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A small subject line tweak that worked in 2012 no longer makes a difference in 2016.

Back in 2012 we did an extremely simple, but intriguing, analysis. Simply put, does putting the name of your hotel or resort in the subject line of a marketing email increase the likelihood of someone opening that message? Four years ago the difference between the two was 10%, but what about now? Here’s what we found.

The Goods
To find our answer we used the same window (Nov 1 – Mar 31) and again only included hotels and resorts that sent at least 50,000 emails either with or without putting their name in the subject line. Here’s how it looked in 2012.

And here’s how it looks now.


Hotel and resort subject lines that included their name in the subject line saw an open rate of 20.16% compared to 19.99% for those that did not. The difference in 2012 was 1.89 percentage points or 10.4%. This time around the difference was just 0.17 percentage points or 0.9%.

What This Means
If you’ve read our posts for a while you know that repeating past analyses with current data is something do regularly. The results above are exactly why we do so. Between changes in technology, marketing channels, best practices, and the strategies behind the scenes, marketing that worked this year may not work a few years down the road.

That seems to be the case here as well. Back in 2012 the winner was clear in favor of putting your brand name in the subject line. Now, for whatever reason, it makes almost no difference at all. That said, remember that these are averages which means that even though the macro view shows no difference, using your name in subjects may very well work for your hotel or resort.

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