On one hand, email marketing is by far the best performing marketing weapon in the hands of any hotel marketing manager (and not only in the hotel sector).
On the other hand though, before communicating, we need to collect the email address of those prospects and customers we will be communicating with.
Thus, having people subscribing to our hotel newsletter becomes the 1st step of paramount importance.
So, how do we entice hotel website visitors to leave their email address for receiving our messages?
And here lies the problem: hotel newsletter forms are some of the most boring, yawning and depressing lead magnets the world wide web has ever seen.
Let’s be honest: do you really think this is enticing?
Millions of billions of hotels in the world offering so-called exclusive special offers, that are nothing but the same-old-same-old:
- X% OFF
- Summer/Spring/Autumn/Winter escape
- Mother’s/Father’s/Valentine’s/Whatever-celebration’s Day special…
- Black Friday/Halloween/Xmas/NYE
Seriously, where is the deal?
In this article we’re going to see how to make a request to signup for a hotel newsletter more enticing, more exciting, and more importantly, more efficient for your hotel business, in 5 steps.
Let’s dig in.
The only exception is when one is (or is thinking of becoming) a return guest of a particular hotel: in this case, getting the hotel newsletter with the recurrent special offers may sound beneficial.
Other than that, tiny irrelevant differences among thousands of hotel newsletter forms make them look like the exact same thing.
Let’s see some other examples.
The simple one:
The completely useless/empty one:
When running into such hotel newsletter forms, I actually wonder what they are about and whether these hotels are really aiming for newsletter sign ups, or they just filled up some space on their hotel websites because, ultimately… everyone has a newsletter form, so why not?
Bad examples are all over the places. Much more difficult to find good ones.
How a Good Newsletter Form Looks Like.
For example, like this:
Now that you’ve seen how potentially your new hotel newsletter can be structured, let’s reverse-engineer to find out the 5 things that make this final result much different from any other newsletter form.
1) Name Your Newsletter
What’s the catch of giving your hotel newsletter a name?
The difference between unnamed vs named newsletters is the same difference that exists between the articles “a” and “the”: the former means one among many, the latter means one and only.
Other than getting you more hotel newsletter signups, a name will also help you:
- Stand out in your readers’ inboxes.
- Be more easily remembered.
And if you aim at building a community around your brand over time, naming your newsletter becomes of paramount importance.
2) Give it a face by showing your people.
The web is full of stats and studies that confirm how creatives with people convert better than any other subject.
So why not turning this to your advantage by showing your people, your staff?
Plus, I like the idea of recognition, participation and involvement: you can use your newsletter to show each member of your wonderful staff, one at a time:
- week 1: show a photo of your Night Auditor
- week 2: the Housekeeping Manager
- week 3: the Bartender
- week 4: …
A weekly photo turnaround is too ambitious? What about monthly?
Given that changing a photo on a websites takes less than drinking a 3-shot espresso in Italy, this really shouldn’t be too big of an effort.
Point is: wouldn’t your staff feel more appreciated and involved if they can see their face on your website?
3) Give it a why and a format.
Let’s make it simple: why should people subscribe to such a hotel newsletter? To… stay in touch?
There is no magic that sells a boring product or services. Boring remains boring, cool remains cool. And no marketing will make boring stand out.
This is a 2-part task, and you must be sure cover them both.
Like in the example:
- the first part of the job is to think what can you offer to engage and entice your prospects and customers.
- the second part of the job is to commit to deliver on your promises
At this point though is where I know I’ll be loosing half of you following this article, because here is where you’re required to think, think, and again… think, to come up with some really cool stuff your visitors will be delighted to join for.
And finally, this is the point where you probably realise that this is no marketing gimmick: you really have to put forth your best.
A primary need of any individual is to do what other people do, in order to get that feeling of belonging.
The most obvious social-proof tool any hotel can rely on is the wide variety of reviews past guests submit everywhere on the web.
Most obvious… but also most inflated tool: in fact, even the worst hotel in the world certainly happens to have a positive review somewhere, make reviews (in my humble opinion) not so believable.
5) Soften your CTA
In this other article I wrote some year ago I mentioned a Google A/B test in which they compared 2 different call to actions: Book Now vs Check Availability, with the latter performing a good +17% in clicks.
The reason was simple: Check Availability sounds less committing than Book Now.
In the context of a hotel newsletter signup, the CTAs are different, but the principle remains the same: Subscribe, Sign Up or even Join Now involve a way bigger commitment than a simple, friendly and casual Try it out.
Don’t let your ego (and CRM) drive your initiatives.
This may not be your case, but check this out:
It’s a damn newsletter, keep it simple (other than engaging): you just need an email address, not their full details.
Timing is everything.
Think of, say, Black Friday: as stated above, occasions like the Black Friday are where typically everyone sends out newsletter with, again, wannabe special or exclusive deals.
The result: those who have signed up for X newsletter forms will receive X newsletter messages.
Put differently: all of a sudden these individuals will have their inbox exploding, full of noisy messages that actually say the same thing.
Much difficult to stand out with such competition, don’t you think?
Instead it’d be better to create your own calendar, your own schedule, your own special occasion.
In the example above I came up with the Memorable Too-Good-To-Be-True Monthly deal, which can be a flash sale that opens sales for only 24 hours (urgency), that offers only 10 rooms (scarcity) at an incredible good deal, only the first Monday of each month.
Whatever you decide your deal will be, it’s just going to be yours and yours only.
Static or Dynamic.
The final point (question) is: where do I place my newsletter form?
As relevant as this point is, you can either have a static form, maybe somewhere at the bottom of your hotel home page:
Or a more dynamic placement that can be served, for example, as an exit-intent popup, meaning a form that pops up when visitor is about to leave the page, in an attempt to keep him where he is:
Which is better? Your stats will tell.
My final thought: don’t overcomplicate your hotel marketing. Yet, don’t claim it to be too easy.
Think about it: if it’s too easy, everyone would do it, right?
The fact that:
- a) you need to put forth your best efforts to come up with an enticing hotel newsletter,
- b) with offers and specials that are relevant in the eyes of your prospects and customers,
- c) and with the consistency required to deliver on the promises;
these 3 factors will stop most of your competitors when facing what the effort required really is: too much thinking, too much time, too much mental energy.
In other words: let them play the easy game, let them dream about magic shortcuts… and let them cut themselves out of the game, giving you this incredible competitive advantage.
P.S. BTW, I preach solutions that I myself adopt…