Most General Managers and Revenue Managers I speak to complain about their dependence on OTAs. Yet I know of very few that are actively involved in the process of creating a strong direct sales channel. In fact, GMs though seeing the benefit of OTAs, do not capitalize on the OTA bookings by converting these OTA guests to future direct bookings. RMs, on the other hand, are usually so busy dealing with managing the online world that they forget that hotels are, and will always be, an offline business.
I assume you are a hotel professional and therefore I will not pontificate on the importance of email capture. I will only say that, the most valuable piece of information a guest can give you is their email address. “The money is in the list” online marketers say, and that mantra is definitely true for hotels.
Here are five proven ways to capture more guest emails without having to ask the guest for it. This is why I call it PASSIVE. If you rely on the hotel staff to remember to ask for emails you will be delighted in the results the first two weeks and sorely disappointed after that. Your staff is busy, and asking for personal information from guests can be annoying for the staff and the guest. Some of these tips might involve asking your PMS/POS company to make small modifications to your forms but it’s worth it.
1. Add an email line in the signature area of the registration card. Make it convenient for a guest to give you their email address by just adding a line below the signature line of the registration card. Whether it’s paper or electronic, putting the email line next to the signature gives the guest a sense that you will not be using it for frivolous activities.
2. Add an email line in the signature area of outlet receipts. Think about how many opportunities you have to grab offline guest data as your guests sign their check at each outlet. Don’t waste a single one. Just as above, add an email line right below the signature of your receipts.
3. Ask for the guest’s opinion on something meaningful. Here’s one example. A property I worked with was in the process of deciding on a new linen package. Rather than making this decision in a bubble, they handed out a survey asking guests which of three color palettes they preferred. I should add that they handed out this survey during their high season. The guest then had to provide their email to find out the survey results. This tactic yielded a 75% email capture rate. Think about using this tactic of you are heading into a remodeling.
4. Whatever happened to the guest book? Why don’t hotels setup a guest book anymore. It’s so personal and makes me feel like the hotel is somehow trying to capture the history of their guests for some type of time-capsule purpose (even though I know that’s not true}. However, I only feel compelled to sign a guest book when it is a unique experience. One hotel I visited set up an ornate guest book right in the middle of the lobby. I instantly felt like this book was important to the owners and that they were going to treat my information with care and hence I had no resistance to giving them all my contact info.
5. Captain Obvious to the rescue: ask for the email to login to wifi or to receive the wifi password. You are giving away a “free” service, but you are asking for nothing in return. The majority of guests want wifi and giving up their email to get it is a no brainer.
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Robert Hernandez, Statistical Analysis and Data Mining for Revenue Growth Robert is an expert in the field of mathematical Hotel Optimization and Analytics. He has spent the last 17 years building data-driven forecasting and optimization models for companies in over 20 different industries, from tech to tourism. Robert possesses a very unique skill set including cross-disciplinary experience, advanced mathematical and analytics skills, data transformation, industry-specific knowledge and business-process improvement expertise. Robert began his career at the Walt Disney Company in Revenue Planning. Read More+