The 5 Crucial Email Marketing Mistakes Your Hotel Needs to Avoid

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Posted on Mar 1st 2016

Email marketing allows you to deliver targeted messaging to countless guests all over the world at a low cost, and at a time that suits both you and them. But if you want to compete against some of the biggest companies in the world for attention in your guests’ inboxes, there are 5 critical mistakes you should really avoid.

1. Not Making It Easy For Your Guests To Subscribe

Does your hotel’s website provide visitors with plenty of opportunities to subscribe?

Your guests are often in a hurry. They might be scanning your site to find out if your property meets their needs, and it’s likely that they have several other hotel’s sites open in different tabs. They’re interested in your resort – but you can be sure they’re not going to search around for a subscribe button to find out more.

This means you need to make it simple for them. Some of the best ways to incorporate an email list sign-up form into your website include:

  • In a prominent position in the header area
  • Underneath a blog post
  • In the sidebar
  • On a floating bar
  • On exit-intent popups that are shown to guests as they are about to click-away from your site

2. Not Segmenting Your Guest Contact List

Once you’ve collected a database of people that are interested in your property, you’ll be eager to send out interesting email broadcasts to everyone on it. At first look, you might not think there’s too much wrong with that – you’re making contact with your guests, right? But by segmenting your contact list into specific guest groups, you’ll be able to send out far more targeted, relevant information, which translates to lower unsubscribe rates, better engagement and more bookings.

Here are just a few ways to segment your list:

  • By demographic data: Segment your list using different demographic data such as age, gender and marital status.
  • By booking history: The messaging you send out to new guests should be different to the content you send to repeat, loyal customers. Perhaps you want to target previous guests who haven’t re-booked in a while?
  • By guest persona: By now you probably have some idea of your different guest personas and what makes these different groups tick. Let’s say your hotel attracts a lot of retired couples, as well as families with young children. The needs of these two groups are obviously very different, and your messaging should reflect that.

3. Not Emailing Often Enough

How often do you email your guests? While it’s definitely possible to go over the top, it’s even worse to let month upon month go by with no contact. If you’re pushed for time when it comes to coming up with engaging content and great offers to send your guests, make a commitment to spend just 5 or 10 minutes a day working on your emails, instead of dedicating several hours to the task every couple of weeks.

Engagement is also about responding. If your email list isn’t too huge, this might be something as simple as encouraging your subscribers to hit ‘reply’ on your messages to contact you directly. To encourage engagement on bigger lists, you could try sending your guests a questionnaire or survey.

4. Not Using Data to Inform Your Email Marketing Decisions

Is your email marketing strategy informed by data? Or have you made decisions about the design and content of your messaging based on what you think you should be saying, or what you thought looked good based on emails from other businesses?

If you really want to drive results with email marketing, it’s crucial to make data- driven decisions: choices backed up by the information you gather. The two most important areas to monitor are:

  • The amount of your visitors that convert to email subscribers. (Try tracking this both before and after you change the content and layout of your site’s opt-in forms.)
  • Your open rate and click-through rate on a variety of emails. (Do you notice a difference in one or both of these when you send more emails? What about when you send less? Perhaps there’s a difference when you alter the style of the subject line?)

5. Not Gathering Your Own List

One dangerous, outdated, but still prevalent mistake is to buy a ready-made email list instead of building your own database. This quick fix is tempting for small businesses looking to start their contact lists from scratch, but it’s a tactic that is sure to backfire. Even in the rare case that the email addresses on the bought list were collected in an ethical way, these people won’t have a clue who you are or what your property is about. They will have never heard of your hotel, quite likely have no interest in it and will probably feel annoyed that you’re spamming them.

It’s also worth remembering that such lists have probably already been bought potentially by many other businesses in the same position as you. These businesses are also sending out mostly unwanted content to the same set of contacts. Any subscribers who haven’t already abandoned their email addresses in horror are likely to be far from receptive to your messages and offers!

Are you currently guilty of any of these easily avoidable mistakes? Let us know in the comments below!


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