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Email Marketing

It isn’t Sexy and it works … Increase your bookings with these simple steps

As I write this article I want you to do a bit of research before you read any further.  Go back over the last 2 weeks and look at how many direct enquiries you have had to your business, the number of emails sent back to them and then of course the sales/bookings that generated as a result.

If you closed or converted 90% plus of your enquiries (Well Done), you are not charging enough!!

If you closed or converted around 50% then there is significant room for improvement!

Now what I believe the number most of you will see will be closer to 30% and possibly less…

Leads and enquiries are a critical success factor to any business and just as vital to your industry.  So why do you treat them with such flippancy, not really placing value on them as you should?  If you consider the amount of money you spend every month on marketing and advertising (which is considerable) do you think you are maximising the return from that spend?  Here’s an example.

Imagine you spend $1000 a month on advertising.  That spend generates 3 direct enquiries a day (approx. 90 a month)  which means each lead is costing you $11.00.  Now remember you haven’t got a booking yet!

Assuming the conversion rates to bookings above:

  • 90% means you should receive 81 bookings so each booking costs you $12.34 (you all wish)
  • 50% means you should receive 45 bookings at a cost of $22.22 each (maybe 20% of you)
  • 30%  means you should receive 27 bookings at a cost of $37.04 each (where most of you are)

This is not meant to dishearten, but simply to inspire as there are so many things you can do to increase your conversion rate.  In fact the quickest way to grow your business is to focus more of your effort on the leads you are currently receiving rather than trying to attract a lot more. 

If you assume that an average booking above was for $100.  Then revenues just from your current leads would look like this depending on your conversion rate.

Case 1: $8100                     Case 2: $4500                     Case 3: $2700

The difference in revenue is huge. Now remember that the difference in income is only related to how well you handle the initial enquiry…

Let me ask you this question:  What could you do right now at little or no additional cost to increase your conversion rate of enquiries to bookings?

Here is a small list to consider, and I would be prepared to guarantee if you put these in place into your business you will see bookings and revenues grow accordingly:

  • Reply to all enquiries quickly (straight away if you can as people have probably sent out a number of booking requests)
  • Make sure your email response includes additional information about the property not just rates.  Use images,  links back to the website as well.
  • Update people on upcoming events to get them across the line.
  • If you can – it will increase conversion rate massively, pick up the phone and call them.
  • Schedule a follow up call or email follow up a couple of days after the initial email asking if they are ready to book or what additional questions they may have.
  • Follow Step 5 until they tell you to stop (often can take up to 8 times before people decide)
  • Place contact in your Database whether they book or not
  • Ensure they receive at a minimum a monthly newsletter from you to maintain relationship

What we do know is that a lot of people who do enquire end up doing nothing so the stronger the relationship you develop with them the higher the likelihood of them booking with you in the future.

Now take some action – apply the key points above and monitor the changes.

I hope this has given you some insight into how to improve bookings from the enquiries you currently receive. If it’s more enquiries you need that is a different story,  and one our business can assist you with.

Get your copy of “The Official Internet Marketing Guide for Australian Hotel and Resort Operators” (valued at $697.00) FREE! Click Here and then Simply Enter Your NAME and EMAIL. On receipt of your details we will post a copy to you.

If you would like to know more about the other services we offer, then talk to our team.  We pride ourselves on delivering “Done for You” Hotel and Resort Marketing Solutions that work.

Build Your Database: It is your Guarantee for Future Hotel and Resort Bookings

I see many business owners in the hotel and resort industry and am constantly talking about the importance of their database. Australian marketer, Mal Emery, calls it “the herd”. He says you can always go back to the herd when you need a result. The Tourism and Accommodation Industry is no different. If you have a growing and accurate database of people, you can always return so they buy again and again.

Now this is what I see. I see hotel and resort managers spending considerable money attracting people to their website – yet they are doing nothing to capture their details. Most owners want a quick result (an enquiry or a booking) rather than thinking long term and building a database for the future. What this means is that most resorts see at least 120 people a day visit their website yet only generate 2-3 enquiries via email and a few phone calls.

So what about all the other visitors? Were they just bored and had nothing better to do? Of course not -they were in the market to buy. Interestingly enough, statistics show that only 4-5% of people are hot to buy now, another 8-10% warm and buying soon and the rest just beginning to look. The hot buyers are going to enquire and book right now but the warm and cooler prospects are still formulating, which is where the opportunity lies for all in the industry.

Think about this. If there was a way for a better return from your current marketing spend, wouldn’t that make sense? And you can. In fact, you can capture the details of at least 15% of all website visitors to put them into a marketing system that will convert them over time. On top of 2 or 3 enquiries, you can build a new database of at least 15 people a day. That is an extra 7870 people to market directly to each year, so your herd grows so much more. Combine this with some really clever conversion tools and you will see bookings increase significantly over time.

