Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pre-stay, Post-stay and HTML email: what does that mean for your Booking Engine?

There's nothing worse than wasting time in trying to create something that, ultimately, does not work at all or just a little.

Email is an instrument aged as the web, so it's young if you think about it in absolute terms, but old when considered in relation to communication on the Internet and its evolution. Yet today it is an indispensable and irreplaceable tool, especially for business.

Any booking engine, as well as any e-commerce platform for online sales of any business trade, cannot do without email notifying both the buyer and seller.

About the hotel industry, the email a customer receive after its hotel reservations is always pretty standard: summary of the booking with travel data, references and contacts of the hotel and little else. Being a 'closed' text message, there's no so much work to do about its content, while there is about its shape.

Pre-stay and post-stay email in html format with the ability to insert images and links: they have become indispensable tools for hotel booking engine that all hoteliers want. But does it has only an aesthetic function? Or rather, the aesthetic end in itself really brings tangible benefits?

It requires the utmost attention, this could even be counterproductive and harmful. Do not forget that the html email are subject to spam risk. Many corporate servers block emails containing even a single image. In addition, a careless use of images can determine insertion into black-list by the server you are sending these emails.

Even the major portals, rather than the bigger airlines still prefer text-only booking confirmation email, which automatically eliminates the risk of non-receipt by the customer.

Then put yourself in the shoes of your customer who has booked online, who receive at least three email for one reservation only. Someone could think that it may look cute and funny, a symptom of great attention to the guest and his needs; however, it could also be a redundant process, almost annoying. We think especially to those regular customers who regularly book through the booking engine on your site, who receive at least three mail every time they book. Indeed it can be a bit hard to accept, especially if we consider that the e-mail content is often repetitive. The e-mail post-stay only can count on a different message from earlier ones. But even in this case, Can we truly say that sending multiple mails leads to tangible benefits?

Let's make it simple: even html, pre and post stay emails must have a goal. So they have to bring results. In short, they have to increase your online sales.
How? Encouraging the customer to purchase additional services, showing the real benefits and acting as a proactive sales tool that encourages customer to personalize his stay.

Your pre-stay email should contain a link to his same reservation made ​​through your booking engine, which gives the possibility to add additional services.

For instance: if you have a spa or wellness center, you may try to provide your guest with a relaxing treat for his arrival at the hotel, maybe with a little discount on the selling price, in order to show it as a real benefit you're giving to him.
Or a dinner at your restaurant, a taxi from the airport to your hotel, and so on.

Not necessarily services for a fee, but small gestures which surely will be appreciated, such as a daily newspaper that the customer can directly book from his pre-stay, an extra pillow for those who prefer to sleep 'high'. For sure you will not make extra revenue, but definitely it will be a much appreciated service to your customers, besides give them a valid reason to book on your site, instead of OTA. Whether the customer pays 30, 50, 100 or 1000 $ for staying at your hotel, it's a non-commissionable revenue anyway.

Although conceptually different, the goal is always the same even for your post-stay e-mail. For instance, in addition to greetings and thanks, you may provide your customers with a voucher for a free-drink for his next trip to your hotel, or a small discount.

Even small actions can lead to great results. Of course, you need the right instruments, a booking engine that allows you to create and manage your dynamic proposals, much less room-centric and much more customer-oriented, which gives a real added value to your email communications.

Everything else is figment of your imagination and your ability to sell and communicate with your customers.


  1. Very interesting and lovely information about the booking engine.

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