The challenges of a changing industry
In the past, the tourism industry relied on travel agents to fill their rooms. But, with the growth of social media and crowd-sourced review sites, there has been a dramatic shift in how hotels find customers. Now, for a hotel to thrive, they need a top-notch website, positive customer reviews, and a well-maintained online reputation.
Whether a guest is from down the street or across an ocean, they’ll want to get a feel for the place they’ll call home for a few nights. Boutique Hotel Seven Days needed an email marketing solution that could provide their guests with information at every stage of their customer lifecycle.
- Before booking, they want to send marketing messages that would help convince the traveler that their hotel is the best place to stay.
- After the room is booked, they wanted to provide useful information that would help them have a great stay.
- After they stay, they want to continue sending messages that will motivate them to return and collect positive reviews.
Let’s look at the pre-booking stage of a guest’s journey as strictly sales focused. The hotel is trying to highlight what will be different and better about staying at their hotel versus others. While this seems like a simple concept, it’s anything but easy to do well. A guest will consider different scenarios when picking their hotel depending on what is important to them when they travel. There are a lot of pros and cons to be weighed. During this process, a potential guest will ask themselves questions such as:
- What amenities do I want?
- What level of care do I want during my stay?
- Do I want a restaurant at my fingertips?
- How long will I spend at the spa during my stay?
They need to be able to access the information that answers their questions so that they can arrive at a decision. The more available and obvious this information is, the better. Providing accessible answers to these types of questions is the first step in a successful acquisition of any guest — whether new or returning.
Once a guest books through Booking.com, or the Boutique Hotel Seven Days website, a welcome series is initiated to accommodate the guest well before they set foot in the hotel lobby. Beginning with a fully customized and automated confirmation email (seen below), a guest is reassured, catered to, and introduced to additional services offered by the hotel.
Leading up to a guest’s stay, hotels can highlight their distinct features and ancillary services. Say, a guest is looking for stress-free pick-up and transport to and from the airport, or a massage upon their arrival. Hotel Boutique Seven Days informs their guests of these offerings and offers discounts for those booking online. In addition to offering services and discounts, Boutique Hotel Seven Days is able to start offering concierge services such as recommending restaurants or highlighting events that are timely and local.
Once a guest has had an excellent experience at Boutique Hotel Seven Days, it’s time to try to illicit positive, actionable feedback, make guests into advocates, and ensure they’ll become loyal, repeat customers. Staying in contact between stays, or even sparking the idea of an impromptu trip, is essential to nurturing a relationship with any customer. Autoresponders and date-based campaigns are a perfect tool a business can use to stay on top of mind throughout the year.
ActiveCampaign features used:
A strong suit of ActiveCampaign is the ability to personalize messages. ActiveCampaign offers two tools to help you achieve this level of unique, seemingly individual email. With Personalization Tags and Conditional Content, ActiveCampaign allows you to customize these messages to fit the needs and interests of individual contacts while only sending one campaign. Content can be swapped in and out to display the most relevant information and offers. We’ll examine exactly how they are using these features below.
Utilizing information that is tied to a contact’s record, you can insert information such as personal information, subscription dates, or more custom information such as room type, booking date, number of rooms, etc. This allows for the hotel staff to deliver unique information effortlessly while using a globally successful email template.
See below for an example of a confirmation sent out by Boutique Hotel Seven Days:
To take your personalization a step further, one can implement Conditional Content. This feature allows you to dynamically change a campaign’s content on the basis of information you have on a contact.
For instance, when the hotel learns whether the contact is traveling for business or pleasure, they can send messages that match that reason for traveling. This kind of dynamic customization has proven to work better than sending every contact the same message.
Below is an example of how conditional content can utilize the geo data associated with a contact. We’ll use a simple difference such as spelling variables. For example, UK based guests will identify with certain spellings, and likewise for US based guests. From something as simple as this example to complex multi-variable logic based adaptive campaigns, ActiveCampaign can fuel the personalization that will make the difference.
To learn more about how you can harness and utilize personalization to increase the success of your email marketing, see this blog post on advanced personalization techniques.
The scope of what one can achieve utilizing ActiveCampaign’s drag-and-drop automation builder is pretty amazing. For example, one has the option to utilize 17 different triggers and 27 actions, where in a 5-step automation, the potential for 7,768,592 possibilities would exist. This degree of customization allows a business to adjust its communication to customer feedback, changing market conditions, and customer interests/behavior. From simple auto responders that are sent 12 hours after a visitor signs up for a newsletter to logic-based automations that follow as long a trajectory and workflow as one likes.
As the hotel industry is very seasonal, date-based campaigns make it easy to promote specials and target off-season guests. These year long, seasonal campaigns can help keep your hotel top-of-mind throughout the year and can be easily accomplished using this feature [link to feature page – possibly email marketing page]. For instance, you can send emails celebrating a guest’s anniversary of when they stayed at your hotel, or highlight yearly events that are draws to certain groups such as international tourists, businessfolk, and hobbyists.
By utilizing the powerful features of ActiveCampaign, Boutique Hotel Seven Days can spend more time addressing their guest’s needs while their business’s marketing is handled automatically.
By investing in a best of breed email marketing and marketing automation platform, Boutique Hotel Seven Days can rely on the many features of ActiveCampaign to keep them engaged, in-touch, and in-front of the needs of their guests. Highly targeted email communications allow the hotel to stay top-of-mind in the cutthroat tourism landscape, and the scalable power of ActiveCampaign will be there for Boutique Hotel Seven Days as their business grows.
Seeing the impact of their marketing efforts, Boutique Hotels Seven Days has succesfully positioned itself as a leader in the boutique hotel industry of Prague.