When you add these contacts to your current enquiries and your current database; your business “No Vacancy” sign will be up more often. This type of marketing technique is not expensive, expands the value of all your marketing dollars and just makes a lot of sense.

If you would like to know more, then talk to the team at Hotel and Resort Marketing Solutions. We pride ourselves on delivering “Done for You” Hotel and Resort Marketing Solutions that work.

Are you doing these 7 Fundamentals in your Hotel and Resort Accommodation Business…

Are you doing these 7 Fundamentals in your Hotel and Resort Accommodation Business…

About 14 years ago I undertook some training as part of a franchisee training programme that focussed on helping business improve their bottom line. Much of that training stays with me today and I apply it regularly into our own Accommodation business here in Rainbow Beach.

So today I thought I would put together what I see as being the 7 things you could right now to improve your business performance without having to spend a cent

We work with many accommodation clients and most of them have at least heard me talk about some of these things however I have never documented them. These key strategies or functions when applied will make a difference. We have tested and measured these in our own business so am confident when you implement them you will see similar results.

We hear so much about online marketing, websites, traffic, Google and so on that we often forget about some of the basic fundamentals that are also critical to our success. It is so easy to get caught up in the hype and day to day functions that we simply forget to do the basics.

Here are 7 key things you can do right now that will make a difference.

1. Handle email enquiries effectively and professionally.

We all spend significant funds to have people visit our website so you need to do this correctly.

– The best way to handle an email enquiry is to pick up the phone and call the person directly. Some times this is not possible, however we have proven in our own business we will increase our booking rate by 53% if we do this. When most people send an email enquiry they are still not sure of what they really want. Often they are unsure of numbers coming, dates, how long etc. By speaking with the person your likely hood of getting the booking is much greater. It is also easier to handle the price objection. Often when we email we give a price, however we could be flexible on it if only given the chance.

– Design a good quality email template with links back to your website and ideally a video. Include images about the resort and the area, including things to do and see and as much information about why people should have a holiday with you. Often people enquire to a number of places so just giving them the basics is often never enough. To do this set up a standard email or email signature within your emailing system

– Respond to emails as quickly as you can. The slower you are to reply the higher the likely hood of your losing the booking.

2. Develop a phone answering script.

Now I hear you all thinking what a lot of rubbish. I can assure you a professional well presented phone manner is very important. Try using this one “ Hello/Hi, Thankyou for calling Noosa Beachside Villas, this is Michelle” Short to the point and now opens the conversation up for the caller. Too Often I hear “Noosa beachside Villas, Michelle speaking”. I am sure you see the difference.

3. Record all bookings on a booking enquiry form

(See link to download off the website) This form needs to include all of the information you need when taking a booking. Developing a booking form when we took over our accommodation business was one of the first things we did. Too often we were not getting the information we needed. It became even more important when I wanted reception staff to collect email addresses. It also made sure we got credit card details for every booking as well as where they found out about us. This simple change meant jobs only had to be done once with next to No errors.

4. An Offer for leaving guests.

When guests are leaving make sure you give them a mini info pack. You decide what you want in it. At a minimum you want to include a Thankyou note as well as an offer for when they return again. Make sure the offer is in off season only, represents real value and make it exclusive only for them.

We find this works really well and we have calls every day coming from past customers using these. When you combine them with regular contact via an email newsletter that reminds them you are still there it works really well.

5. Automated Thankyou letter after the client has returned home

Most booking systems enable you to send automated emails once a client has checked out. Sending an email letter or one in the post thanking someone for staying with you is very powerful. It certainly gets them thinking. In this letter I would point people to some of the review websites like Google or Trip Advisor and ask them for a review. Remember it is another point of contact and one that reinforces the lovely holiday they have just had with you.

6. Keep your website up to date

Now for some of you this is quite difficult as you do not have the ability to edit your site. Either way it is critical that your website information is up to date. Recently I did a survey of 23 resort websites and I found that all but 3 of them had out of date information on them. Your website today is the lifeblood of your business so you need to ensure it is accurate and up to date. I would encourage you to lock away 20 mins a week to ensure this is the case or allocate it to someone you trust.

7. Keep a Smile on your Dial

This is just important as the others if not more so. People when they go away for a weekend or a week are excited when they arrive at their destination. The last thing they want is someone looking at them who is letting their bad day show! (Now I know none of you have done this!) So keep a smile on the dial no matter how difficult it is and ensure the checking in guest is felling comfortable and remains excited.

B2B Mobile / Email Marketing: Yes You Can!

Everyone seems to be talking about the benefits of mobile marketing to consumers, and with good reason. SMS (Short Message Service, commonly referred to as mobile texting) enables you to reach a wide audience in a matter of seconds knowing that most people are likely to respond to your message within an hour of receipt.

