The Guestily Guide
Inspiration for your next email promotion
The Guestily Guide provides inspiration for your next promotion. Depending on your own accommodation style and goals, there’s sure to be several promotional ideas here to suit your accommodation
You can completely tailor the wording or make up your own promotion - the ideas in this guide are just examples to inspire your own unique promotion.
So, scan down this list of ideas, adapt one to your needs or simply gain inspiration for your own unique promotion. And don’t forget: we offer advice as part of the service, so just ask if you need our input.
When it comes time to submit your promotion, our easy promotion builder (click here to check it out) guides you with a suggested format to make sure you include all the essential information that well-worded promotions should contain. Alternatively, you can craft your own promotion format.
Your recipients receive a beautiful promotion that can be viewed on all devices.
Everyone likes to feel they are getting a ‘deal’ but we’re only putting this idea first because it is the promotion most owners think of first. However, that does not necessarily mean it is the best – we’re not great fans of discounting! The other ideas below focus on booking out earlier, repeat and referral bookings and adding value rather than discounting.
Having said that, discounts have their place, particularly if you cater to a more price-sensitive area of the market or you are a medium to large property where occupancy rate as a metric is just as important as overall return or if you have other sources of income such as F&B or fixed-staff/cleaning costs
STAY X, PAY Y (eg: STAY 3, PAY 2)
The 'Stay X, Pay Y' offer is popular with guests – they understand the offer easily and can see the benefit.....they get an extra night free.
We suggest it is best to use this promotion when the extra night is one you normally do not book or have a low prospect of booking, so the incremental cost is low. For example, ‘Stay 3 Nights, Pay for 2’ works well mid-week for properties that tend to be busy on weekends but quiet during the week. Over a weekend if your minimum stay is two nights and the Sunday night is generally vacant anyway, guests will love you for being able to arrive later on a Friday night after work and leave early Monday morning. For a vacation rental, 'Pay 6, Stay 7' is perfect if your average rental is 4 or 5 nights...it is enticing for guests to extend and you get 1 or 2 extra paid nights in return for giving one free night! This sort of promotion is also beneficial if your property has other income sources (eg: food and beverage) to leverage further advantage beyond boosting booking incentive, room night revenue and average stay.
This is a promotional idea we favour highly: offer something of value for a booking instead of discounting.
For example, a bottle of champagne or other indulgence or pampering gift. Can you partner with another local business that provides the value-add free to you in order to gain exposure for their business (eg: a café that offers two free coffees you use in your promotion stands to gain a lunch sale)?
The value-add does not need to be significant to have an effect, but it should not come with any strings attached and appear indulgent or generous (not necessarily both!).
PACKAGE IT UP
Don’t think discounts, instead think of full-priced, easy package solutions.
Packages resonate with time-poor experience-seekers who just want an instant solution. One example is a ‘romantic’ partner who doesn't have the time to plan but wants the best experience for their other half.
So, package other add-ons you offer and/or partner with a local restaurant and/or indulgent experiences (hot air ballooning or other adventure) and give guests a complete solution. Don’t discount your package – remember, you are providing a service or solution to a need and that is where the value in the full-price package comes in from the guest’s perspective.
SELL GIFT VOUCHERS
A stay at your property would be a wonderful gift for an occasion such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Easter, a wedding, Hanukkah.....and just about any other special occasion.
Email is the perfect medium to promote gift vouchers to your loyal guest base - they already know and love the experience you offer and would love to give the gift of a stay with you. Accommodation gifts are wonderful because they appeal to guys and gals of all ages (yes, even children will love the magic of receiving a holiday and that is ideal if your property is child-friendly!).
You can decide all the terms and conditions that suit your property - but as a suggestion, offering two options works best: allow the gift-giver to either buy a voucher for any value above a modest minimum and their recipient can put it toward a stay (perfect for those with smaller budgets) or they can buy a voucher that fully covers a stay. That way, you appeal to all budgets.
You know those periods in the year you will inevitably book out. However, instead of just waiting for the bookings to come (later and later, these days!), leverage those popular times to get cash flow happening early.
‘Book now to avoid missing out’ is a compelling message and using email you can promote peak season 6-12 months out and book out early, giving you more time for everything else in your life.
This is the hidden gem half-way down the list. It’s a marketing truth that it is much easier to get a guest to come back than it is to find a new guest.
