What's An Email Conversion? (It's Not A Dumb Question)

Most of us in hotel marketing talk about email conversions with the assumption that we all mean the same thing.

Technically, an email conversion is a desired action, such as a click-thru to a landing page. This can be called a "micro-conversion," compared to the conversion that occurs on the landing page.

Calculating your hotel email marketing conversion rate

Let's say we define a conversion as a click-through to a landing page.

To calculate your email conversion rate, divide the number of click-throughs by the total number of successfully delivered emails and then multiply that figure by 100.

#of completed actions / #of successfully delivered emails x 100 = email conversion rate

Benchmarking your hotel email marketing metrics

Conversion rate is one of many email marketing metrics that help hotel marketers measure the success of their email campaigns

Email marketing metrics vary by industry. They also vary depending on whom you ask. So beware of being neurotic about industry benchmarks. Look instead for trends in your own metrics that show improvement over time.

RATES:OPENCLICK-THRUUNSUBBOUNCESPAM
Campaign Monitor16.62%12.56%0.16%0.93%0.00%
Constant Contact15.77%7.79%0.03%8.09%-
MailerLite30.69%7.03%0.26%0.71%

DMA (travel as whole)2.4%

Hotel email marketing metrics also vary by type of email. Revinate came up with the following in its benchmarking report:

 OPENCLICK-THRU  
CONFIRMATION70%17%
WELCOME50%13%
AVG ONE-TIME15.6%
PRE-ARRIVAL59.2%17.4%

Avoid Conversion Confusion

Chad White describes "conversion confusion" as the fuzzy thinking that occurs when hotel marketers focus too much on email conversions instead of larger campaign goals. Great click-thru rates have no value if no one buys the product.

Email campaign metrics can evaluate campaign health. But hotel and guest data, including booking behaviors, are needed to evaluate campaign success. This is where a robust integration between your email software and your PMS is important. You need the right data to gain the right business-centric insights.

Email Metrics Matrix
Source: Chad White, Marketing Land

Focus on conversions that count

While email metrics are important, the big picture – revenue – is more important. Ultimately, the conversions that bring bookings, room upgrades, and up-sells are more meaningful than email conversions such as click-throughs.

Yes, revenue is dependent on maintaining a good open-rate and click-through rate. But luxury hotel marketers have to keep their eyes on the bottomline.

If your landing page doesn't do a good job of selling the people who click through to it, your email campaign efforts will have been wasted. Worse, irrelevant landing pages will fatigue your list and make future marketing more difficult.

Focus on long-term not short-term results

Luxury hoteliers sometimes make the mistake of behaving like retailers in their email campaigns. Too much emphasis on offers and promotional email campaigns erodes brand integrity and trust.

Luxury hotel marketers should think of emails as a dialogue with their guests. It is part of the relationship. If a relationship becomes transactional in nature, it becomes more like a product that can be easily replaced. The strength of relationships is that they are not easily supplanted.

Hoteliers need to pour more love and care into their emails. Stop trying to drive need period offers to your entire database. If, for example, you need bookings for August, use your PMS system to see what guests stayed with you during August in the past. You can then send a special invite to make a return visit – and your offer is suddenly elevated to a benefit.

This is important because wealthy travelers are not motivated by price. Discounts don't cut it and ultimately damage your brand and your profitability. Instead, look for creative ways to be considerate toward your guests in ways that matter to them.

Luxury guests are willing to pay much more for significantly improved services. In particular, they hate the standard checkin and checkout process, which requires them to wait and waste time.

Brand Stampede
June 27, 2019

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