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How to use marketing automation in the hospitality industry

Ready to revolutionize your hospitality business? Dive into our blog and learn how marketing automation can personalize your guest journeys, streamline operations, and enhance brand loyalty for a truly exceptional experience.
A person in the hospitality industry uses marketing automation to send booking confirmation emails for their hotel cafe.

The hospitality industry revolves around delivering exceptional guest experiences. Every interaction with a potential guest, from their initial website visit to their visit and beyond, shapes their perception of your brand.

The hospitality landscape is fiercely competitive, with a vast array of choices. To stand out, you need a personalized and efficient approach.

This is where marketing automation comes in. By automating repetitive tasks and leveraging guest data, marketing automation empowers you to personalize the journeys streamline operations, and ultimately boost your bottom line.

The advantages of marketing automation in hospitality

Let’s delve into the key advantages of using marketing automation in your hospitality marketing:

  • Personalized guest experiences: With marketing automation, you can customize your communication to your guests based on their preferences, booking history, and past interactions. You can send automated emails to welcome new guests, upsell to your customers, or send special offers for birthdays or anniversaries.
  • Increased efficiency: By automating repetitive tasks such as sending follow-up emails, SMS messages, or ad retargeting, you can free your team’s time and resources, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives.
  • Data-driven marketing: You can gather valuable insights into guest behavior and preferences using a marketing automation platform. It allows you to track guest interactions, identify trends, personalize campaigns further, and optimize your marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Improved revenue generation: Targeted marketing campaigns with relevant offers can significantly boost conversions and direct bookings. You can automate abandoned cart emails to capture lost sales and upsell additional services or packages.
  • Enhanced guest engagement: You can stay connected with guests throughout their journey. Automated pre-visit emails provide important information and build excitement, while post-visit feedback requests help you continually improve the guest experience.

By embracing marketing automation, you can transform your guest interactions, foster loyalty, and elevate your brand within the competitive hospitality industry. In the following sections, we’ll explore specific ways to leverage marketing automation for different stages of the guest journey.

How to use marketing automation in the hospitality industry

Now that you’ve seen the potential of marketing automation for your hospitality business, it’s time to dive into practical applications. Here’s how you can leverage this powerful tool throughout the guest journey:

Inspire bookings

In the early stages of the guest journey, potential customers are looking for inspiration to decide on their next move. Marketing automation plays an essential role in sparking their interest by showcasing alluring content, personalized to every prospect. 

Email and SMS automation collaborate to drive bookings. Our tools facilitate sending the appropriate message at the right time through the right channel. Let’s take a closer look at how to inspire bookings:

Use your customer data

Capitalize on customer data to develop hyper-targeted campaigns that truly connect with each guest. You can use eRFM dashboards gives you a comprehensive understanding of your audience. This empowers you to build targeted segments and design personalized campaigns that cater to your guests’ desires.

For instance, if your hospitality business includes a luxury spa, analyze customer data to identify guests who have shown interest in spa services during previous visits or online interactions. Tailor your campaigns to target this segment with enticing spa package deals or limited-time discount offers. 

Similarly, if your property hosts a renowned gourmet restaurant, identify food enthusiasts among your guests and present them with exclusive dining experiences or promotions.

By leveraging customer data and offering personalized hospitality experiences, you’ll drive higher conversion rates, encourage bookings, and foster lasting relationships with your guests.

Geo-targeting and personalization

With Dotdigital, you can segment your audience based on their location. Customize email and SMS content based on geographic preferences to offer them deals on local activities.

Take your personalization a step further by incorporating product recommendations that align with your guests’ preferences and interests. You can suggest relevant excursion packages, or complementary services to create a holistic and memorable guest experience. 

By prioritizing geo-targeting and personalized recommendations, you will foster increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, drive more business.

Cross-channel messaging

As a hospitality business, you can use both email and SMS to personalize customer journeys and ensure that your messages are timely, effective, and capable of prompting action from potential guests. 

For instance, if you own a beachfront resort, you can leverage cross-channel messaging to target potential customers during peak travel seasons. Use a series of emails to showcase your resort’s unique features such as the stunning ocean views, relaxing pool area, or beachside dining options.

At the same time, you can run SMS campaigns to share time-sensitive promotions or last-minute booking incentives to attract customers to your property for their upcoming vacation.

