Sometimes we look at overall trends or performance to see the big picture. This time, however, we drilled down a bit to look at a specific tactic and find out if it actually works. The focus this week: pre-arrival emails. Many of our clients use them and they’re clearly growing in popularity, but do they actually work?
The first hurdle to answering this question is measuring success: what defines whether a campaign is “working” or not? In the case of pre-arrivals (emails sent to a soon-to-be-arriving guest within roughly 3-14 days of their arrival), the goals vary quite differently. Some are focused on upselling to drive incremental sales, others provide tips and information to make a guest’s experience as smooth as possible.
So instead of looking at revenue, we looked solely at how well pre-arrivals move these guests from Point A (their email inbox) to Point B (a resort’s website). We took the performance for all our clients who used an automated pre-arrival message during the 2011-12 season and here’s what we found:
The difference is obvious, but let’s look at little closer at these numbers. The newsletters in our sample averaged a little under 20% open rates and about 11% click rates. Combined, for every 100 people who received an email, 2 of them clicked through.
For pre-arrivals, open rates were just over 60% and clicks a hair shy of 45%. Combined, for every 100 people who received these emails, 27 of them clicked on a link: 13.5x more than a typical newsletter.
What This Means
Evaluated just on the merits of getting guests from Point A to Point B, pre-arrival emails accomplish this task extremely efficiently. If you have information – sales or otherwise – that you want a guest to see before they arrive, a well-timed pre-arrival email appears to be a very smart solution.
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