Hotel Housekeeping Tip: Don't Ignore Your Email Database

By Robert King General Manager, Travel & Hospitality, ClickSquared | March 06, 2011

Hospitality marketers are increasingly recognizing the importance of a cross-channel approach to guest communications –– orchestrating an ongoing guest dialogue across direct mail, email, mobile marketing and web. But in today's economy, prioritization of scarce marketing resources continues to be the key challenge. If we can't do everything right away (and all at once) what marketing channel offers the fastest and surest return on incremental marketing investment? Within a cross-channel framework, email is clearly the most effective guest communication tool in the hospitality marketers' toolbox.

Your email marketing database is (or should be) one of your hotel's most valuable assets. And just like maintaining the golf greens, beachfront, and guest rooms, thorough and ongoing maintenance of the marketing database is critical to a hotel's success. Not only does it need to be designed and built correctly, but it needs regular attention to ensure it is capable of supporting the right guest "experience".

In this article, I'll focus on the foundational building blocks of effective email marketing - list building and "housekeeping" maintenance - and how they can have a direct impact on campaign effectiveness.

Email Address Capture

When I'm asked (often) what the number one thing a hospitality organization can do to improve its email marketing effectiveness, the answer is simple – capture email addresses. While this may sound a bit simple, consider that it is not unusual to see hotel guest email capture rates ranging between 20-30%. Capture rates can be particularly low for hotels that have a larger component of travel agent/GDS bookings or substantial group business, where individual guest email addresses are generally not provided to the hotel in the booking process.

But rather than cede these guests to marketing anonymity, hotels need to get more creative in their email capture efforts. The front desk is generally the least disruptive and most successful point in the guest lifecycle to capture the guest's email. Email capture goal setting, reinforced by measurement, incentives and friendly inter-property competition (where applicable), can translate into meaningful improvement in email capture rates. Moreover, your marketing database can be easily be combined with basic look-up and reporting capabilities to equip the front desk team with the tools they need to focus, facilitate and measure email capture performance.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.