providing exquisite guest experiences.
Positive guest experiences drive hotels. When guests have a great stay, they post photos of their visit, from the room décor to the architecture and exceptional amenities. The opposite is also true. Dissatisfied guests will post their negative experiences that paint the hotel in a bad light. Being able to respond adaptively and prevent those negative experiences from occurring or trending on social media means creating communication plans and versatile avenues of redress.
What are Drip Email Marketing Campaigns?
We all know email marketing and email campaigns, but what are drip email marketing campaigns? Hint; you are probably already doing it, or at least your marketing agency is. Email drip campaigns are emails sent consecutively to your customers based on their specific actions. It’s those workflows your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system tries to get you to set up. You know, that complicated system of emails that makes you feel like you’re about to lose your customer down some mythical Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole.
And yes, you can lose them in there if you don’t know what you’re doing and your drip campaign’s goal. Email drip campaigns are meant to lead the customer to a specific outcome. Whether it’s to get information, book a room or find the best deals, the drip campaign must take the customer where they want to go, even exit your email subscriber list.
Now, just because you will be sending a couple of emails, that doesn’t mean this is a mass email campaign. Mass email campaigns send emails to multiple users whether they want them or not. A typical example would be broadcast emails companies send out to all their employees. These emails are not personalized, nor is it necessary to take further action.
In a drip campaign, emails are sent based on the receiver’s actions and your desired outcome. Remember, though you may have goals you want to achieve for your hotel, it is up to the user to decide what email comes next. Therefore, all of your drip content marketing efforts must fuel their desire for services and continued interaction.
The Current State of Email Drip Campaigns in the Hotel Industry
Drip campaigns work best with segmentation and personalization like any email marketing campaign. And within a broad industry like hotel and hospitality, emails need to be segmented with pinpoint targeting. Gathering as much information about your future guests will only be valuable if you understand how to use the data and incorporate it into drip content marketing.
Email drip campaigns can be used in the hotel industry for recruitment, hiring, and onboarding. These campaigns are also perfect for retargeting by lead nurturing to build loyalty and trust or with demand generation through personalized messages and drip content marketing. And for general updates to staff and guests seeking information or support.
The hotel industry sends out many emails designed to fulfill their customers’ present needs, reassure past commitments and build future relationships. Since the hotel industry includes food and beverage services, entertainment, cruise ships, travel, and lodging, with businesses that mesh together, emails can end up leading to other companies. A simple funnel for a medium-sized hotel can include discounts for the shop nearby and complimentary drinks at the hotel bar.
In PWC 2019 Leisure Trends Report, it was discovered that CRMs were not the norm despite the increased use of technology in the hotel and hospitality industry. Hotels had limited themselves to sending emails the old-fashioned way for a more personalized experience. Marketing automation, to this day, is not fully embraced by large hotel chains and drip campaigns have too many elements of mass email campaigns.
As the rest of the industry leaned into the digital transformation, hotel owners and managers are still concerned over health issues and staff training. Fear of Covid incidents and “the Great Resignation” keeps hotel CEOs proactive in their email marketing efforts. Drip campaigns are used sparingly in keeping with standard email marketing funnel tactics.
Benefits of Drip Campaigns
Granted, emerging Covid 19 variants and staff shortages are pressing concerns, but driving much-needed industry growth, or in the hotel industry’s case, recovery should also be a key focus. Understandably, guests’ health would come before hotels’ wealth, but relaxation is a much-needed healthy option in a time of increasing mental challenges.
Using email drip campaigns, you don’t have to sacrifice either point of view. You can direct your emails based on your customers’ behavior and concerns and let them decide their guest experience. Since hotels rarely need to build from cold leads as customers seek them out, starting your drip campaign from a digital advertising campaign can also be the way to go. Either way, the customer’s actions will decide the flow, but segmentation and targeting determine your campaign’s success.
Drip campaigns are successful once you have a solid email marketing strategy. Like email marketing, there are many similar benefits to drip campaigns.