But while the primary focus of SMS mobile marketing has been on reaching consumers (B2C), businesses have been missing out on the opportunity to use mobile to market to other businesses (B2B). That’s a problem, because now more than ever professionals are relying on their mobile phones to receive and respond to messages that are of value to them.

The fact is mobile marketing has established itself as a valuable component of successful integrated marketing programs providing another channel to reach both consumer and business audiences. With the rapid growth of the mobile market, it’s time for B2B marketers to consider how to effectively integrate mobile marketing into the mix.

Mobile Use is Growing Rapidly

Because professionals are connected to their mobile devices as a quick response mechanism, they tend to be responsive to B2B mobile marketing messages as well.

Mobile & Email Marketing Working Together

Combining email and SMS is an exceptional marketing strategy due to the high usage of smartphones. Email and mobile marketing used together provide a cost-effective way to send personalized content that subscribers are looking for and that can return successful and measurable campaign results.

With B2B mobile/email marketing you can:

Create a dialogue with your business customers through SMS/email alerts that keep them up-to-date on information important to their jobs. Mobile has become the most personal communication channel available to bring you closer to your target market without interacting face-to-face.

Target quality subscribers. Since mobile/email marketing is permission based, meaning subscribers have to opt in before receiving messages, you’ll be able to reach a targeted audience of interested subscribers who want to hear more about your company and offers.Increase brand awareness and generate additional revenue.

Most people are willing to provide their mobile phone numbers/email address if they can be assured that they’ll only receive messages on topics of interest to them. The same goes for business professionals. If you can demonstrate the benefits of opting in to your mobile/email program, they will be more open to receiving your marketing messages, which can increase brand awareness and start new discussions that can generate new revenue.

Measuring B2B Mobile Success and ROI

We’re still learning about the mobile/email marketing industry and its standards, best practices and overall potential. The question many marketers have is how to track success and return on investment – what are the most meaningful metrics to track and how to report them. Fortunately there are many ways marketers can measure the effectiveness of mobile and email marketing initiatives.

To measure how people interact and engage with your content, you can monitor the same metrics used for email marketing: open and click-through rates, forwarding and sharing. It’s also important to monitor your list growth rate, and track offer redemptions. Using Web analytics, you can monitor Web site traffic driven by mobile/email campaigns. Mobile marketing provides a lot of value by helping people stay up-to-date with the latest news, promotions and offers that benefit them. They’re no longer tied to their desktops.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to create marketing content that can be accessed anywhere and on any device to ensure that your on-the-go audience is receiving your messages.


Make Your Website an Email List Building Machine

Everybody knows one-sided relationships never work. The same is true with websites. If a website is focused entirely upon you, you will lose any visitors that may stumble across it.

 On the other hand, a website done correctly (one that focuses on the visitor) can easily become a lead capturing machine!

 So as you are considering building or redesigning your website think carefully about how to collect people’s details when they visit your site. There are many schools of thought on how this should be done.

Now remember people are visiting your site for a reason and typically want to do something. Give your visitors something to do. Give them something free to download. Let them register for an online competition giveaway (eg Holiday promotion). Ask for their opinion on a blog entry.

Do something, anything, and once the person responds, you “Require” the following information: name, and email. Are they a qualified lead yet, maybe not but over time they may become a great customer through smart email marketing strategy. I’ll discuss auto-responders in my next blog.


You must have a Living, Breathing Customer Database

If you’re like most small business owners, you want to maximize referrals and repeat business so that you don’t have to spend your time chasing down leads and convincing folks that they should do business with you.

But building this type of business takes constant contact with your customers. You see, as the months go by, your past customers just aren’t thinking about you anymore. That’s the cold, hard truth. And no matter how great your service was, your customers are busy living their lives–odds are, they won’t remember you. And they definitely won’t mention your name at the next family picnic when Uncle Jack starts talking about the pains your product or service fixes.

Am I saying that good service won’t help you get a referral here and there? Of course not!

What I am saying is that if you want a strong customer base that is the backbone of your business, you must actively, systematically and methodically BUILD YOUR CUSTOMER BASE.

You Must Have A Living, Breathing Customer Database.

So, what do I mean when I say you need a “living, breathing customer database?”

Well, you need to actively build your customer database—every day, every week, every month! All of your contact, prospect and customer data, order & billing info… everything needs to be entered and stored in the database. You need these people organized into meaningful groups. And you need the flexibility to sort through the database so that on a moment’s notice you can pull up prospects or customers that might bring you more business.

And when you combine a solid customer database with the power of follow-up campaigns (autoresponders), you have the ability to land lots of new business in a short period of time. You can effortlessly run a customer loyalty campaign that keeps your name in front of customers… and keeps repeat business and referrals coming your way.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can easily begin to build a customer database for your business, give me a call or send me an email. It’s actually much simpler than you thinks and requires litle or no effort.