10 Winning Email Marketing Ideas for Hotels


It would seem as though hotels have it made. After all, they profit off of making their customers’ vacation and relaxation dreams a reality. However, in a fiercely competitive market that is today’s hospitality industry, hotels must continuously work to keep even the most satisfied guests coming back. Email marketing for hotels can be your hospitality business’ ticket to effective, long-term hotel-guest relationships and repeat stays. All you need is a little inspiration and a handle on some of the top tools of the trade.

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When done correctly, email marketing has the potential of returning $38 for every $1 spent. That’s a massive return on investment. And with benefits such as re-targeting customers who abandoned carts (left your hotel’s site mid-booking), following up with guests future visits, offering promotions to entice past guests to return, A/B testing new marketing campaigns to determine which converts best and more, it’s no wonder 80 percent of SMBs, including hotels, use email marketing for retention purposes!

Now just in case you’re new to the whole email marketing for hotels business, here are…

10 Winning Email Marketing Ideas for Hotels

Whether they like to admit it or not, your customers like hearing from you. Use these great email marketing ideas as inspiration for your own hotel marketing emails and start increasing your open rates, bookings and ROI.


1 – Location newsletters

A marketing email is a great way for hotels to let customers know when staying at their establishment, sort of like a “YOU ARE HERE” moment. Use your newsletters as a map that highlights your hotel’s location, local attractions and tours guests can take in the nearby area. Doing so will add value to your hotel’s already great services and amenities, and entice them to book.

Check out this great example by Tourism NYC; it could easily be adapted and included in a New York City-based hotel’s marketing email. By sharing upcoming local events ahead of the summer vacation season, they provided clear value to would-be travelers potentially interested in visiting the Big Apple.




2 – Culinary newsletters

Another great way to add value to your hotel’s location with email marketing is to let your customers know about the great culinary experiences that await them inside your hotel – and nearby. You can even couple this information with offers ahead of the holidays. Hotel guests already spending a pretty penny on their accommodations can’t help but be excited when presented with a deal to make their trip more affordable. The Shangri-La hotel in Vancouver did just that. The hotel sent out a mouth-watering marketing email before Mother’s Day, complete with information on attending Mother’s Day brunch at the hotel, tasty looking images and an option to reserve a table, right then and there. Using their mailer as inspiration and adding a section with icons and information about popular eateries located nearby can help you increase your hotel’s bookings, even if the actual meal is consumed elsewhere.




3 – Special campaigns

Email marketing for hotels is a highly effective way of letting customers know about special offers, promotions, and discounts. Sending them directly to the customer’s inbox as opposed to in public social or other marketing materials, and personalizing them to meet the customer’s needs whenever possible, is a surefire way of making them feel special, like they’re gaining exclusive access to offers no one else will receive (even if those same offers are visible on your hotel’s website).

The Best Western hospitality chain accomplished this goal well. Their “Deals of the Week” mailer lets customers know exactly what limited-time offers they’ll receive if they book a stay at any one of their hotels across the US. The campaign creates a sense of urgency, while simultaneously giving customers a feeling that they have a variety of options to choose from, at prices that can’t be beaten.




4 – VIP marketing emails

It can cost five times more to attract a new customer than retain an existing one, so be sure to nurture your best customers towards retention with a VIP-inspired newsletter that keeps them coming back. In short, make them feel very special, with an exclusive offer for loyal customers only!

For example, Occidental Hotels & Resorts sent out the marketing email below. While the mailers itself is a little wordy, the integration of thanking past guests for their loyalty, the 10 percent offer in the form of a promo code, the clear call to action to use it ASAP and “Book Now” and the inviting image come together to form a VIP-esque email marketing idea for hotels.




5 – Cart abandonment newsletters

The travel industry, including hotel bookings, has one of the highest cart abandonment rates in the e-commerce world. On average, 80 percent of prospective travelers leave hotel and online travel sites just minutes before booking, compared to a 68-74 percent abandonment rate in other industries. A winning email marketing idea for hotels is of the essence, in order to revive the abandoned deal and lead to a successful booking. Send them an offer, a coupon code or a discount on the booking itself, or on an in-house extra such as a spa treatment, room service, or a meal in your hotel’s restaurant.


6 – Follow-up marketing email ideas

A key element in retaining existing hotel guests is in following up with them soon after their most recent stay. Ask them how their time at your hotel was in a marketing email. Get them talking by using the ActiveTrail online survey tool and get instant feedback on what they liked and disliked about their vacation, so you can come up with future email marketing ideas and send them mailers personalized to their hospitality needs and wants.

Check out how The Inn at Union Square accomplished this goal. They invited guests to “Tell us about your stay,” reminded them how valuable they are to the hotel and asked them to take part in a survey. No bells and whistles, but still a highly effective email marketing idea for hotels.




7 – Testimonials

Recommendations made by satisfied hotel guests are a powerful email marketing tool the hospitality industry can definitely benefit from, as 83 percent of people are more likely to purchase a product or book service after hearing about it from a customer just like them. As such, winning email marketing for hotels includes sharing what your guests have to say – with your subscribers who have yet to book.


8 – Visual content

Sometimes, it’s something as simple as integrating amazing visuals to capture customers’ eyes and get them to book. As people tend to remember 80 percent of what they see and only 20 percent of what they read, the images and videos you attach to your newsletter can transform your email marketing campaign from irritating to inspiring.

The Rosewood Beijing makes great use of modern videos to attract customers in its marketing emails. The video takes would-be guests on a tour of the hotel, familiarizing them with the site, so booking a stay no longer feels foreign and far-removed.



9 – Email marketing for hotels meets social media

Social media is where your hotel’s target audience members are already spending an average of 142 minutes a day – and in today’s day and age, they’re turning to social media influencers to find out all sorts of information, including where they should stay on their next vacation. Partner with social media influencers and add their content to your hotel’s newsletters, to create a buzz, increase open rates and promote bookings like a true hotel industry winner.

For example, integrating an image like the one below into your hotel newsletter can pique your customers’ interests and get them to read more and book. After all, which modern, digitally-savvy traveler doesn’t want to take an Instagram-worthy vacation pic? Having an influencer show them that they can, at your hotel, is a traffic-generating idea you should definitely adopt.email_marketing_hotels_7



10 – Event promotion

Use email marketing to show customers the kinds of events that have or will take place at your hotel – festivals, parties, conferences and other fun activities they won’t want to miss.

Pro tip: describe the events with emotional language. Entice them with the thought of joining in on the fun – “you could be here.”

Outrigger Resorts engaged in ideal email marketing for hotels by sandwiching event promotion in between a call to book and information on local attractions – complete with stunning images. With a mailer like theirs, it will be hard for your subscribers to ignore “the call” to stay at your hotel.



Bottom line

Presenting your subscribers with winning email marketing ideas like the ones described above can make all the difference between bulking and booking. To drive the powerful messages in your newsletters all the way home and ensure each subscriber receives marketing emails that appropriately suit their current stage in the sales funnel – consideration, pre-stay, or post-stay, personalization and segmentation are key. Namely, choose the type of marketing email that responds to the customer’s need from your hotel at each and every touchpoint, to show them you care and help resolve any pains preventing them from booking, now, or in the future.

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