With Dotdigital’s seamless email and SMS integration, your hospitality business can effectively engage your audience and inspire them to not only make a reservation but also create unforgettable memories at your establishment.

Incomplete booking follow-ups

Remember to follow up with guests who haven’t completed their booking process by setting up automated emails or SMS messages. This can help encourage them to finish booking and potentially recoup lost revenue for your hospitality business.

For instance, if a guest started booking a stay at your boutique hotel but didn’t complete the process, you can send them a personalized follow-up email highlighting the room they selected, the attractive amenities, and a gentle reminder of the unique experiences your establishment offers. 

You should also consider offering a limited-time incentive, such as a discounted rate or a complimentary room upgrade, to motivate the guest to complete their booking.

Enhance pre-arrival experience

After a guest books their visit, marketing automation can help you build excitement and anticipation by offering value-added services and experiences that cater to each guest’s preferences. First impressions matter, so kick off your guests’ experience with a series of automated emails packed with enticing information. 

Personalized promotions and deals

Segment your audience and serve up personalized promotions tailored to their preferences. For instance, when a guest is celebrating their birthday at your establishment, go the extra mile to make them feel valued and appreciated.

Surprise your birthday guests with a personalized coupon, granting them a complimentary service or an exclusive discount on amenities such as a spa treatment, a meal at one of your restaurants, or a special in-room treat. 

By taking the time to recognize and celebrate your guests’ milestones, you’ll create lasting memories, foster brand loyalty, and enhance their overall experience at your business.

Triggered campaigns

Marketing automation excels at transforming customer actions into conversions through its ability to analyze and respond to user behaviors in real time. Implement automation to display tours or activities based on a guest’s location or upgrade a room for free to celebrate a guest’s anniversary. 

This will be based on their booking details and preferences. By engaging with potential guests during moments of high intent, you can foster favorable decisions and drive conversions effectively

Dynamic content 

You can showcase nearby attractions using dynamic content based on the guests’ interests and preferences.

For instance, if your hotel is located in a bustling city, use dynamic content to highlight popular tourist attractions, shopping districts, or must-visit dining experiences in the area, curated specifically for the recipient. 

Alternatively, if your venue is a serene countryside retreat, present recommendations for nearby picturesque hikes, wine-tasting tours, or relaxing local experiences.

You can create irresistible hospitality emails effortlessly with our intuitive email builder. Use dynamic content blocks to turn every email into a unique guest experience. 

By using marketing automation to enhance the pre-arrival experience, you can build anticipation for their visit and set the stage for an unforgettable visit to your hospitality venue.

Elevate the customer experience

When you have a guest in your care, marketing automation can be your secret weapon to deliver seamless, personalized experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Personalized upsell opportunities

By tapping into guest data, you can introduce dynamic pop-ups during the booking process, recommending room upgrades or extra services tailored to their interests. This strategic approach results in customized upsell opportunities that enhance and elevate their visit.

Personalized welcome messages

Send a friendly email or SMS upon check-in to welcome the guest, providing essential information about your amenities, on-site services, and the best ways to contact the hotel staff.

By leveraging marketing automation during your guests’ on-site experience, you can ensure their visit is comfortable, engaging, and unforgettable—leading to loyal customers and increased positive reviews.

Strengthen post-stay relationships

Nurture long-lasting relationships with your guests even after their visit by using marketing automation to maintain contact and encourage future bookings. Once the visit is over, don’t let the conversation end. Show your appreciation and maintain a stellar reputation for your hospitality business by following these steps:

Thank you emails and online reviews

Send automated thank you emails to show your appreciation and invite guests to share their positive experiences through online reviews. This helps cultivate a strong online reputation, bringing more prospects to your property.

Remarketing and loyalty

Leverage data from your guests’ visits to create targeted email campaigns that feature reasons to return, such as upcoming events, special promotions, or a loyalty program that rewards repeat guests.

Lifecycle marketing

Continue engaging with guests long after their visit by sending personalized email campaigns centered around important milestones such as anniversaries, birthdays, or during peak travel times.

By focusing on post-visit communication, you not only show guests your appreciation for their visit but also keep your hospitality business top of mind for their future travel needs.

Elevating hospitality through marketing automation

Marketing automation is a highly effective tool that can transform the way your hospitality business interacts with and keeps guests. This technique allows you to personalize experiences and maintain consistent communication throughout the entire guest journey, resulting in unforgettable guest experiences that foster loyalty and boost revenue.

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