However, most owners do nothing proactive to encourage a guest to stay again – they just wait and hope! Past guests already know and love your experience, but oddly there is a percentage of guests that will only come back (or come back more often) if you actually ask them.
So, if you already have a great repeat guest rate and you presently do nothing active to achieve this, know that if you make a bit of effort and reach out, your repeat guest rate will soar even more. This is the gold in email marketing.
And you do not have to offer a discount or value add (although that is an option)….just the invitation to return is incredibly effective.
If you ask your past guests to recommend your property to their friends, they will. Why? people love to help, support great experiences and share tips with their friends.
You could offer an incentive to the past guest who refers their friend (refer a friend who books and we will give you [incentive/gift]). However, we’ve have found that it can be even more powerful to offer their friend the incentive (‘Refer a friend and when they book we’ll give them [incentive/gift]) or offer both parties an incentive/gift.
And you do not always have to offer an incentive - it is amazing how past guests who love your experience are happy just to refer their friends without any reward (and some feel uncomfortable getting any reward, but like it if their friend gets one!).
Here’s a different angle – encourage past guests to stay again and bring their friends. Try this and see how the power of suggestion really does work.
This works brilliantly for properties with multiple rooms (B&B, hotel) or cottages/cabins, etc.
Offer a value-add, special (or a discount if you really must!) if they bring another couple, their parents, their adult child and partner, etc.
It is amazing how just creating the idea of turning a couples' weekend away into a getaway with friends will result in extra bookings.
in 2 steps:
Late check-out is a powerful incentive, yet many owners worry about being too generous or, perhaps more understandably, ruling out a back-to-back booking.
However, if you typically have quiet mid-weeks or rarely have guests staying, for example, on a Sunday night (or any other habitual vacancy point) or there are certain days your cleaning staff do not work or cost exorbitant extra fees, why not extend the offer of a late checkout?
For the weekender market, the chance to sleep in, be more relaxed and head home later can prove irresistible. And for international guests with late flights or families with children to feed, dress and motivate all before the normal check-out of mid-morning, the late check out is compelling and can clinch the booking for you.
Competitions work – particularly as an incentive to social share, follow you on social media, subscribe, stay subscribed, refer friends and colleagues and much more.
You could use a competition tool to manage the process for you or for a very simple approach, ask guests to post your website link in their social media with a hashtag (limit to one entry per social media account).
We can give you advice on this....just ask us.
Instead of publicly discounting your rate for last-minute cancelled dates on online sites for the world to see, turn the cancellation into a positive: Use the late cancellation as a reward for your past guests and market it to your list as a special just for them.
‘Due to unexpected circumstances, we have a vacancy for the long weekend and we’d love you, as one of our favoured past guests, to join us again’ is a far better strategy than discounting and training new guests to wait for the deal or attracting 'discount-seeking' guests who are unlikely to repeat-book in the future.
USE LOCAL EVENTS TO BOOK OUT
Loyal past guests are the last people you want to disappoint by missing out on a significant local event. By offering your past guests to book in advance, you are giving them favoured status to have the first option on dates for key events.
Loyal guests really appreciate being invited early to prime events such as festivals, concerts, dining events, gallery openings, etc. Put them at the front of the queue and they will love you for it (and pay full rate as well).
And there is no better medium to reach out and make such an offer than email with its intimacy and immediacy.
When a new attraction opens in your area it is a golden opportunity to incentivize a re-visit by past guests.
It might be a new restaurant, an activity, a new walk or cycle track or other experience. The secret is to try it first, and then recommend it to your guests as an incentive for them to return to your region, stay with you and try the new experience.
Consider combining this idea with a package or gift concept - for example, for real pulling power, partner with that new restaurant where they provide a special treat for your guests in return for free PR.
BEAT THE RATE RISE
Use email to advise your universe that a rate rise is coming and share with past guests dates they can still book at the old rate.
You could also combine this with a value-add concept as a sweetener (‘Our rates are rising, but as a past guests, we’ll have a gift of X waiting for you in recognition of how special you are to us’).
BOOST SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media often feels like shouting into the wind much of the time (did you know that on average only 2% of your followers will see any one of your posts in their news feed?).
But it is nevertheless important to be seen as 'popular' if a potential guest looks for you on their preferred social media platform and there can be a short-term benefit when a guest 'Likes' your Facebook page, for example, and this is broadcast to their friends.
You can use email to build your ‘Likes’ or ‘Follows’ and direct loyal guests to a post to make a positive comment and share with their friends etc.