Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Is that it? After all the effort you put into attracting guests to your hotel for their first visit, don’t stop there. The same effort you put into acquiring guests needs to be applied toward repeat bookings. By using an automated email platform as part of your property management system, post-stay emails are easily scheduled and customized. The best part? Once you’ve designed your emails and set up triggers, the rest of the work is done for you. If that sounds impersonal to you, don’t worry because the opposite is true through the power of guest data. So keep reading! We’ve outlined the essential post-stay emails your hotel needs to use now, what to say, and when to send them—so you can nurture return visits while focusing on the hotel guests in front of you.
The Why of Post-Stay Emails
Simply put, post-stay emails are important because they drive repeat bookings through building loyalty, boosting advocacy, developing customer retention, and maintaining relevance. The cost of acquisition on average is as high as 25% of your total booking cost, while repeat bookings are around five times less—it’s very much worth the effort.
Post-Stay Email Essentials
Hotel post-stay emails must be done tactically to be effective and should be:
- On brand: Colors, formatting, font, and images should be consistent with your website and other marketing materials. The design uniformity renders a sense of cohesion and trustworthiness.
- Valuable: Emails must be useful to your guests right from the get-go. Emails that are too heavy-handed in their marketing message without delivering anything appealing will result in low open rates and high email unsubscribes.
- Relevant to guests: Ensure each email is relevant to guests. What’s relevant and valuable to one guest may not be to another. Use guest and reservation data to deliver travel information and hotel deals that appeal to your hotel’s specific guest type.
- Timely: Emails should be sent at a cadence that makes sense to your guests based on when they stayed and when they may like to travel again. As they say, timing is everything!
Essential Post-Stay Emails
At their very essence, the purpose of post-stay emails is to thank guests for their patronage, ask them for feedback, and reward them for their loyalty. Let’s break it down even further into the specific emails your hotel should send post-stay.
Post-Stay Thank You Email
As soon as your guests check out, trigger an email to thank them for their stay. Along with sincere thanks and hopes that they enjoyed their stay, ask for feedback. Do not ask for a review at this time but rather ensure their stay was up to standard and free from issues. This gives you the opportunity to right any wrongs before they write a public review. A sincere apology, a discount on a future stay, or a rebate on their past stay can go a long way and dampen any negative experiences. Use the hotel manager’s signature and return email address so communication goes straight to the top! This reassures the guests that any concerns will be addressed appropriately and gives the manager deeper insight into front-facing operations.
Thank you recap:
- Thank the guest for choosing your hotel
- Tell them you hope they enjoyed their stay
- Invite them to email the manager personally with any concerns or comments about their stay
- Signature and return email from the hotel manager
Cadence: Immediately or up to one day after check-out.
Post-Stay Feedback Email
Asking for feedback is essential. Not only do reviews give you specific details on how to improve and what you’re doing right, but 96% of travelers read reviews before they book, making them an essential part of your marketing plan. Plus, OTAs consider review frequency in their rankings. Three days to a week after your thank you email, send an automated post-stay email requesting an official review if they’ve enjoyed their stay. This will allow you enough time to have received and managed any complaints. Include links to third-party review sites—such as Google, Tripadvisor, and Facebook—to make it easy for guests to submit a review. Automated reputation management platforms like Revinate integrate with your PMS to help you manage your online reputation and automatically post positive feedback to review websites.
- Thank the guest again for staying
- Politely ask them to submit a review if they enjoyed their stay
- Invite them to email the manager if they have any concerns or complaints about their stay so that you can right any wrongs
- Respond to all online reviews
Cadence: Three days to a week after check-out.
Post-stay Re-engagement or Winback Email
The purpose of winback and engagement emails is to nurture guest relationships over time. To make these emails effective, they must be relevant and provide value to your guests. Unfortunately, what is valuable for one guest may not be valuable or relevant to another. Fortunately, guest segmentation can help you personalize your emails with content that will appeal to your different types of guests by gathering guest data.
For example, if one segment comprises families with children, emails with helpful information about upcoming family events and activities will be helpful, along with value-add or discount offers geared toward that audience. This same email, however, will not generally be of interest to guests who traveled in the past on a romantic getaway; instead, send this group an email with a top 10 of most romantic activities in your region, for example. When it comes to segmented marketing campaigns, CRM software is invaluable and can be integrated with your PMS for highly targeted communications triggered by live reservation data.
- Segment your guests into groups of similar interests
- Send relevant information that provides interest and value based on your guest segments
- Send relevant offers to your segments, either value-adds or discount offers
- Pro-tip: don’t make every email a marketing email with an offer. Providing value for the sake of providing value helps nurture relationships and boosts loyalty…as well as reciprocity down the line, leading to repeat bookings.
Cadence: While there’s no hard and fast rule as to when to send these emails, once a month keeps your hotel top of mind. Consider sending offers around relevant life events for your segments, for example, Valentine’s Day Getaway offers will suit your romantic travelers, while spring break family stay-and-play offers will appeal to, you guessed it, families!
Special Occasion Emails
Based on guest data, set up automated emails to celebrate special occasions for your guests, such as birthdays and anniversaries of their first stay. Offer exclusive rewards to apply to their next stay. Maybe it’s a booking discount, or consider special value-adds such as a bottle of wine or in-room movie night with popcorn.
Everyone loves how an exclusive offer makes them feel valued and special. For repeat guests who have stayed two or more times, set up a VIP email that rewards their loyalty with discounts and value-adds. Or level up with a loyalty program with its own email flow.
- Celebrate your guests’ special occasions based on your collected data
- Provide value-adds or exclusive offers ‘just for them’ to facilitate loyalty
- Consider setting up a loyalty program
Cadence: Special occasion emails are rare and exclusive. Send these once a year based on specific events, and up to four times a year (quarterly).
Streamline Your Hotel’s Post-Stay Emails
The key to winning at post-stay emails is automation. PMS like WebRezPro include automated guest email templates, allowing you to create customizable templates and set triggers based on reservation data. Many CRM and guest engagement platforms integrate with property management systems to trigger highly targeted email campaigns based on reservation data and rich customer profiles, and provide powerful guest data collection and analysis tools.
Once set up, monitor your emails and make adjustments as needed.
- Low email open rate: try a different subject line
- Low click rate: create a stronger call to action
- Low conversions: the offer isn’t compelling enough or isn’t reaching the right audience; reassess and try a different offer
The post-stay component of the customer lifecycle is less about sales and more about nurturing relationships. Like a friendship, it’s important to stay in touch, give altruistically, and develop sincere connections. It’s no different with your guests, whether that’s in person or by email. The beauty of it all is that hotel technology is here to help you nurture guest relationships in a personalized and sincere way, even when it’s automated!
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