How do you market to existing guests?

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MarcZ's picture
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I assume most innkeepers keep a good email list of existing customers to e-mail about specials and such; as well as have read from some innkeepers that give customers discount vouchers for off season dates. I've also red where some inns will "upgrade" customers to better rooms when available to wow the customer and have them remember you for next time. Aside from being a great innkeeper and offering an enjoyable stay;  I'm interested in hearing other ideas on how you can make sure your guests come back for a stay when they are in your area.

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Silverspoon's picture
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We give our regular guests first choice on dates and accommodations, notifying them in January that they have until mid-February to pin down a reservation.  Then we open the calendar to everyone else.  We do send holiday e-mail greetings to regulars and to a few selected guests who have stayed in the past and expressed a desire to return.  However, we do not bother with a newsletter since I hate them myself and spam any that come to my inbox. 

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Iris's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

We give our regular guests first choice on dates and accommodations, notifying them in January that they have until mid-February to pin down a reservation.  Then we open the calendar to everyone else...

THAT is a great idea.  Many, but certainly not all, of my guests will book when they leave, so this is something I will think about.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Years ago when I was only getting back to WV once a year, I, for several years in a row, booked a 4-bedroom cabin at a resort near my home territory. I thought it was so nice that I, as an out-of-State person, had to wait until the locals and in-State residents had had a chance to choose dates. I do not remember what date I could book after, but I was pleased to be told "get in line". Repeat guests must feel good about being told "you have first pick".

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05/22/2008

Sorry, but most of the time we like trying different locations and different places to stay. The only place we ever went to on a regular basis was Asheville NC and there are so many places there we always wanted to try a different one.  I for one would never irritate past guests with unwanted emails. IF they wanted to come back (and a few did)...they come back of their own desire, not by me pushing some special deal at them. I didn't have time either.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Opt in email list. It does not do to send unwanted promo emails. Like others have said, do not want to hear from a place just because I stayed there once. Have gotten emails from places I have no desire to ever go to again. And, I haven't even BEEN to one place yet and she's already put me on the email list.

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I am a "been there, done that" traveler. Most of my guests are that also. I try to make their visit here so memorable in a good way that they do not need to be reminded we are here.

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10/07/2008

For me, when I stay somewhere it is on a trip and to get emails from them for the rest of my life really irks me. So opting in, yes, I get that, email newsletters, yes I get that. But don't spam me, don't send me events coming up, I was there, and I am not going back. That is how we are, we Americans, we rarely go back, we love to road trip.

Now, if I were in a destination B&B, like Branson or Smoky Mountains, then I would possibly go this route, as I may have return guests every year.

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MarcZ's picture
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08/17/2012

Camberleyhotel, that is actually a really great idea; have you found a fair amount of success doing that?

Joey Bloggs, I like that you post on FB and blog, however, being that the reach of FB Pages has been lessened lately due to their new focus on sponsored ads; do you feel a little more inclined to mail directly? It seems that when done tastefully, such as Camberlehotel does, your guests may not mind as much.

Joey Camb's picture
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we are lucky in that we have a lot of annual events so you simply make a list during the event of the people who were there for it and then email them when you have the dates for the next year. Ie would you like us to book your in for XYZ event 2013? Also asking them when they are here if they want booking in for next year does well but I always reconfirm closer to the date as people are useless at remembering where they have been or what they have done.

An emailed news letter can be fine if its not overdone ie reads in an interesting way - for example I am marketing the new Harrogate Christmas market www.facebook.com/harrogateatchristmas which is the facebook page for any and all events in Harrogate over the christmas period - i can bob on web site addresses for the various events which pop up a thumbnail - which is a bit more interesting than text.

The trick to it is not to over do it or you will simply be marked as spam - maybe one every 3 months is the max I would advise.

I am currently writing my local busines christmas cards - these will go out beginning of december offering discounted rates for friends, family or colleagues who are visiting over the christmas period.

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Proud Texan's picture
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05/30/2008

We only send out a mass mailing if we are announcing a major change like a new package.   

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10/07/2008

We don't, people hate spam, so we use the facebook page and blog for any further contact.

Proud Texan's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

We don't, people hate spam, so we use the facebook page and blog for any further contact.

yes

Joey Camb's picture
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We do events mailings ie this is what is comming up for the next 3 months at the theatre, public events and so on - makes people think of us and gives them a reason to come back. We have 3 theatres, public events center, Harrogate pavillions and many and various christmas events comming. Facebook is also good for this publishing events and doing links so it is a good visual medium.

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