Once a reservation is completed, it’s tempting to just sit back and wait for your guests to check in. But failing to communicate with your guests before their arrival misses an opportunity to create a sense of anticipation, build excitement, and provide helpful information that guests need before they arrive at your hotel or resort.
Indeed, research by Oaky shows that sending enticing pre-arrival emails can drive incremental revenue with targeted offers sent before arrival, boosting upselling conversion rates by 8.23 per cent.
First, ensure your reservation confirmation email is welcoming, detailed and informative. Don’t rely on your website’s “Booking Confirmed” message or for the OTA to be in touch. Your guests expect a booking confirmation to be emailed to them, providing peace of mind and assurance that you have received their reservation.
This initial email provides a booking summary, which will be helpful during check-in or at airport immigration if asked where they are staying. And you’ll want to outline your hotel and resort policy.
While this all sounds relatively dry, remember that this is your first touchpoint in your guest messaging process, so try to make it attractive and enjoyable as possible.
Your subsequent communication with them is your pre-arrival email, which is about building relationships and getting them excited about their stay with you.
This is your opportunity to share information about your property and the local area and discover their preferences with pre-arrival surveys. Knowing what your guests are most interested in will make it easier to upsell and cross-sell, and your guests will be able to customise their stay pre-arrival, and you can have everything ready when they check-in.
There are several vital elements that hotels and resorts should include in pre-arrival emails to enhance their guests’ experience. These elements create a sense of anticipation, build excitement, and provide helpful information guests need before arriving at the hotel or resort.
Below are some examples of what hotels and resorts should include in their pre-arrival emails:
First, a warm welcome message that thanks the guest for choosing the hotel or resort is a great way to start a pre-arrival email. This message sets the tone for the rest of the email and can make the guest feel valued and appreciated. It could be something like:
“Dear [Guest Name], we are thrilled that you have chosen to stay with us at [Hotel/Resort Name]. We are excited to welcome you to our property and hope that you have a wonderful stay with us.”
Secondly, it is essential to include again all the details of the reservation, including the dates of the stay, room/unit type, number of guests, and any special requests made by the guest. This information is essential for the guest to confirm that the reservation is accurate and meets their expectations. For example:
“Your reservation is confirmed for [Check-in Date] to [Check-out Date], and you have reserved a [Room Type] for [Number of Guests]. We have also noted your special requests for [Special Request].”
Providing details on check-in time, location, and procedure is also crucial. This information helps guests plan their arrival and avoid any confusion or delays. It is essential to ensure guests know what to expect when they arrive. You can include information such as:
“Check-in time is at 3:00 pm, and our front desk is located in the main lobby. Please be prepared to provide a valid ID and credit card for incidentals upon check-in. We also offer a complimentary luggage storage service should you need it.”
Guests want to know what to expect when they arrive at the hotel or resort. Information on hotel amenities, facilities, and services can help guests plan their stay and take advantage of all the hotel offers. You can mention features like:
“Our resort features a state-of-the-art fitness center, a full-service spa, and an on-site restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We also offer complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property and a 24-hour front desk staff ready to assist you with any needs you may have.”
Including information on nearby attractions, events, and activities can help guests plan their itinerary and make the most of their stay. In addition, this information can help guests experience the destination fully. For instance:
“Our hotel is located just a few blocks from the city’s best shopping and dining districts. We are also conveniently located near several museums and cultural attractions. Additionally, our concierge team can assist you in booking tours or reservations at any of the city’s popular destinations.”
Finally, it is essential to provide guests with contact information should they have any questions or concerns before their arrival. This information can help guests feel more at ease and confident in their decision to stay at the hotel or resort. You can provide contact details such as:
“If you have any questions or concerns before your arrival, please do not hesitate to contact our front desk team at [Hotel/Resort Phone Number] or email us at [Hotel/Resort Email Address]. We are happy to assist you with any needs you may have.”
Top tips for writing pre-arrival emails:
- Create captivating subject lines that entice guests to open your email. Consider using tactics such as scarcity, urgency, personalisation, brevity (up to 50 characters), and creativity to make your subject lines stand out.
- Personalise your messages to build a stronger relationship with your guests. Customise your subject line and include details such as the guest’s name, stay dates, special requests, and offers to make your message feel more personal.
- Use an attractive design that is easy to read and visually appealing. Incorporate different font sizes, bold text, and relevant images to enhance readability and provide a good user experience.
- Ensure brand consistency by using your resort’s logo, colour scheme, fonts, and signature design elements in all your pre-arrival emails.
- Let guests customise their stay by offering them extras based on their interests. Use guest data to segment travellers and send them a smaller yet more targeted set of deals to choose from.
- Automate your pre-arrival email outreach to save time and offer guests a higher level of customisation.
- Send your emails at the right moment of the guest’s journey to maximise conversion rates. Oaky has found that sending the first message twelve days before check-in results in the highest CTR of 48 per cent and a conversion rate of 10.6 per cent. Compared to other days, this is nearly double. Send one follow-up message nine or ten days out to give guests another chance to explore your deals. The time of day you send your message is also important. Oaky found that emails sent between 12 pm and 2 pm or at 6 pm have conversion rates between 44 per cent and 53 per cent.
- Use your guest’s language to make it easier for them to engage with your pre-arrival emails, especially if you welcome international travellers.
Pre-arrival emails are an excellent opportunity for hotels and resorts to create a positive first impression and set the stage for a memorable stay. By including the above elements and tips, you can give guests the information and reassurance they need to feel confident and excited about their upcoming visit. Additionally, sending enticing pre-arrival emails can drive incremental revenue and improve the overall guest experience.
If you need assistance writing your booking confirmation and pre-arrival emails, the IHS Marketing team can help. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your communication strategy.
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