Work Smarter Not Harder
Marketing automation is one of the premier benefits of using a drip campaign. You get the added benefit of timely emails sent to the right person at the right time while saving considerable time responding to guests. Marketing automation also provides room for self-efficiency and quicker problem-solving.
Automatic Retargeting and Remarketing
Once the customer experience is mapped out appropriately, triggered and autoresponder emails have higher open rates and have lower spam and unsub rates, making them excellent tools for retargeting. Each loyalty, feedback, seasonal, and celebration email hotels send out is an opportunity for retargeting. Drip campaigns are the perfect email marketing strategy for remarketing campaigns as the triggers can be built into your current campaign.
Easier Analytics Measurement
Being highly personalized and customized is an advantage and warning. Without accurate personalization and customization, you can end up sending a mass of emails that reaps no benefits for you or the customer. This makes analytics extremely important before and after a drip campaign. And drip campaigns provide a variety of email metrics that can be used for re-engagement and new campaigns.
Boosts Email Marketing Engagement
Automated emails have 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates. As customers move down the funnel of their choosing, you get increased interest and a more efficient sales process. Guests are less irritated by useless, irrelevant emails, and retention and positive guest experiences increase.
Increase Email Marketing Return
Email marketing automation increases a lot of the metrics for email marketing, and naturally, that increases your returns. Cross-selling, upselling, and retargeting further drive sales and engagement. It shortens the sales cycle and allows for better communication, analytics, and monitoring of email campaigns. Email marketing already has an average of $42 ROI for every dollar spent, and by saving money and time, your hotel can go beyond the standard.
Hotels are designed to give their customers more than just a place to relax. And their email campaigns are not supposed to add to their guests’ stress either. Drip campaigns for hotels and hospitality provide all the benefits of email targeting, and the personalized experience guests expect from hotels.
How to Create Drip Campaigns?
As with any email campaign, drip campaigns for hotels and hospitality start with a clear buyer persona(s) and organizational goals. After that, there is a lot of data validation, analysis, and segmentation that has to take place to create a targeted email list. Segmentation isn’t just done on a demographic level for email drip campaign best practices. Your list should be segmented by firmographic behavior, including device touchpoints, channel touchpoints and psychographic data.
Creating A Drip Campaign:
- Create A Targeted Email List – Obviously, who will you send the emails to. Even if the goal is organic list building, you still need accurate data for pinpoint targeting to create a winning sequence to get them into the database.
- Determine Drip Campaign Goals – The targeted email list and drip campaign goals are needed to decide the campaign’s direction.
- Choose Your Marketing Automation Software – It doesn’t have to be a CRM. It can be a Content Management System (CMS) like your own website to create landing pages and automate emails. Or it can be AI-directed software that works with your email service provider, CMS or CRM.
- Decide How and When to Send the First Email – Keep permission-based marketing tactics in mind for your first email. The last thing you want to do is start your campaign off by being blacklisted. Choose what action(s) will trigger the follow-up email sequence.
- Identify the Key Touchpoints Your Drip Campaign Needs – Think about your desired goal and the path the customer needs to take to get there. Ideally, there should be 3 to five key touchpoints to avoid oversaturation of the inbox.
- Create Personalized and Customized Content -. Drip content marketing comes into play, which means personalized and customized content. Be on brand, have a purpose, think like the customer, pay attention to subject lines, and most importantly, have easy ways to communicate.
- Develop an Exit Strategy – This could include an email re-engagement strategy to return them to the funnel or onboarding process. Or a way to send them off with a smile.
As with any email campaign, a successful drip campaign will have a high response rate, sales and low spam complaints. A considerable part of a drip campaign’s success comes from analyzing each touchpoint on the campaign. By doing so through an AI-directed system, you’ll be able to get an accurate account of what has happened, worked and what needs to be changed.
Creating Drip Marketing Campaigns for Hotels and Hospitality
One sends out automated emails; another creates a productive drip campaign that doesn’t get flagged as spam or lost in translation. Hotels send out various emails, and with the threat of staff shortages, marketing automation could be the lifeline your hotel needs. With each one of the standard hotel emails as part of a drip email marketing campaign, managing guest outreach will be easier and a lot more profitable.
