Getting the Most Out of Email Marketing for Destination Resorts & Clubs
Amidst today’s flurry of marketing innovations, it can be easy to get caught up in a storm of things like the newest social media craze or the recent forays into the metaverse. But while staying on top of industry trends is important, it’s equally as crucial that we don’t let them distract us from tried-and-true strategies. Namely, email marketing.
The phrase “an oldie but a goodie” comes to mind when talking about email marketing. It’s been around for decades but still remains one of the most powerful and effective communication tools around. With an average ROI of $36 for every dollar spent, email boasts a higher ROI than any other channel.
Destination resorts and clubs are in a particularly great position to benefit from email marketing. Why? Because email is already an expected part of your guests’ experience (think routine messages such as confirmation emails). The opportunity to use email to exponentially grow your brand is there. You just have to take the plunge and give it the dedication it needs.
Ready to optimize your email marketing strategy? Here are 6 essential tips to know.
1. Keep Your Mailing List in Tip-Top Shape
First up, let’s talk about your email mailing list. Contrary to popular belief, having an unending list of subscribers isn’t nearly as valuable as having a list of engaged subscribers. Quality over quantity is the name of the game. When your mailing list is full of people who want to hear from you, your marketing efforts become much more effective.
So, how do you build a quality mailing list? It starts at the collection. You don’t want to be that brand that has people wondering in annoyance how you got their email. This is why it’s so important that your subscribers actively opt-in to your emails.
Create easy and secure sign-up forms that leave no room for confusion. Be clear about the incentives of being on the mailing list and let them know exactly what they’re signing up for, whether it's special offers or event news. You can even have them mark what kind of emails they’re interested in — a tactic that also helps with segmentation (More on that in a bit!).
Beyond collection, you’ll want to regularly maintain your lists. Cleaning your data — AKA fixing or removing emails that are duplicates, incomplete, inaccurate, expired, etc. — is crucial. Giving your subscribers the option to unsubscribe or manage their email preferences is another way to ensure that your list maintains its quality.
Quick Fact: Many of these best practices are in line with anti-spam laws that were designed to protect consumers from unsolicited or unwanted emails. If the legalities of email marketing make you a bit nervous, you can always tap into the expertise of our email marketing masters at PH3!
2. The Power of Audience Segmentation
As your email list grows, chances are not every subscriber will want the same messages all the time. This is where segmentation can help. With segmentation, you divide your audience into groups based on various shared characteristics. You can then tailor your email content to each segment, boosting the likelihood that everyone gets messages they find relevant and engaging.
Like we mentioned above, one easy way to segment your audience is based on the kinds of emails they’ve signed up for. Subscribers that only expressed interest in your world-class spa, for example, would get emails that are different from those who wanted to be kept in the loop about the mountain resort’s ski programs.
But the possibilities don’t stop there. There are countless other ways you can segment your audience, such as by demographics, purchasing habits, sales funnel stage, or online behavior. Pick out guests who haven’t stayed at your resort in over a year as a potential segment for a targeted email campaign. Tag subscribers who live nearby as a segment to promote staycations or day club activities to.
Breaking down your audience like this is all about finding and leveraging characteristics that can inform the design of your emails and make them more targeted and relevant. In other words, effective segmentation lays the foundation for another essential strategy — personalization.
3. Serve Up Data-Driven Personalization
Let’s face it. In this day and age, personalization is no longer a nice to have. It’s an expected part of our everyday experiences, from our social media feeds and product recommendations. One report found that more than half (63%) of consumers expect personalization as a standard of service, with various forms of non-personalized messaging deemed as “very frustrating.”
Luxury consumers are no exception. The top-tier individualized guest service that so many destination resorts and clubs pride themselves on needs to also extend to their email marketing efforts.
This means going beyond simply including subscribers’ names in the greeting. Show them that you value them as an individual by hyper-personalizing their emails in a way that appeals to their unique tastes, habits, and interests.
For instance, if you know it’s currently winter where a subscriber is, you could personalize the message to be about escaping the cold with a beachfront getaway. On the flip side,for your loyal guests with no children, a promotional email about a kid-friendly family vacation is probably not the most enticing offer.
Knowing and catering to these little details make your emails relevant enough to open and engage with. While it may seem time-consuming and complex, it’s actually very doable with the right team by your side. Work with us and it won’t just be your guests enjoying personalized experiences — you’ll be reaping the rewards of custom-tailored marketing solutions.
4. Get Interactive With It
Static emails are sooo yesterday. Gone are the days when the only goal was getting your emails opened. Campaigns that also prompt interaction and engagement will be the ones that rise above the rest.
Part of this development has been out of necessity. In response to privacy concerns, Apple’s 2021 iOS 15 update made it so that the Mail app no longer shares with senders whether an email has been opened. This promptly accelerated the growing importance of clicks, making interactivity and engagement a central focus when it comes to email strategy.
So, what does this look like in practice? For one, clear call-to-actions (CTAs) that are impossible to miss are essential. Try having recipients visit a unique landing page to get the full list of recommended dining options for their upcoming trip to a tropical hideaway. Consider prompting them to lock in a limited-time stay & play golf package with a click of a button.
On top of having strong CTAs, you can also add dynamic elements that encourage interaction, such as:
- Surveys, polls, and quizzes that they can respond to right in the email
- Interactive photo carousels and rollover images
- Embedded videos
By building interactivity into the design of your emails, you’ll not only boost your clicks but emphasize to your subscribers that your emails are relevant, engaging, and worth paying attention to.
5. Embrace the Wave of Automation
If you’re not already leveraging automation with your emails, it’s time to get on board. Not only does it save you so much time and effort but it also boosts the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
Automated emails are the ones sent according to certain triggers linked to specific actions. It’s the timely reminder to book that’s sent when a customer abandons their inquiry or the extend-your-stay offer that’s delivered a few days before a guest is set to check out.
Being linked to subscriber actions, automated emails allow for more frequent and meaningful touchpoints. They let your emails reach recipients in a highly personalized and relevant manner while allowing you to strategically design experience paths that lead to results like a purchase or a review.
While email automation is significantly more efficient than manually crafting every email campaign, the automations you have in place still need to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they’re working well. Don’t have enough bandwidth to manage all the technicalities of automated emails? We’ve got you covered.
6. Get Comfortable with Testing
Last but not least, you’ve gotta test, test, test. Don’t run on assumptions. Let your audience’s actions show you what works. Zero in on what kinds of emails resonate best with them by testing different styles of emails and letting the results inform your strategy moving forward.
You can easily find out what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to your email marketing by employing A/B testing. Known also as split testing, A/B testing involves sending two groups of recipients the same overall content but presented in two different ways.
You can test countless variations of subject lines, layouts, images, language, send times, etc. to discover the best combination for your goals. While you’ll want to be careful not to go overboard (test too many variables and it can be difficult to make clear conclusions), testing regularly is the secret sauce to creating campaigns that evolve with your audience and produce results.
Making Email Marketing a Breeze for Destination Resorts & Clubs
At PH3 Agency + Brewery, we know all about what it takes to make your marketing efforts a success. We've seen it in the work that we do with clients like Dorado Beach Resort & Club and Windsor Properties & Club, making us well-equipped to guide destination resorts & clubs like yours towards long-term growth through effective email marketing and more.
Ready to partner with an agency that knows your industry in and out? Send us a message today.