Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 54 – Why Are People Unsubscribing From Your Hotel Emails

The email database of any hotel is typically the #1 performing marketing asset available to drive revenue. While email is slightly less effective as it has been due to the growth of other mediums, it does remain one of the sure fire ways of driving bookings when you need them.


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Show Notes:

But, like all powerful tools, email tends to get overused or used recklessly to solve all sorts of occupancy issues.  And when that happens, that’s when the unsubscribe rate begins to climb.

In today’s episode of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast we are going to look at five of the most common reasons your hotel guests abandon your email list and how you can reverse the trend.

You can also find more ways to reduce your unsubscribe rate at https://www.admin.travelboommarketing.com/blog/why-people-are-unsubscribing-from-your-hotel-emails/

#1: You’re sending way too much… or not enough

Customers are looking forward to getting your messages, but they’re not looking to get them daily.  How much is too much.  That depends completely on the list and content you are sharing with your guests.

  • One property group we work with sends weekly and has just a 0.05% unsubscribe rate, great open, click rate, and revenue.  However other clients see have found their threshold at once per month.
  • The inverse of this not sending enough.  If you only send once or twice a year, you’re going to likely see a high unsubscribe rate.  Typically when we begin working with a property that has not been sending regularly we see a very high (2 – 3% or more) unsubscribe rate.  Not because the people didn’t want the hotel information, but because they forgot they even requested it.

Have you seen an increase in your unsubscribe rate that correlates with an increase in sends?  Here’s the solution.  Stop sending so much and start testing. Go to a single send per month and see if your unsubscribe rate falls down below a 0.1% rate. While you are doing this, closely monitor your analytics to see how this change impacts your revenue from email. If there’s no impact to your bottom line, a congratulations is in order. If your revenue drops, start testing a slightly higher frequency until you find the happy medium.

#2: Your content is boring

If people are not engaging with your email content it is inevitable that they will eventually unsubscribe.  Just like people stop watching boring shows, they’re going to stop reading boring emails.

The solution is simple too, over deliver on your email promises and give your readers an amazing experience.  Overload them with great content and they’ll never unsubscribe. This does take time, and there’s no way around it.  Take the time to put together great content, personalize your emails and you’ll see your unsubscribe rate drop and revenue rise.

#3: You’re playing the bait & switch game

This is a bad one and if you are not giving your guests and readers what they asked for, you can expect your unsubscribe rate to be high.  This one goes without saying, if you told your subscriber when they signed up they would get exclusive deals… and didn’t send any, they are going to absolutely unsubscribe.

The solution, say what you’re going to do and do what you say.  Engage your customers with deals, exclusive offers, contests, and more.  Respect your subscriber.

#4: There’s subscribers who should not be on your list

You may be surprised how many subscribers are on your list that should not be there.  Did you get a big list from a co-op marketing program?  If so, they are NOT your subscribers, they are leads.  Adding them into your list without opting them in is a disaster in the making.  Why:

  • It is typically illegal. While currently CAN-SPAM in the United States doesn’t have any teeth, Canada’s new CASL regulations on spam absolutely do.
  • It is expensive. You’ are paying to send to someone who doesn’t want to hear from you.
  • You associate yourself with spammers.  If you are trying to get someone to be a guest at your hotel, it’s best not to start by invading their privacy.
  • You are hurting your delivery rate.  When your unsubscribe rate grows and spam complaints rise, you’re going to get blocked by email platforms and will likely get shut down by your ESP.

The solution, adopt and maintain the best practices of email marketing.  Have a clear opt-in strategy (preferably double opt-in), send welcome emails and respect your subscribers.

#5: You gave them no other choice

Sometimes people unsubscribe when they don’t really want to do so.  For instance, if you are sending an email every two weeks and a guest just visited your resort, there’s a good chance they don’t want any more emails from you… right now.  However, in a few months they would love to hear from you again.

The solution, give customers a frequency choice.

  • Take the time to look at your unsubscribe process and be sure that you are giving customers an option to get less emails before they completely unsubscribe. For a great example look at retail and sites like bonobos.com.
  • Set a frequency cap on your own by limiting sends to once a month (or even less) for subscribers who are not engaged or just visited.  We have seen great success with this strategy and can reduce both the cost of sends and unsubscribe rate.

So there you have it, five ways to drop the unsubscribe rate for your hotel or resort.  There are tons of other reasons people unsubscribe, but if you tackle these five you’ll find the rest will fall in line and be easy to address.

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