Email Marketing: How to Get the Most Bookings for Your Buck

Lauren Nicholl

Lauren has worked within the travel and hospitality industry for the past 10 years and has specialized in community management, social media and content marketing, influencer programs, and event coordination. She's been part of the White Stone team since October 2016 and loves contributing her skills and passions while learning all about this particular niche of the industry.

Email marketing is a very effective way to reach your targeted audience. It’s a vehicle to get potential guests to browse your website and is often the initial inspiration point for vacation planning in general. Of course, we love seeing direct bookings from your newsletter. We recently created an email campaign that brought in about four times more revenue than other top performing campaigns and nearly twice as much as the same client’s previous newsletter.

Checking Email on Phone

Some numbers…

Saratoga Arms’ April Campaign produced eight direct transactions, six of which only took a single session to complete. Within a month, these eight transactions brought in over $8,400!

The following are some takeaways from this successful case.

Focus on the Experience

Experiential travel is a known trend and something we’ve been pushing with many campaigns. With so many discounts, sales, and specials crowding people’s inboxes, it’s a challenge to stand out and we’ve found that consumers serious about planning a getaway like to learn about more than just the price tag. They want to be transported directly to your destination and get a clear idea of what a stay at your B&B will look/feel/taste like. Of course this must be conveyed in a way that’s easy to digest, which is one of our fortes at White Stone.

Take the Time to Get to Know Your Guests

 This may seem like a no-brainer to hotel owners and innkeepers, as this is second nature to all of you. If you haven’t made it a habit, ask your guests about what attracted them to book with you. Ask them if they’re more likely to book all-inclusive packages or add-on specials. See if they’ve had particularly memorable experiences with other accommodations. Take notes and let your marketing team know!

Saratoga Arms had expressed to us that their guests tend to book packages over specials so we worked with them to create the perfect package for the season.

Create the Perfect Package

This brings us to our next point. Painting a clear picture of the experience is a valuable way to inspire travel and consequently, put heads in beds. If direct bookings are a goal for a particular campaign, why not make it easy for them? Paint the picture and bundle it up so that they can seamlessly secure that dreamy experience you’ve put in front of them.

For this campaign, we promoted a fun “Pick Your Path” Package. This kind of “choose your own adventure” concept is something that is inherently intriguing to travelers. Additionally, the paths to choose from are self-guided options so guests aren’t obligated to a specific itinerary or timeline. This gives them the autonomy to explore on their own, but with some carefully curated guidance and thoughtful details to enjoy like a packed picnic, guidebooks, and a rewarding post-adventure bottle of bubbles and cheese plate. With two nights in a room of their choice and breakfast each morning, booking the entire experience in one click seems too good to be true.

According to ThinkReservations, we can see that the above package (starting at $529) is responsible for $3,248 of the inn’s total revenue to date, which is substantial, but we can’t credit this package alone to the campaign’s high numbers. Of course there were more items for readers to click on like racing season reminders, other current offers, and Mother’s Day gift certificates.

In the end, we believe that this type of package sparks travel inspiration and sets the stage for trip planning. People start to think of the path they’ll pick, the adventure they’ll choose. Furthermore, they can opt into something we’ve designed for them or easily create their own itinerary and ideas based on this concept.

Continue to Grow Your List

With over 13,000 subscribers and an above average open rate, Saratoga Arms is getting their message out to thousands of relevant readers every month, increasing their probability of securing more bookings. It should be noted that Saratoga Arms also has a much larger property than many of our clients, thus more overall bookings and emails collected. What is more important, however, is that their list continues to grow month over month.

Does any part of this campaign resonate with you and your goals? Have you noticed trends with how and what your guests book? Have you asked them about it? Are you thinking about the experience to inspire bookings versus discounts? Can these experiences be packaged up to create a one-click-shop for your subscribers?

Let your White Stone Marketing team know and help us help you create the very best experiences for your guests from the moment they check their inbox to the moment they check out of your B&B.