Marketing Expert: National Features in Newsletters

Create: 11/09/2018 - 17:54
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Marina Zatsepina from Baginet says how to write newsletters to be opened by Russian travel agents and tourists

For a couple of years I have been subscribed for newsletters of several hotel chains, mainly Greek, several Turkish, and a couple from Cyprus. The newsletters of two hotels on Maldives and one luxury resort from Seychelles also come regularly. Despite the fact that hotels are located in different countries and even parts of the world, newsletters are surprisingly similar. It seems that no one realises that such thing as national mentality should also be taken into consideration.
Newsletters for clients (hotel guests)
Since last year, our company Baginet PR and Consulting Agency has been actively sending out newsletters to Russian-speaking hotel guests of our clients-hoteliers. These tourists already have been in a hotel and left their email address for future mailings.
The average opening rate of newsletters was more than 50%. There are several newsletters, which opening rate reached 78% - 82%. The partners would not believe us, if newsletters were not been sent from their Mailchimp and other accounts, where they can monitor statistics themselves.
In Europe (at least among our European partners) the customers usually get short mailings: a photo, one line of advertising text and a button “Book now with 20% discount”. In contrast, each of our newsletters consists of 3-4 short glossy magazine-style articles.  Conclusion: things which work for Europeans might not work for Russians. Why?
Now the majority of Russian travellers are not yet millennials. These are people in 30-35 years who studied as far back as in Soviet times, and so used to read a lot,  since it was promoted that time. Russians are still considered as one of the most reading nations in the world. And therefore it is not surprising that higher opening rate those mailings have which contain not just a photo and an advertising slogan, but at least a small text like a story. Ideally, the text should be written by a professional journalist.
At the same time, no one needs an ordinary text about good service, luxurious rooms and a fantastic view from a window. The readers are waiting for new information, which, firstly, cannot be found anywhere else (for example, on the website or in the catalog) and, secondly, which allow informatively distinguish this hotel from hundreds of others. Unfortunately, every hotel continues writing that its service is qualitative, rooms - cozy, mattresses - comfortable and food in the restaurant - delicious. Trivial.
According to our experience, it is much better to tell how many types of pastries you serve for breakfast, what new desserts the pastry chef invented, where the furniture for the rooms came from, what types of trees and plants grow in the hotel’s garden and what beneficial effect they make on the human body, what services are provided to families with infants.
No need to dryly report that you have a Greek coffee house. You better write how Greek coffee appeared, how many litres of coffee an average Greek guy drinks per year. You can add at the end that guests can taste real Greek coffee in your bar or cafenio. If you want to say about orthopaedic mattresses, better write how important it is to sleep off during vacation and exactly how your orthopaedic mattresses will help in it. If you are writing about a mini-club, let readers know what brands of toys you purchase – the modern Russian parents are very responsible for the choice of developing toys which should be made of non-toxic plastic.
We also noticed that on contrary to fashionable conviction that it is better to send newsletters on Tuesdays, it is better to send newsletters to clients another day – the opening rate is better. I will not attribute the honour of scientific research to myself, we oversaw this idea from Russian schools - they send letters to parents of schoolchildren exactly on this day of the week.
Newsletters to travel agents
For some reason, some hotels and tour operators are accustomed to set at naught on travel agencies. Unfortunately, I can’t find another word. How else to explain those stupid and useless newsletters that agencies receive a lot by emails? For information: on average, each Russian agency receives up to 100 e-mails per day, most of them from tour operators with the latest special offers. But “special offers is important information!”, you might say. Yes, if at least it is composed in such a way that the agency can take it and immediately send to its tourists without further explanation. 
That is true, if the newsletter says:
- Why you need to book this particular hotel;
- Why now;
- Why exactly at this price;
- And why exactly it is important for this tourist.
But not many try to make an effort, sending only photo with written below hotel name, travel dates and price. Well, sometimes they add a line about a «magnificent and wonderful holidays» at this hotel. There is one tour operator on the Russian market which sends three (!!!) such newsletters every working day with «creative» title: “Special Offer of the Morning”, “Special Offer of the Day”, “Special Offer of the Evening”. No, I am joking.
In our experience, the offers are mostly opened, if those mailings directly related to the sales techniques of one or another hotel. I can highlight the most relevant and interesting topics:
- Interesting facts that can be mentioned in a conversation with a tourist or used as an argument. This information is not published in catalogs, it should be looked for individually - for example, the number of wines in the restaurant’s wine list, the chef’s awards.
- Comparative characteristics of hotels of the chain - for which person the certain hotel is more suitable, where the territory is more flat or where there are more staircases. Where can you accommodate a large group of tourists. What services are provided for families with small children.
- Lists of renovations in the hotel for the new season. For one customer, we made in January the newsletter "150 changes in hotels M”. And it had opening rate of almost 30%, which is an impressive figure for the agencies net with average OR of 6%. Of course, no one wants to miss the changes, because the professionalism of a travel agent is determined primarily by the knowledge of hotels.
- The new photos after the last photo session. But photos should consist no perfect views and sunsets, not the bright models on the beds, only concrete items - the types of rooms, restaurants, bars, the entrance in to the sea.
- Reference tables, infographics, instructions are on the pitch of the pyramid, since they most required.  One of our newsletters with a table of hotels of one Greek chain, where it were clearly showed type beach, entrance in to the sea, type of water in the pools, if water is hasted in the pools – this table was downloaded literally by thousand times! The newsletter had opening rate of more than 35% (an average in tourism industry is 6%) and more than 1200 clicks on the link  with table in PDF. Of course, you can create many tables of such kind - about services for small children, about the rooms for big groups of tourists, about conference halls and so on.
These comments relate to the content of mailings. Next time we'll talk about design.