How often should I run promotions?

Before we answer this often-asked question, you should know that you can choose to send as many or as few promotions as you want with Guestily.com.

You may only have a need to send one promotion in a year and that is absolutely fine – you only pay us when you actually send a promotion and frequency and timing is absolutely up to you.

So, this article provides general advice you can take into account in deciding what program of promotion is going to suit you and your property.

The Short Answer

The short answer to this question for most stand-alone vacation rentals and boutique accommodation properties (B&Bs, cottages, cabins etc.) is 3-4 promotions a year.

Many properties choose to run their promotions based on the four seasons or for special seasons that apply to their unique property style or location. Another one or two promotions might be useful for special circumstances (for example, to fill a last minute significant cancellation).

The Longer Answer

Of course, properties are not all the same and owners have different needs and goals.

If you’d like to work through the reasons behind the recommendation in our short answer above and perhaps identify how your needs might be different, read on....

How frequently you should send promotions to your guest base depends on your answers to two key questions.

1. What lifecycle is your property in?

At Guestily we have learned over the years that the promotional program for a property is closely tied to its 'lifecycle'. To learn about Guestily’s accommodation lifecycle definition, read this article.

Guestily's ‘property lifecycle’ refer to how long your property has been established: New, Emerging or Established are the three key lifecycles, along with special lifecycle stages for properties experiencing Refurbish, Relaunch, Re-branding and Recovering and Preparing for Sale.

  • New properties with small list of relatively recent guests will not require or appreciate high frequency contact. Guideline: 3-4 times a year, plus any special requirement;
     
  • Emerging and Established properties can afford to run promotions somewhat more regularly than new properties. Guideline: 4-6 times a year (4 for maintenance);
     
  • Refurbished, Relaunch, Re-branding and Recovering can afford to run promotions still more frequently and/or over a shorter timeframe to build awareness of their changes. Guideline: 4-7 promotions over a shorter timeframe leading up to and through a re-launch period. Then change to an Emerging or Established pattern, as appropriate.

2. What are your goals in running promotions?

Your own goals might modify the above recommendations.

If your goal is to stay ‘top of mind’ for your guest base, 3-4 times a year based on seasons is sufficient for many properties, but with the possibility for one or two more promotions should special needs arise (slow bookings, last-minute significant cancellation you really need to fill, etc).

On the other hand, if you have a goal to lift a particular metric – for example, because you are planning to sell your property – you may have a need for greater frequency or a shorter time between promotions. For example, an established property that might normally run 4 ‘repeat guest’ promotions a year might run 2-4 promotions in the lead up to a sale to lift sale-relevant metrics such as occupancy.

Some properties have a very narrow season (for example, a ski property) and they will need to focus promotions on generating advanced bookings over a shorter period in the lead-up to a peak season.

Power promoters secret

With any promotion you send, only a certain percentage of recipients will focus on and respond to that particular offer.

Your offer may simply not be relevant to them at the time you send it (but they may be interested next time).

On the other hand, your offer may just have arrived at a busy time for them (for example, work or family pressures).

Here’s the tip: For subscribers who were just too busy to open or read your first promotion, repeating the offer shortly after the first broadcast can be a worthwhile investment – studies show this can actually double the open rate, without affecting unsubscribe rate significantly. You are giving busy folks a second chance to digest your offer and you get a higher number of bookings: a win-win for everyone that justifies the additional cost of the extra, follow-up promotion.

The Guestily system is able to segment certain subscribers based on how they interacted with a promotion you sent and we can re-send the promotion to these subscribers. For example, you could choose to re-send the promotion to those who match any combination of the following:

  • Did/did not open your promotion
  • Did/did not click any link your promotion
  • Did/did not click a particular link in your promotion

Examples:

You might decide to re-send your promotion to anyone who did not open your promotion because you believe the reason for this is that they were just too busy at the time and it is worthwhile re-sending it to these folks.

On the other hand, you might want to send the promotion again to subscribers who did open the promotion but did not click any link.

Alternatively you might want to send again to any who did or did not click on a particular link (for most promotions, this would be the ‘book now’ button link).

This strategy is particularly applicable for time-based or value-based offers such as specials and value-adds. On the other hand, established properties running repeat and referral promotions will probably get more limited benefit from a short timeframe follow-up and often a softer touch with a core of regular guests is a better approach.

Further reading....

If you are wondering what styles of promotion will best suit your property, click here to read our article 'Which style of promotion should I run?' .

And for some inspiration for styles of promotions you can run for your accommodation, get access to our free Guestily Guide:

FURTHER READING: If you are wondering what makes for a great promotion, click here to read our article 'Anatomy of a good email promotion.

Do you need advice?

This article offers general advice to get you started. If you need to discuss your special needs, please ask us – we give great advice and are happy to be your ‘sounding board’ to help you decide the right promotional strategy for your property.