4 Audiences Your Vacation Rental Emails Should Target
Building relationships with guests doesn’t look the same as it did 9 months ago. The global pandemic has changed how we are interacting with guests. From contactless check-ins to social distancing there is limited face to face contact and owners must find other ways to build relationships and provide the same experience as they would during normal operations.
In this blog we’ll discuss how vacation rental owners can own the guest experience by implementing personalization tactics throughout their email marketing strategy. We will give tips on segmenting lists for each stage of the guest journey after you’ve implemented a CRM.
A CRM That Adds Value To Your Email Marketing Campaigns
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is a very important tool to gather, store, and utilize important guest data. Your CRM enables you to select and manage the most valuable guest relationships. It helps to grow a relationship with the guest from the first introduction and throughout the entire guest lifecycle. There are many ways that you can utilize your CRM to engage the guest with timely email messaging throughout the guest life cycle. The first step is reviewing your guest data.
The 3 Functions of Data
Connecting with your guests needs to be memorable, making data an extremely valuable component of a successful property. The three main phases of data collection include data in, data storage, and data out. When looking at your properties main objectives to drive profit, increase guest satisfaction, and earn guest loyalty, identifying your most valuable guests allows you to connect during their stay, entices them to come back, as well as finds others similar to them.
Vacation Rental Management Companies need to collect their guest data for continuous flow of:
Data In – Guest data flows in from multiple channels such as PMS, CRS and POS
Data Storage – Stored in a central rich guest profile within the CRM platform
Data Out – Operations and Marketing uses data to target audiences and deliver tailored communications
“Capturing guest data and creating a single source of truth via a rich guest profile, allows the opportunity for the Vacation Rental Management Company to truly understand their guests needs and desires and to provide seamless customer experiences throughout the lifecycle and stay cycle of a customer. This is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have in the eyes of most Vacation Rental Owners” says Matt Renner, Principal Sales Consultant TravelNet Solutions.”
Once you have an idea of your guest data, the next step is use that data to personalize email messaging and automate it.
You want to understand each guest’s buying behavior, characteristics, needs and expectations, so that you can tailor your email messaging to what they find most relevant during the guest journey. Personalization can include using their name in communications, referring to amenities they enjoy such as spa or golf, or referring to accommodations they requested prior to stay. These are tokens added into the communication that make the guest feel as they are creating a valuable relationship and not just another room filled.
Vacation Rental Management Companies are busy running the day to day operations of their properties, by automating emails within your CRM you are able to engage with high value content and experiences for your guests, while saving both time and money. You can set up your emails based on the guest journey, and even at specific times. For example, if you wanted to target a pre stay guest, a way to do this would be 24-48 hours before their stay, send them a free room upgrade! The more you can both personalize and automate your emails, the better overall guest experience you will bring them.
Now that you understand the why, the next step is the “Who”. We are going to break down the 4 audiences that you should focus on based on the data collected in your CRM, and examples of ideas for messaging.
Prospect: At the beginning of their search, potential guests are focused on the inspiration and the feeling that they want out of their stay at your property. A great way to grab a prospect’s attention is sending a follow up email after they have called and spoke to a reservation agent. If they expressed they are looking for a vacation located near a golf course focus on grabbing their attention with high quality images of your properties located near golf courses. You could also send out a golf offer for first time visitors. Another example could include the traveler who inquired about a family vacation and a follow up email with properties including a pool, game room, and other kid friendly amenities.
Pre Stay: During this phase, a great idea would be to send an email with a personalized countdown to their stay! It shows the guest that you are excited for their stay and to top it off, you could even send a packing list! Some other ideas could be early check in, nearby grocery delivery services, or tickets to attractions.
Another example of a pre-stay email would include the directions to the home the guest is staying in, as well as providing the door code to unlock the unit. In a world where contactless experiences are ideal, avoiding checking in at the front desk is key.
Stay Cycle: During this phase, guests are busy enjoying the property, so a good way to engage and give them a top of the line experience is sending out an email about local restaurants and activities nearby. If you have a partnership with local attractions, provide a specialized discount code that can make their stay even more memorable.
Post Stay: After a guest leaves your property, one of the main things you will want to do is send a personalized thank you and a post follow up survey! You want to capture any feedback for potential guests and see how they enjoyed their stay.
To take it a step further in your survey, provide personalized questions that are unique to the guest. Inserting questions regarding the onsite amenities they used provides a personal touch that it is not a generic survey. An example would be, “When you visited the Spa on Monday, how would you rate your experience with Angela, the spa front desk receptionist?” This not only shows you know they went to the spa, but allows you to provide feedback to Angela internally regarding the response.
Now we have covered 2 out of the 3 biggest steps in email marketing which include implementing a Vacation Rental CRM and the key examples of targeted audiences, what’s next? Email marketing is a daunting task but it can be the answer to exceptional guest services to secure bookings and increase repeat guests. Partnering with a Hospitality Specific Marketing Agency is a great opportunity to see return on investment in your email marketing efforts.
Value of Using a Hospitality Marketing Agency For Email Marketing
Understanding the guest stay cycle can be a complex process, but here at TNS we have it down. Did you know that according to Hubspot, some experts estimate that you can earn $38 in new business for every $1 spent on email marketing. That is a lot of heads in beds if you can nail down your email marketing strategy. We have Digital Marketing experts that focus fully on sending out the right emails, at the right time to optimize open and click rates.
Here is an example of a customer who sent a targeted email campaign to their guests. Industry average is 20% open and 2% click rate, but we were able to get them to 48.7% open rate and 18.3% in the first automated email.
If you need help with your email marketing campaigns or strategy, TNS would love to meet with you!