5 Key Elements for an Email Marketing Campaign that Actually Drive Rental Bookings

In the travel and vacation rental industries, email marketing is alive and well. It can provide vacation rental managers a great way to build relationships with guests, and generate repeat bookings each year.  And at the end of the day, vacation rental managers know that repeat guests are the best kind.

So what do you send to past and future guests in an email campaign? At the very least, you want to send emails that link to your website where users can view rentals, engage with content, and book directly online.

If you can implement the following key elements into your email marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to driving more direct bookings from your email marketing efforts.

  1. Personal touch
  2. Simple, yet effective design
  3. Engaging content
  4. Property highlights
  5. Links, links, links

While there are many strategies to take with your email marketing, one stands out above all the rest: send regular email campaigns to your list of contacts. For some, that might mean a longer newsletter style email once a month. For others, it might mean a shorter email campaign each week. And yet for others, it’s a mix between the two. No matter what approach you take, remember to send regular email campaigns to your list.

Add a Personal Touch to Your Email Campaigns

When you add personalization to your emails, your customers take notice. It establishes you as a trustworthy brand. It also incorporates a human element to your marketing. When people feel like a real human is talking to them, they are more likely to book online.

One simple way you can add a personal touch to your email campaigns is to use personalization tags, such as a subscriber’s first name. You can place this code in the subject line as well as in the email itself. In MailChimp, the email service provider we utilize, the code looks like *|FNAME|*, which stands for First Name. If you use it in the subject line, though, use it sparingly and not in every email you send.

Other personalization tags you can use are dates and booking codes. These can prompt past customers to book again. It’s easier for customers to remember the date they last stayed and the property they stayed in when it’s spelled out for them. That way, you’re doing some of the heavy lifting for them and they don’t have to remember which rental or condo unit they stayed in.

The easiest way to personalize an email campaign is to write a simple welcome note at the beginning of the email. This strategy works best with the long form newsletter style. Open with the tag for their first name, write a few sentences about what’s included in the email or what’s new in your area, etc., then close with a friendly farewell such as “Sincerely,” “To your amazing vacation,” or “We’ll see you soon.”

Why Design is Important to Email Marketing

Simple, yet effective email design really does make a difference. The colors and the layout should help readers know what to check out first. They should be able to easily read the email. Simple design uses the layout of the email to help break up the text and create blocks of content.

Using good images helps draw the eye in. When you follow that with a simple message and a Call-To-Action (CTA) button, readers are more likely to click through to your website and engage with blog content or property listings.

Keeping emails to one column (as opposed to a 2-column design) helps mobile users navigate the email without getting overwhelmed. It’s an easy way to guide customer interactions by providing them with what you want them to do next.

Image width should not be greater than 800 pixels. When you don’t resize larger images, they take over a person’s inbox and cause deliverability or readability issues and can result in unsubscribes.

Knowing What Content to Add to Your Email

If you’re sending weekly property postcards, then content is easy. Just email your list with 3 to 5 rental properties that have upcoming availability.

But if you want the longer form email style to be sent once a month, there are lots of different elements you can include. While you could technically include all seven of these elements, we recommend keeping it to 3 to 4, after a personalized welcome of course.

  1. Most recent blog article
  2. Rental properties
  3. Specials
  4. Upcoming events
  5. Reviews
  6. Availability calendar

The first two categories are the best sections to add to a newsletter: blog updates and rental highlights. After that, choose 1 to 2 of the others to include in your email campaigns. If you want to include specials from time to time, a great place to include that info is in the opening welcome section.

Showcase Your Rentals

No matter what kind of email you send to your list, always highlight the properties. Not necessarily in every single email, but in a majority of them. When you highlight 3 to 5 rental properties, people start to imagine living in that home or condo for a week.

Images speak louder than words and you should promote your properties with an image of a living room, great room, kitchen, the pool, the lanai with a view, or the outside of the property.

Also, make sure to share information about the properties such as the number of rooms, cost, or the type of view.

Lastly, Include Links!

An email campaign isn’t finished if it doesn’t include links back to your site. This strategy is designed to get more users back on your website and booking online.

The best places to include links are beside or underneath the related photos and text for that specific call to action. If it’s a blog article, you’ll have the photo, then some text, then a button to click to the site to read the full article. If it’s a property photo, you’ll have some text and a button to see more and book online.

When there are obvious calls to action included in the email campaign, people are more likely to interact with your brand and get back to your website.

RealTech Can Help

Following these five guidelines will help you get better results with your email marketing efforts. Each time someone opens your email and clicks to your site, they’re getting closer and closer to booking online.

We offer a customized approach with our email marketing services that includes monthly performance reports that show real-time results with assisted conversions. Because people need more than one interaction with a brand before the final purchase, email marketing is a great channel to engage your guests through. If you have any questions or wish to learn more, contact a RealTech marketing expert today. Let us help you make that connection.

About Christie Wild

In her spare time, Christie writes books for children, teaches online writing classes, and runs up and down the hills of NC training for her next 10k or half marathon.

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