Email Automation 101: How email marketing helps hoteliers increase revenue & loyalty

The guest journey doesn’t start when they check in, it starts online, with their initial booking. And with proper post-stay marketing, that journey also doesn’t end when they check-out.

Email marketing, powered by a robust email automation solution, helps hoteliers enhance the guest experience before they arrive and long after they leave. Set up and automate emails that engage and delight guests to improve revenue and loyalty. 

What is email automation?

Let’s start with the basics: email automation and marketing automation are a type of solution that manages and performs repeated tasks, such as sending e-mails. It’s just a fancy way of saying “sending emails automatically, with less effort.”

Rather than sending out each individual email manually, it uses your guest data (such as contact or reservation details) to message guests on your behalf. It can be set up to send out an email on a trigger (e.g., someone confirms a booking), or to send multi-email campaigns to a designated list (e.g., emails to past corporate travelers about your current offerings).

Some examples of email automation for hotels:

  • An automatic booking confirmation email
  • A pre-stay email with relevant local info
  • Post-stay engagement 
  • Ongoing marketing campaigns (e.g., targeting repeated guests, locals, etc.)

Email automation is the difference between sending out a generic email that starts off with “Hi there,” to being able to mine guest data and personalize communications by addressing your guests by name.  Personalization is only becoming more important to a hotel’s bottom line, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them (source).

How does email automation work?

Email automation solutions need customer data to run, and hotels have very specific use cases. Any old email marketing system is not the right fit for a hotel. Your email marketing system must leverage customer information from your property management system.

For example, to send a confirmation email, your marketing automation tool has to know that a customer has booked a stay with your hotel. It needs to be able to read information from the source.

There are many different types of generic email marketing solutions out there that span every industry. Broadly speaking, there are two types of automated emails that these solutions can set up and send out for you: triggered emails and ongoing campaigns.

A triggered email is a message that is automatically sent based on a specific event – for example, a customer checks in, and a welcome email automatically arrives in their inbox with property and area info.

On the other hand, an email campaign is not based on any specific customer action. It is a mass email sent to a specific set of customers (also known as a segment). A campaign can be a single email, like a one-off update about a property event, or an ongoing marketing effort with multiple emails.

To send both triggered emails and set up campaigns, hoteliers need a solution that is designed for hospitality specifically. Email automation that is specifically designed for hoteliers enhances every step of the guest journey. Breaking down the guest journey, here are some ideas how email marketing helps hotels engage guests and boost revenue:

  • The day they book – An automatic, post-transaction email gives them necessary info about your hotel and their booking, like their reservation number
  • Before they arrive – Excite and engage with property information, up-sell opportunities, as well as using this as an opportunity to ask if there are any additional services they require
  • When they check-in – A welcome emails is another opportunity to help guests make the most of their time in your area, both on property and local offers
  • During their stay – Remind customers of your communication channels (email, text, dedicated mobile app) so customers always feel like they can rely on you
  • Post stay – Use email to send out a post-stay survey to gather feedback, improve review scores and measure guest happiness
  • The cycle starts over – You can now re-market to this guest. Send targeted emails with special offer or promotions increasing the likelihood of a direct booking (if they did not before).

Automating all of these emails is where marketing automation shines. A hotel-specific system makes it easy to keep your guests engaged throughout the journey, creating loyal guests who are more likely to  return to your property or recommend it to a friend.

Why do hotels need email automation?

Email marketing helps any business communicate more effectively with their potential customers, current customers, and future customers. Email is the platform that customers are most receptive to, and where you’re likely to get the highest level of engagement.

Crafting one email and sending it to all your past customers is the easiest route. But according to Hubspot, segmenting your list (ie, just to a specific sub-set of past guests with a specific message) saw an increase in revenue as much as 760% compared to those that didn’t. That’s where email automation makes the difference between sending mass generic emails and targeted, specific campaigns.

Email marketing is the easiest way to communicate with guests in a channel where they expect to receive information and promotional materials. Engaged guests are more loyal, and more likely to book again, and book directly if they didn’t the first time.

Jonas Chorum has an email marketing solution that integrates directly with Chorum PMS. Our hotel-specific solution helps you provide a more cohesive experience for your guest, while increasing revenue potential. Book a demo to see our how our email marketing and PMS work together.

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