5 Types of Emails Hotels Send Out
- Welcome / Introduction – These emails are typically the start of your drip campaign.
- Transactional – Includes confirmation, pre-arrival, and thank you emails.
- Celebratory/ Retargeting – Loyalty, events, seasonal, and inspirational emails
- Promotional – Offers, upselling, cross-selling and preferences.
- Feedback – Hotel reviews, surveys and social media shares.
Putting all these emails into a seamless drip campaign means including the best email drip campaigns. These will not only work with your guests but can be part of your recruitment efforts. Ideally, none of these email drip campaign best practices work well without the other.
Geofencing Mobile Marketing To Win For Local SEO
Open rates for emails on mobile devices are increasing, even outpacing laptops in specific industries. Currently, 88% of users check their inboxes on their smartphones, so having mobile-optimized emails should be the standard. Geofencing mobile marketing allows your hotel to benefit from mobile-optimized emails by targeting by location.
For local restaurants, inns and entertainment venues, geofencing is an invaluable tool that can shave hundreds off your advertising budgets while still filling seats. Instead of manually attempting to pin down your potential guests in your city, use geofencing mobile marketing to find and reach them on their mobile devices. Since geofencing is done by segmenting and targeting, it’s a unique tool you need to have for your drip campaigns to beat out the competition.
Never Forget to Follow the Basic Rules of Email Marketing
Always be guided by the hotel guest journey map. The hotel and hospitality industry may have the highest open rates of any industry, but that doesn’t translate to follow-up emails or mobile-optimized emails. With below-average click-through rates, it’s time to return to the basics of email marketing.
Subject lines, headlines, content, mobile-optimized emails, and even emojis can affect your email ROI. Stats show that over 42% of smartphone users delete emails not optimized for mobile, so mobile-optimized emails are not an option. Thankfully, there has been a recent uptick in mobile optimization of email templates, design and content.
Speaking of content, this is drip content marketing. Therefore, the content should be timely, to the point, and relevant to the receiver. Spam compliance should always be your foremost consideration next to personalization and data. Don’t ignore Calls to Action (CTAs), continuous testing, and no response follow-ups.
Partner With A Data-Driven Marketing Agency
Data powers all the marketing efforts when creating drip campaigns for hotels and hospitality. Of course, you will need to partner with a data-driven marketing agency. Sending targeted emails in your drip campaign means pinpoint targeting that can only come from clean data sources that are highly segmented.
Email drip campaign best practices require a spam-compliant targeted hotel email list, which makes Using data validation and enhancement all the more critical. With machine automation, continuous monitoring and analysis of the drip campaign are automatically done through AI-directed technology. Our data-driven marketing agency can supply you with consumer and business data for your industry. We can use our extensive data validation, data enhancement services, and data analysis to give your email marketing strategy an added edge from beginning to end.
The best thing about drip marketing campaigns is that they pair well with various email marketing strategies, including permission-based marketing, full-funnel marketing and high response marketing. It can also be included in your overall omnichannel marketing, geofencing mobile marketing, or data-driven marketing strategy. Once you have the right marketing automation system, email marketing strategy, and data, drip email marketing is one of the more productive and hassle-free ways to manage your email campaigns.
Increased avenues for redress boosts communication and positive guest experiences while reducing the strain on your already limited and pandemic-stressed hotel staff. Hotels can create and execute successful drip marketing campaigns to streamline their guests’ experiences, thus improving ratings, occupancy and RevPar. Marketing automation in other hotel and hospitality industries has transformed how restaurant and event centers receive bookings and revenue.
Drip marketing campaigns can change the way you do business. Its potential should not be limited to your sales funnel but extend to your entire communication plan. By partnering with a data-driven marketing agency like FrescoData, together, we can explore all those possibilities and make the most of your drip marketing campaigns. Let’s strategize today!